My ancestors’ books, pt. 2: Flowers

June 29, 2011

I finished yesterday’s post with two images of souvenir cards from Austrian pilgrimage sites, found in my ancestors’ prayer books. But there’s not only mementos from local sites of worship to be found among them, there’s also one from far-off Jerusalem:

It’s inscribed Flowers from the Holy Land (in five different languages) and has five different kinds of blossoms (one for each language?) glued onto it. I suppose this must have been a gift from someone outside the family because it’s from the belongings of my great-grandmother who died in 1986, and, for all I know, nobody in my family had been to Israel before that.

Pretty as these Flowers from the Holy Land may be, for me they can’t compete with this simple poppy blossom…

… that, many many moons ago, one of my ancestors put between the pages of a religious songbook to press and dry.

I wonder if this was the same person who stored an entire collection of four-leaf clovers in another one of the books:

In the old days, of course, clover was widely grown in our region because it provided cheap fodder for farm animals, so even the four-leaved variety wouldn’t have been that hard to come by. But look, there’s even a five-leaf clover in that book:

Ok, maybe that’s not so cool after all: Wikipedia tells me that even 56-leaf clover has been documented… And, on a more general level, I have to admit that [m] once found some age-old dried and pressed flowers between the pages of a 15th-century (!) manuscript*, and my ancestors’ humble books with their plain country plants certainly can’t keep up with that, either. So, yes, I realise that my ancestors’ books really aren’t that special. But still, while they may not be Booktryst-material and wouldn’t make more than a few euros at a book sale, they’re precious and priceless to me. You know what that means? Right, you’ll hear more about them tomorrow…


* That was in a library, of course. We do not own any 15th century manuscripts ourselves. Wish we would, though…

2 Responses to “My ancestors’ books, pt. 2: Flowers”

  1. I love your last two posts. I’ve been delving into my genealogy recently (Tongan, English, Maori, Scottish, German and French, just for starters!) and it’s so exciting to learn more about my forebears.
    I can’t even imagine being able to actually touch some of their possessions, and as a passionate book lover, the idea of you having some of your ancestors’ prized and well loved books is thrilling.
    Precious beyond words!

    • [c] said

      Thanks Kirsten! I have to admit that your genealogy sounds much more exciting than mine – in any case, there’s definitely a wider gene pool involved than in my family… After all, I’m basically desecended from a bunch of inbreeding villagers ;-) (No, seriously, my grandma and granddad were cousins. In their time, of course, marrying your cousin was considered pretty normal. Come to think of it, my other grandma even wanted to hook ME up with one of my cousins once. Something about keeping the family property together…)

      Oh, and as regards touching your ancestors possessions, may I add that I do most of my knitting and reading in an armchair inherited from my great-grandaunt :-)

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