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The Daily Genealogist: Ancestral Items on eBay

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
 
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock
Editor

Prompted by the recent discussion in The Weekly Genealogist on ancestral possessions, Richard Chamberlin of Irvine, California, wrote to say that he found two family items on eBay. “One is a photo of my great-grandmother Susie Davis of San Franciso, ca. 1880, that my sister found and purchased. The other is a memorial album honoring my great-great-grandmother Louisa Perry Glazier, who died in Sturbridge, Mass., in 1888. In addition to pictures of her and one of her sons, the album contains more than thirty photos of relatives (but sadly only a couple of them are labeled). I discovered that the album was bought by a speculator at an estate sale in Fall River, Mass., about 2003 but the seller didn’t know whose estate it was. The album cost $56, but I was happy to pay it.”

NEHGS Staff Genealogist David Dearborn, who has long studied all branches of the Dearborn family, found a large framed charcoal portrait of Samuel8 Dearborn (1831–1895) of Fryeburg, Maine, about ten years ago on eBay. He purchased the portrait for $140 from a seller in Queens who was not connected to the Dearborns. Unlike with many items auctioned on eBay, the subject of the portrait could easily be identified. A previous owner had pasted a copy of Samuel Dearborn’s July 1895 obituary on the bottom corner of the frame. Although David is not closely related to this particular Dearborn, Samuel Dearborn is one of the clan and now has a place of honor on a wall in David’s house.

The grandparents of NEHGS Director of Research Services Suzanne Stewart owned The Washington, an inn located in Wells Beach, Maine. Before her grandparents bought the inn, it had been called The Minnetonka. Suzanne found and purchased a postcard of The Minnetonka on eBay.

I have saved searches on eBay for several of my ancestral surnames — and for specific high school yearbooks I’d like to purchase — but so far I’ve never found any items connected to any of my direct ancestors. However, I continue to be optimistic!


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