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Steep Hill Cove Beach, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, England



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Share Your Treasured Heirlooms


This page is provided for W.I.S.E. members to offer pictures and text illustrative of their genealogy. If you have something – an heirloom, an artifact, an image, a page from a family bible, a snapshot of your ancestral source, or something you consider of other genealogical interest – please feel free to submit it for display and we'll post it on this page.

Please provide a printed narrative of the genealogical significance and/or history of your proposed display item(s), including an estimate of its age, so that other members will understand what it is and its relevance to your family. Since this is W.I.S.E. (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England), please try to restrict yourselves to the first generation of immigrants and prior ancestors.

New postings will be positioned at the top of the list and will move downward as newer items come in. We expect to keep your display items on the page for several months, so that all members have ample opportunity to see them.

If you don't have an image of your item in digital format, you can bring your item to a W.I.S.E meeting and we will take a digital photograph of it. If you already have a digital image, please forward your image and its supporting narrative to the webmaster by email. Thank you.

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Mantle of Flowers - Image


Strangers in the Box

Author: Pamela A. Harazim


Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?

Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.

© 1997

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Heirlooms or Artifacts?


Perhaps you have an image of a place in the British Isles that you travelled to as part of your genealogy research. Tell us what you liked about it, what it meant to you, what others in that area should be sure to see, and (perhaps) what to avoid. Tell us what the people were like, and whether you met cousins or other relatives. Tell us if you met local genealogists there.

Dairsie Castle, Fife, Scotland - Image

Or, perhaps you have some artifact, inherited from your ancestors, or specific to your cultural ancestry, such as a claymore sword, a sporran, a harp, etc.

Traditional Scottish Dirk (Dagger)

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A Bible Story with a Modern Twist

How i saved our family heirloom

Zoe von Ende Lappin (Posted: 07/07/2013)


Zoe Lappin Family Bible JPG ImageMy lovely relic, a Catholic Bible, got to Denver before I did. I came in 1961, and it had been here for 18 years but I didn’t know it. When I found out, I rescued it from oblivion.

My Irish immigrant ancestor entered family records in the Bible, starting in 1857. The Bible didn’t come from Ireland – it was published 1852 in New York -- but it does provide one major piece of Irish genealogical information: the Catholic parish in County Louth, Ireland -- Haggardstown -- where my ancestors lived, as well as a few dates from the Old Country and many from America

My great-grandfather John Patrick Savage, the one who kept the records, immigrated from Ireland in early 1850 with his eight sisters. His brother Joseph had come about 1842, and their parents, Rose and Patrick Savage, came later in 1850.

The family were textile workers, famine immigrants, and they settled in Windom County, Connecticut, textile-mill territory in the 19th century. John P. Savage married Zoe Arbour there in 1857 and the first entry was their marriage. The early writing is in John’s hand, and he recorded many dates, including death dates of his immigrant parents, but not the place.

John and Zoe with many family members went West just before the Civil War and took the Bible with them to Green Lake County, Wisconsin, in 1861 and to their homestead in Mulligan, Brown County, Minnesota in 1863. They recorded the birth of their son, Patrick in 1867, the first white child born in Mulligan.

Zoe Arbour Savage died 1884 in Waseca, Minnesota, and John and the family moved around Minnesota. Railroading became their livelihood. They returned to Wisconsin about 1890, the Bible with them all this time. As a widower, he lived with his oldest daughter, Margaret “Maggie” Savage Rogers, her husband, Charles Rogers, and family. John served as the Washburn, Wisconsin, city librarian in the 1890s. He died 1899 near Shell Lake, Wisconsin, and Maggie kept the Bible. The Rogerses moved around in Wisconsin and Illinois, and when Maggie died in Chicago in 1933, the Bible went to her daughter, Lorraine Rogers O’Connell of Chicago.

Lorraine and others added data to the family record over the years. Lorraine and her husband had no children, so at some point – 1940s perhaps – she gave it to her sister Jane Rogers D’Arcy, with the intention that it should go to one of Jane’s seven children. Jane and Lorraine were my mother’s first cousins.

Family Bible JPG ImageIn 1943, Jane and her husband Bill D’Arcy moved from Wisconsin to Denver, bringing the Bible with them. I didn’t get here until 1961. Jane and Bill sold their south Denver home in the late 1960s, moved into a mobile home in Westminster, and took it with them.

Now we get to the sad part of my story. Also the best part.

The Bible was in Jane and Bill’s mobile home in the early 1970s when Jane became ill and they sold the home. It was a hectic time, and in the moving process, the Bible got left behind! But not forgotten.

I was on the Denver scene by now, and frequently was included in Jane and Bill’s family gatherings. Everyone bemoaned the loss of the Bible. It had been in the family for about 115 years, and somebody should try and find it . . .

I didn’t think too much about this tragedy until the early 1980s when I became interested in genealogy. So, about 10 years after it was lost, I decided I’d try to find it. It actually was far easier than I’d anticipated.

First I checked suburban city directories, found the mobile home park where the Bible had been left and phoned the manager. She remembered Jane and Bill, and told me that the new owner had sold the trailer. Even better, she remembered the name of the buyer. It was Myrtle Schulze.

