Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bidding on other people's relatives

I went to my first auction on Sunday and was dismayed to see that they were selling photographs and postcards from some one's estate.  The photo's were from the early 1900's and not labeled.  The postcards were from the mid-1900's and all had letters written on the back.

I had wanted to bid on them, but with a small apartment and a growing set of my own genealogical work, I had no where to put them.  It was very sad to me to see these photographs going to people who probably were going to throw them out and just wanted the frames or old photo books.  I just kept thinking about who these people were, what their lives were like and what a shame it was that no family members either existed or wanted them any longer.

My grandmother has always had a problem with seeing people sell photos in frames at garage sales and forbid my family to do so.  She said it was tacky and would prefer we just throw out the photos and sell the frames, if we did not want to keep them.  She also knew people who would buy the old photos in frames and hang them on the wall, telling people it was their ancestor.  Of course, no one would ever debate the statement, but you have to feel bad for the person who decided to pursue their ancestry in this family.

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