Aug 042012
We are now halfway through Alona’s Family History Through the Alphabet and M is for Memorial

Now the general consensus of a definition of a memorial is something “in the memory of an event or more usually today, in people’s minds,  a person”.

So of course I will start with the Caskey Memorial carved by my 2x great-grandfather, William Busby. 

Of course a headstone may also be a memorial. If someone is mentioned on a headstone it does not necessarily mean that their mortal remains are buried within reach of the headstone.

Another form of memorial is the funeral or bereavement card as shown here for Alice Annie Rollason.

These cards can be very ornate.

The photo below is also a memorial. The two family members who had died prior to the photo being taken were added, fairly obviously.

I have seen more modern additions which have been photoshopped and can be difficult to detect the additions or in one case I saw of a divorce in that family, a deletion!

Memorials can also be used to remember an event such as the one at the Migration Museum in Adelaide remembering all the immigrants.

Or this medallion celebrating my having given 100 blood donations.

It may be a book plate saying your ancestor had received it for perfect attendance at school or church,  the key given for a 21st birthday, the first shoes worn by your baby, the inscription on the flyleaf of the Bible given for a First Communion.

We should look for memorials of all types among our possessions as these can give clues which will tell us more about our ancestors and bring them to life and may even break down a brick wall in our research.

What unusual memorials have you found in your family research?

  7 Responses to “M is for Memorial”

  1. You are so right with a memorial being so much more than just a headstone. I am fortunate to have a few funeral cards from ancestors. I don't believe I any of my ancestors carved memorials as your William Busby did though. That's just beautiful. As for that family photo – there no other words, other than simply awesome. And the medallion you received from the Red Cross Blood Donation Service is something to be truly proud of. You've helped many, many people through doing that.

  2. Helen, I really like the photograph with the deceased family members portraits added in – a beautiful memorial. I have done that with photoshop for members of my own family. The Rollason funeral card is very similar to one I have a photograph of (I don't own the original) for my great great grandmother in Victoria who died in the exact same year (1913). I see that your Rollason card is from Queensland though, which suggests they must have had standard designs at the time. Thanks for a great post.

  3. Thanks. Donating blood was important to me and I am pleased to be able to do so again after my all clear. I am the known third generation to donate blood and there was possibly a fourth geneartion but that is only hearsay.

  4. Interesting Aillin. I believe there were catalogues where the funeral companies could order the cards so maybe that was what happened? Or maybe they copied the designs?

  5. Fascinating post, Helen. I really hadn't thought about "memorials" being other than those for people who've died. Adding photos of people who have died before the family photo was taken is a great idea… but how horrible to remove someone who's been divorced, I reckon. Thanks, Catherine

  6. Hi Catherine, yes I was horrified when I was told but it was a very nasty break-up. It is a shame for the future as they were still the parents and at some stage the children may want to follow the family.

  7. I don't have any funeral cards but I do have a collection of programs with information from funerals. We took a family photograph over the weekend. One of my sons was unable to get there and I'll probably photoshop him in. That's too bad about the divorced removal for future family searchers. Maybe a copy will survive with that person still in it.

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