But Myrtle and her husband in turn had sold the trailer and moved to another park and bought a new trailer. Myrtle was in the phone book and I called her the first time about Thanksgiving 1981.

“Oh sure,” she said, “I’ve got that Bible. I figured somebody might be looking for it some day, and I saved it. It’s in my shed.”

But, she said, it’s too cold in November to root around in a cold shed to find your Bible. I should call her when it got warmer. I couldn’t wait, so I pestered Myrtle throughout the winter, and finally one day in May 1982, she decided it was warm enough to go into her shed.

Bible Page JPG ImageThe day I wanted to fetch the Bible, she wouldn’t be home, but she would leave it outside for me. When I drove up, there it was in the sunshine waiting for me in a box on a chair on her porch. It had been 125 years since my great-grandparents, including the great-grandmother whose name I have, had started recording family data in it.

Later, I was thrilled to show it to my cousin, Jane Rogers D’Arcy, and her family.

It was raggedy, to say the least. Antiques Roadshow says to leave antiques in their original condition, but I couldn’t bear to let the dear old thing remain in a state of ruin. Besides, I wanted to update the records. So, in 1993 I had it restored and rebound for $175 at Denver Bookbinding. The bookbinders retained the original boards and added the gilt letters on the spine. They’re a bit out of time, but I don’t mind. It makes its home on the top shelf of our living room étagère with other books I inherited from my Savage family. I’ve filled out my immediate lines.

My only regret: I never met Myrtle Schulze, the thoughtful woman who saved the old Bible.

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The Story of a Traveling Sampler

Lura Williams (Posted: 03/02/2013)


My father's mother's mother was Janet Lindsay Ritchie, born 19 January 1826, in Stenhausemuir, a mining community in Larbert Parish, Sterlingshire, Scotland. She was the third of nine children born to Janet Silcock and John Ritchie. In 1840, when Janet would have been 14 years old, she "worked" a sampler.

Lura's Heirloom Sampler - JPGPrior to June 1841, her father had found her a position with a family in Glasgow as a maid for two small children, appearing and as such is recorded in the 1841 Scotland census as a "servant" with a family in Glasgow. The sampler must have begun its journey's here, as there would have been no room for it in a two room miner's cottage, where at least six children lived from time to time.

In 1851, Janet was in Carronhall in the Sterling district with John Waugh, whom she would marry in 1853. A daughter was born shortly thereafter and the family arrived in New York on the SS Enterprise in October, 1854. They first went to the coal mines of Pennsylvania, then to La Salle, Illinois and finally to Peoria, Illnois, where two of Janet's siblings had settled. By 1900, Janet's husband, John Waugh, had died and she was living with my grandparents in their home in Peoria on Bradley Avenue.

In the 1970's, when the Bradley Avenue home was sold outside of the family, the sampler was found in the attic. It was separating from itself when touched, due to its age and being tired from its travels! My mother asked for it, secured it in someway to protect it from further damage and took it to a cousin from her family in Iowa, who is excellent at needlepoint. Leslie made two identical reproductions of this treasure - one for me and one for my sister. The initials that are not part of the alphabet, are of Janet's then siblings. In the bottom right hand corner are the initials of my cousin, Leslie Matthias (LM), who so lovingly recreated the much traveled sampler.

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Picture of a Welsh Dwelling

Lura Williams (Posted: 02/04/2012)


The photograph below is of me holding a picture of the home where my husband’s maternal grandmother was born in 1847 in Montgomeryshire, Llanllugan Parish, North Wales.  Sarah Jane Williams was the sixth child of John Williams and Elizabeth Rowlands.  John was a farmer with 25 acres surrounding this home.  The family emigrated to the United States, Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1857 - Sarah Jane was 6 years old.

The picture originated in 1911 after one of their children, Emma Antoinette, married John Jones and they went to Wales on their honeymoon.  The two ladies in the picture are “Nettie and a Welsh relative.”  This picture hung in all of the homes of Nettie’s brothers and sisters, and came to our home by way of my husband’s father, David Lloyd Williams.

Pictures are a wonderful adjunct to genealogy.  This one has the location written on the back and the partial identification of the women.  It was treasured by the family because it was a virtual “grounding” of their roots.

It is also a prototype of farm homes still seen in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. They were built to last, they were snug and warm where the only heat was from the fireplace, also used for cooking.  Water would have been from a well or nearby stream. This home is still in use as a family residence.  Two of Nettie’s grandchildren visited there in 2001. They returned with colored pictures of this home - the front looking precisely as in this picture, with a lovely “English” garden.

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The History of the Church of Scotland, by Archbishop John Spotswood

Ken McIntosh (Posted: 01/16/2012)


Title Pages - The History of the Church in Scotland - Image

This photograph is of the title pages to the book "The History of the Church of Scotland (Beginning the year of our Lord 203 and continued to the end of the Reign of King James the VI)," which was first published in 1655. The book was written by Ken McIntosh's 9th Great Grandfather, Archbishop John Spotswood. An original copy is preserved in the Library of the College of New Jersey.








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W.I.S.E. Family History Society,
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Since 1983

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