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Steamer Trunks from Ireland

Yesterday my husband and I went to our grand daughter's pre-K class to talk about our ancestry.  All of our parents were born in the United States.  All of my husband's grandparents were born in Belorus and emigrated to the US from 1900-1908.  My grandparents and 5 of my great grandparents, were born here.  But my great grandmother, the only one I knew, was born in County Armagh, Ireland and moved here alone, following her fiancee, in 1887.  She was a really cute, very elderly woman when I was a child - somewhat deaf and never without her black cane.  

Here is a picture of Annie Ballance which was taken upon her arrival in New York City.  When I researched our family, I found her passenger list, which recorded 2 pieces of baggage - both of which I now own.


This is a picture of Sydney standing near the largest of her steamer trunks, which is in our apartment.  I scraped off the paper cover and stained both trunks 50 and 30 years ago - and have moved them from place to place since then.  This trunk has a wallpaper lining and glass top filled with family photos.  All of the quilts I made that are no longer in use are carefully folded inside.


I was delighted to finally paint both trunks as part of my journal page from yesterday - reflecting our visit to Syd's class.





It has been an adventure tracing family history. I have learned things I would never have known otherwise about the family. It is great that you have the treasure of still having a piece of the history in tangible form.

Wonderful post, Shirley. How lovely to hear the history and to see both your beautiful restoration and sketches of the trunks. I'm trying not to be envious of those trunks.

What a terrific post and what a lovely story. Those trunks are really beautiful - you must be so pleased to have them with you.

Great post! My greatgrandmother came from Norway and never went home again. She was offered one chance and her friends told her it would be too heartbreaking so she didn't go back to visit. She was so sorry later but she did find a good life here. My grandfather on my dad's side was born in Ireland and came over as a baby. He served under Teddy Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War. Histories like these are part of being American. I am glad your grandchild's school is having a day for it.

I love your real trunk and the painted one. The glass top with the open lid is a super way to show off the quilts. Enjoyed the watercolor rendition in your journal.

What a great drawing of a treasure you got there! And to be using it as a display for family photos, that's just brilliant and it fits the purpose so well! I am a big fan of old trunks and chests, especially those woody and leathery ones, riveted to last forever. Little Syd is so cute, and actually I could totally see the inheritance from Anna there ^^ it's just amazing sometimes how genes affect our lives in such a way that we don't even know it.
Thanks Shirley for your constant support and encouragement, your comments really mean a lot to me.

How interesting! Great journal page. It's so nice to have that history, the photo, and the trunks! It shows how it was not so very long ago.

My mother traces our family history, which is why I referred to her as "Agatha Christie-ish" in my blog award post! She's definitely been the detective, and she's having a blast at it! Love this post. And the sketches of the trunk, wonderful!

I have a trunk that carries family history. Never thought to display it as you have. What a neat idea. The kids were lucky to have you give a presentation.

Oh Shirley - what a heart warming post, lovely woman and adorable grand daughter. You are keeping the bonds with the past, tight and true - Have a fabulous Thanks Giving!

Oh how beautiful Shirley!! I adore old stories and histories and if accompanied by photots and trunks with its contents and all sorts of memories, I can be audience all day long! Any more stories coming?
Lovely sketch of the trunks!

I just love old timey chests. you did a great job with the sketch. Love it

A very satisfying piece of research

Do you happen to know some of the original contents of the trunk, the personal possessions brought from Ireland?

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