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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, December 24, 2012
Christmas Trees and Family History
Posted by Maureen

Every year I photograph our Christmas Tree. I know I'm not alone. So why do I do it?  It captures a piece of my family history.  A Christmas Tree is a holiday symbol but it's also a family history treasure. 

Each one of the ornaments on my tree has a memory attached to it. From the yarn ornaments I made for my first tree to the ones passed down from my mother to me. I haven't recorded the history of those ornaments yet, but I should. About a week ago, the New York Times featured a story about a woman who'd collected three thousand ornaments.  They represent her life story.

In 1900 the Wright brothers--Orville and Wilbur--photographed their family tree.

wrighttree1900edit.jpg

This image lets us peek into a turn of the century holiday. The neatly wrapped presents under the tree and a little girls doll in a stroller.
wrighttreegifts.jpg

The ornaments are a mix of hand-made and store bought.  There is no artificial trim visible, instead someone patiently strung popcorn to decorate the boughs.
wrighttreeornament.jpg


As you pack away the ornaments, think about including a note on acid and lignin free paper that tells the history of that item.

These interior photos also show us how our ancestors lived. The Wright brothers liked bold wallpaper on their walls but also their ceiling.  In the center of the ceiling is a lovely gas chandelier. It's a pretty typical Victorian scene from the decorations on the tree to the style of rug on the floor.

Before you take down the tree, snap a picture of it so that later generations can see what the holiday was like for your family in 2012.

Happy Holidays!


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | preserving photos | props in photos
    Monday, December 24, 2012 2:02:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    Saturday, December 29, 2012 1:45:31 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    Many of my ornaments were given by family & friends. Each year as I put them up, I remember who gave it & why. One year, I even took some pictures & posted them on the Facebook pages of the givers, just to show I was thinking of them!
    Christine M
    Comments are closed.