Saturday, 3 May 2014

What is in Your Wardrobe?

There are many historical treasures held in individuals hands, many of whom are so accustomed to the item they don't realise its significance.

A case in point is this amazing discovery which has become a cornerstone for a new exhibition in Brisbane.

Serendipity also played a role as if Trish had not gone to the presentation she would not have known about the upcoming display. Of course then she also actually spoke to someone rather than thinking "oh I don't think anyone would be interested"

as you saw people were very, very interested and this painting which had a frame falling to pieces and had been wrapped in plastic and towels and placed gently into a wardrobe where it sat for at least 30-40 years is the only (known) painting or image of St Helena prison while it was a working prison (the one near Brisbane not the one where Napoleon spent his days). The other image they have is from 1914 after it had stopped being a prison.

It does make you wonder what other treasures may be hidden in someone's wardrobe.

In this electronic age we have the ability to share (and this blog is a perfect example of this) our stories. 

I am very thankful for the people who also share other people's stories. A case in point was this photo on Flickr of Norman George Busby which I will duplicate here.

This kind person ( who is also a great researcher and I thank them for it!) found a suitcase in their attic when they bought their house and it contained photos, postcards, letters,  memorial cards and more. They did not relate to their own family but they became intrigued and started doing some research. 

Then they scanned the contents and put them onto Flickr with information they had researched. I came across it because a Google search (Busby and Coombe). Norman is my third cousin twice removed and he died in World War One.   Our ancestor in common was Moses Busby born 1790 in Coombe Oxfordshire..

So what if this person (lossow.vamp) had found the case and just discarded it as rubbish? Or had found it and thought they were nice and put them onto Flickr without doing any research and adding detail about the family? Without these items found in the suitcase Norman would have been a name on a memorial with some information around him but not a person he has now become.

With Flickr, Facebook, our blogs, family history society journals there are many ways we can share some of our precious items, even some of those photos of people who may be named but don't link into our family except as a friend, neighbour or workmate. Someone might be looking for them!

Our old photos also have value such as the old photo of great-aunt Mary having a picnic at the beach in the 1920s which shows clothing, entertainment, maybe the shops of that area and so much more. There are a number of Facebook groups that showcase old photos of an area so why not look and see what is available for your area? 

A number of libraries, archives and museums are also putting up pictures onto Flickr so don't forget to do a search there as well. Google will pick up a lot of things but I still consider it worthwhile searching Flickr too.

So what treasures do you have in your wardrobe?


  1. What a find! I've not added Flickr to my research process, but you've convinced me. Thanks.

    1. Flickr is well worth a look and increasingly libraries and archives are posting there as well as individuals.

  2. Great story, and very relevant today, as yesterday I met a long lost cousin who had a suitcase of old photos and post cards to share with me! I also must give some consideration to using Flicker.

    1. That is fantastic Diane! There are so many treasures out there just waiting to be found, some in very surprising places.

  3. I need to search again, I have ancestors that I know must have had photos done, but, I do not have access to them. I would LOVE to have a photo of Richard and Ann Lashbrook.

    1. Hi Carol, have you set up a Google alert for those names? That should then alert you in the event that anybody wrote a blog post about them. With more and more people writing blogs both on tehir own family history or the local history of an area they are a wonderful resource.


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