A New Heritage Quilt From Old Family Fabrics

wedding quilt dress“I am a quilter and love doing special pieces that tell our family history at the same time. I think you would enjoy [this] story and the pictures [that go with it].”

This note recently came from Genealogy Gems listener Sheri Lesh. She wrote in about a quilt she created for her father’s 80th birthday celebration. It was a very special quilt, made from pieces of old family clothing and even a wool jacket and wedding dress.

Well, Sheri, I thoroughly enjoyed your story and your unique, beautiful quilt (which you can click to see below). Heritage quilts created from family clothing items are so special!

I especially loved  Sheri’s idea for her grandmother’s wedding dress. Instead of cutting into pieces for the quilt, which would have destroyed a beautiful dress with a fabulously-preserved lace collar, she tacked the entire dress to the back of the quilt! Then she labeled it so cleverly, so future generations will know exactly who this dress belonged to and when it was worn.

Click here to go to Sheri’s blog and learn more about this beautiful, inspiring quilt. If you like old quilts, click here for my own Genealogy Gems story about heritage quilts in my family. You’ll see the shownotes for a free podcast episode along with a short YouTube video to watch. As I say in that post, “Women may not have had a lot of time to use the power of the pen to document history, but they did have some mighty powerful sewing needles!”

Adoption and Genealogy: A History of Adoption in the U.S.

Mrs. Ella Watson, a government charwoman, with three grandchildren and her adopted daughter [reflected in the mirror]. Image from The Gordon Parks Archives in the Library of Congress.

Most of us probably have adoptees somewhere on our family trees. Do you know how to research them? It’s not the same as the adoption research people do nowadays to find their birth parents.

Formal, legal adoption wasn’t common in the U.S. until the late 1800s. (State adoption laws didn’t even exist until after Massachusetts passed the first one in 1851.) Before that,  if mom and dad couldn’t take care of a child, a relative, neighbor or friend took that child in, or the child was sent to a county orphanage or poor home. In even earlier days, orphaned or poverty-stricken children were also sold by their towns into indentures.

The Adoption History Project at the University of Oregon has a great timeline of adoption history in the U.S. Check it out to see what was going on when your family member was adopted.

To learn more about adoption and genealogy research, check out these links:

FamilySearch Wiki U.S. Adoption Research

All About Adoption Research by Maureen Taylor

RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees: Adoption

 

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