A Discarded Box Becomes a Rescued Treasure

Discarded with the day’s trash and placed at the curb was a wooden box containing old photographs and letters. By chance, passer-by and Pioneer Museum volunteer Annie Schmidt recognized the items might perhaps be of special value to someone, and inquired about the box. Receiving permission, the box was taken to the museum where volunteers quickly realized some photos appeared to date as far back as 1880. SGS member and museum volunteers Pat Rongey and Sharon Waite began doing research in hopes of contacting a family member who would welcome the items. After a full day of inspecting the numerous pictures and documents, several names and birth dates were revealed. With that information and utilizing her research experience, Pat located a family tree on Ancestry.com. Emails were sent to several family members, but it seemed no one had an interest in the photos or letters.

Two weeks passed and with their hopes dwindling, an email arrived from an excited Laura in California who was elated to learn of the box and yes, anxious to take possession of its contents. By week’s end, she received the items. Recognizing family members in the photos, she concluded the items were probably from her grandmother’s sister’s family, then passed down to a family member. Laura reported she “spent hours going through” the items . . . “good stuff I can share”.


Congratulations to Pioneer Museum volunteers for their efforts in returning the family items home.

A treasure comes in many forms – recognizing it, is what makes it a gift.

About siuslawgenealogy

The Siuslaw Genealogical Society of Florence, Oregon is a member supported, non profit organization. Researching genealogy and family history is our passion.
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