I love archival photos and documents, so lately I've been rapt with attention over some well-preserved items from one arm of my family on my Mom's side. My Gramma was an incredible record-keeper and archivist, even if she didn't realize it. Now 6 years after my Gramma's death, my Mom and I are uncovering hundreds more photos and documents than we realized she'd kept. Because of the wealth of documentation we have, I've started working on a book that organizes and places a (fairly large) selection of these images and writings together to tell as whole a story as we can tell. It's like investigating and uncovering the details of a cold case. While my Gramma kept the records of her family in near-pristine condition, she labeled and wrote relatively little. I suppose only the things she thought important. The book will take a while, but in the process, I really enjoy certain elements of these documents that have nothing to do with family at all... like the amazing penmanship! One recent discovery were these land deeds from 1904, belonging to my 5th-great grandparents:
It's amazing to me that these documents are 110 years old, that they've outlived so many generations of my family. It's the closest I'll ever get to meeting them and hearing their stories.