Just yesterday I received a box of Belleek and other Irish china dishes from a family member. In case you have never heard of it before, Belleek pottery is made in northern Ireland. My newly acquired heirloom includes fine china dishes, cups, saucers, serving trays and such. One of them is even made in the county in Ireland where my husband’s family is from. This acquisition is so much more than just getting some pretty dishes however. It’s the historical background, the family ties it holds and the ties it also gives us to our homeland.
This china is beautiful. There are cups and saucers, dishes, creamer pots, soap dishes and more. It is something that I will unfortunately have to put away for a while because I three young children and I will not risk losing any of it. However, it is also something that I will someday be able to pass down to them, along with the family history that it carries with it. I get to tell them that their great-great-grandmother had these things in her home and that they came from Ireland in the very county where all of their ancestors before her were born and died.
As I am starting to get them involved in my passion (obsession?) with family tree research and our ancestors, this will be something that they can actually see and understand. Hopefully, at least one of them will enjoy all of the work I have done on our family tree and the family connections that come along with it. I can pass all of this down to them and hopefully they will carry it on and pass it on to their children.
This isn’t the first family heirloom that I am lucky enough to hold onto. My engagement ring and wedding band have family history as well. No, it is not the biggest ring in the world or the prettiest, but it is the meaning that it holds that gives it so much more than that. They are the original bands that my husband’s grandparents used when they got married. Inside the band is the inscription of their anniversary date and my wedding date is now inscribed right next to theirs. They have been married for almost 54 years now. This gives me hope merely having the ring attached to my marriage and I can only hope that we will have as much of a loving and long-lasting marriage as they have.
What this also does however is share with me the feeling of being in their family. In researching their family tree, I have built up this connection to their family that I never would have had otherwise. I feel like I know their ancestors and feel this deep connection to them. I carry those family ties around with me literally on my finger everywhere I go. It is a constant reminder of that connection that I get to hold onto.
I started researching their tree in order to be able to tell my children where they came from. Now, I will not only be able to tell them about it, I get to show them pieces of their family history and pass it down to them.