There is a great book called Hidden Sources Family History in Unlikely Places by Laura Szucs Pfeiffer. The point of the book is to briefly describe additional sources of records you might find around the house. Let’s look at a few sources that are not the usual vital records and census documents.
Artifacts are memorabilia passed down through the generations. These artifacts usually contain a story and some clues about the ancestor who first owned the artifact.
This artifact was just sent to me from a woman named Ginny. She married my cousin, Robert Brouk. Robert was a Flying Tiger in China 1941-1942. I just wrote a book about his brief life which included his war diary. Robert died three weeks after he and Ginny married. Ginny helped me fill in parts of Robert’s life and after I sent her a copy of his book, she sent me a few artifacts he brought home from China. This wooden box was one. It is an artifact I will treasure always.
Body Transit Records
Did your family have someone who served in World War I, World War II or beyond, and died during his service? My great-great-uncle Michael Kokoska served in World War I. He was killed in France. This letter is an example of a body transit record. It tells his father where his remains will be shipped.
This record came in a Burial File. The Burial File tells a lot about the soldier’s service, how he died, where he was buried, and even has letters from family members.
Dictionaries and other books
Last weekend I was sorting through some of my artifacts and came across the cover of a dictionary my mom passed to me. Most families write family information inside the cover of a family Bible and list the person’s name, birth date, who they married, and when they died. My grandmother listed these items on the inside cover of a dictionary! Always check the inside of old books before getting rid of them. You never know what you will discover!