Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Out-of-Sorts Sorting

I have been sorting through my ancestor’s leavings, piece by piece by bloody piece. For years! All left for me to sort, donate, sell, or find the unknown relative who would want the item. The other day. I decided to tackle photos and letters. This was interesting, if not productive, until I moved into the mid-1800s and the Civil War became the focus. This photo was taken just before the "cousins" left for the war. It appears they all mustered in August, 1862. My challenge was identifying them. The person who named the individuals on the cardboard back, described each of the six as “Cousin Jim,” “Brother Jim,” “Cousin Ike”, etc. My dilemma was, just who did the labeling? If I knew that, the task would have been much easier. And so I am, once again, sidetracked in my attempt to catalogue and dispose.

 Overwhelmed by the research involved with this Civil War photo, I move on to some correspondence. And once again I was cruising along nicely until I came to the Civil War letters. Now just where or to whom should these go? I would have to read them to find out. But they were too depressing. Many of the letters were written by women who were maybe more grieved than their husbands and sons. Or perhaps just better at expressing their feelings.

I feel such agitation working my way through all this “stuff.” My parents just packed it all away and left it to me and my brothers. My brothers simply turned tail and ran. I try to look at what might be the advantageous angle of taking on this burden of all my ancestors. Why did I, who has always been the one to keep possessions and collections to a minimum, inherit the chore? It does not seem that this is my lesson. Right? It’s a lot of family energy that is not mine.

Now for those of you who are tempted to suggest reasons for this or benefits to me, don’t! I will snap back. I’m just venting. Unless you are a relative who wants some of this. In that case, I'm very happy to hear from you. Thanks for listening.

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