Bringing an 1880s autograph book to life

Have you ever noticed that when you mention the word “genealogy” people immediately change the subject? A brother-in-law, who has no interest in sports, will politely ask my husband how his golfing is going. He will even politely listen to the answer. But has he ever asked me how my genealogy is going? No. I guess he is afraid I will tell him.

Genealogists agree it can be a challenge injecting life into our family history, old photos, and heirlooms to make it more enjoyable for our family members to listen to the stories and learn about our ancestors.

Autograph book_Patricia GreberMy cousin Patricia (Dever) Greber has found a way to add warmth and life to an autograph book that is more than 125 years old. The book belonged to her great-great-grandmother’s sister, Elizabeth Norton, who was born in Quebec City in 1862. It appears she may have received it for Christmas in 1887. During the next couple of years, Elizabeth asked family and friends to write on the beautifully decorated pages. Watch and listen on Patricia’s blog, My Genealogy Life: Ancestor Hunter, how she brought the book and autographs to life. Perhaps you will even recognize a name.

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About Gail Dever

Gail Dever is a Montreal-based genealogist and blogger and a webmaster for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.
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3 Responses to Bringing an 1880s autograph book to life

  1. mdianerogers says:

    That’s a lovely way to share, especially with family. But it would be a good idea to add a list of the autographers’ names to the introductory blog article and in the YouTube comments. Otherwise those people’s families may never find this, unless they already know their family member was a friend of Elizabeth Norton and lived in Quebec City.( Perhaps unlikely.) I have birthday and autograph books and a few similar items and have published the names on-line and in genealogy journals.

  2. Dianne Nolin says:

    That was so nice! I still have mine that my grandmother gave me, and I often take it off the shelf and read what my family and friends (and friends’ parents) wished for me.
    I also have my Dad’s autograph book. Not many pages written on here…. parents, siblings, old girlfriend (ahem) … but on the first two pages are all the autographs of the Montreal Maroons. And, more important to me, my grandfather made a tiny watercolour painting on one of the pages.

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