Please welcome guest blogger Nancy Peters, CGSM

Pam Eagleson is an “Attic Archeologist.” She knows how to unearth genealogical gems from ordinary family objects. Most family historians realize the value of a family Bible as a source for ancestors’ vital events. Pam has looked beyond written materials to glean evidence from everyday items, such as a pair of silver spoons, an old fiddle, and a ladies watch.

For a dozen or so example artifacts, Pam demonstrated how to apply the same rigorous scrutiny to family heirlooms that we do to written records. She shared her method of evaluating, analyzing, and documenting an object and exploring its historical significance in the context of family. In one case, her grandfather’s fiddle led her to an understanding of the musical culture so vital to the 19th-century German Rhineland area of Missouri where her people settled.

Familiar family artifacts can tell you more than you might think. Pam has motivated me to take a second look at that box of my grandma’s mementos.

This session has been recorded. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at This is session T201 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.


Nancy A. Peters, CGSM, is a full-time genealogist specializing in South Carolina and English research. She also volunteers as a collection care assistant at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia.