As you will know from the updates we share on Facebook and Twitter, the past is definitely not a foreign country to us!*Old pictures which show London as it looked in 1903 (guess what, it was raining!) and portraits of relatives, old newspapers documenting events from decades long past, letters and more – these are the things which broaden our understanding of what came before us.

Our use of old photos, newspaper articles and public records such as birth, marriage and death certificates is obviously vital to our work to trace the rightful beneficiaries to an estate when someone has died intestate, but we always encourage others to investigate their family histories.

One idea we saw recently was the creation of a family wall, where an inspirational blogger had used pictures, artefacts and other objects to create a family history wall in her home. We love this idea and we think it is something which would create a great talking point for your home. It is a very individual thing to do, of course as every family is different but here are some ideas to start:

  1. A family tree could make the perfect centre point for your family history wall. Remember, that verification of family trees to make sure they are as accurate as possible is one of the services provided by Finders UK.
  2. Another central point for your wall could be the family name in calligraphy font, or any heraldry you have associated with the name.
  3. Old photos of relatives can be added – we suggest you start with the immediate relatives and work out to ancestors – your great-great grandmothers and others.
  4. Old newspaper articles featuring your relatives make great additions to the family history wall. You can laminate and frame the paper to give it a professional look.
  5. If you have any items dating back to the era of your great-grandmother (an embroidered handkerchief, a tapestry or cross-stitch or samplers) is an interesting addition too. If your family has Scottish origins, you could seek out samples of the family tartan associated with your name.
  6. Paintings of old family homes and family members (depending on size) will work well on your wall too, as would old photographs such as pictures of the town or street your relatives lived in as they looked at that time.

Because a family history wall is sure to act as a conversational point for a room we suggest an additional idea – and one which can be a family project bringing together the younger and older generations of the family.

A scrapbook which explains all of the items featured on the wall allows additional information to be catalogued. You could include a smaller version of the family tree in here, then a biography of each of the people featured in the old photographs, commentary on the places where they lived (list the differences between the town now and then, as the differences are sure to be extensive) and explanations for the artefacts such as the embroidered handkerchiefs and samplers for example.

We’re sure the creation of family walls is something all members of your family will enjoy. And if you do so, please share the results with us on Facebook!

*‘The past is a foreign country’ is the introductory line to the LP Hartley book, The Go-Between published in 1953.

#BBC #HeirHunters #Finders

by Daniel Curran

Daniel Curran
Written by Daniel Curran
Daniel is a leading figure in the UK Heir Hunting industry. He is from Isleworth in West London and has lived in London for most of his life. He has been in the probate genealogy profession since 1990. He formed Finders in 1997 after 7 years at another firm.