Wednesday, November 22, 2023

CLEANING OUT AN ATTIC ~ What did I find?


What happens when we clean out those closets, drawers and attics?

If we are genealogists, we may come across some family artifacts.  Perhaps we stored them and forgot, or maybe a spouse or other family member put them away?  Whatever the case may be, finding long lost or unknown treasures sure makes me do the happy dance.

As I wrote recently, my husband, Ron and I just made a big move from California to Montana.  In doing so, we were cleaning out the attic (and oh my what a job that was). 

Ron comes across an old suitcase that he says is very heavy.  He hollers down to me (I’m at the bottom of the attic stairs) “what in the world do you have in this old suitcase?”  He carefully hands it down to me.  He’s correct, it’s quite heavy.  I don’t recognize the suitcase at all.  It was one that would be from the 1950s or  1960s. 

Here's an example of the old suitcase, only it was green instead of blue.

Drum role………………………….

I opened the suitcase and found items belonging to Ron’s Mom, her mother and very likely her German grandparents. Ron must have placed this in the attic and forgot about it these past many years. 

My regret is not taking photos of it as I opened it.  I was so much into packing mode that I just moved the items to another suitcase and moved on.  But, here is a list of some of the items I found:

·       Both of the military flags that were presented at Ron’s mother’s military funeral in 1993 and his father’s military funeral in 1966.  These should have been and will now be put in a proper frame and placed in our new home.

·       A small King James Bible that belonged to Ron’s maternal grandmother, Freada Doller Fink (1895-1981).  In it are notes written by Freada about births, deaths and other notable moments in the family.

·       Another King James Bible that was presented to my husband, Ron by his parents in Dec 1956.  Inside this Bible is the record of Ron’s baptism at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in San Diego, California.

·       An Evangelical Hymnal copyrighted 1919.

·       Last but very much not least, a small booklet, entirely in German.  




Kleine Katechismus

fur die gemeinen

Bfarrherren und Brediger


Dr. Martin Luther

St. Louis, Mo

Lutherrifder Concorbia = Berlang

Translated with the help of Google to say the following

the small catechism

for the common people

Bfarrherren and Brediger


Dr. Martin Luther

St. Louis, Mo.

lutherifcher concordia = overlay

There is no copyright on the German booklet and it is in poor condition. 

Did it belong to Freada Doller Fink’s parents?  They were both born in Germany. They immigrated to the U.S. in 1890, a few years prior to Freada’s birth.

Here is a photo of the Bibles and the hymnal.

Please stay tuned as I will be sharing the notes made by Ron’s grandmother Freada in the small Bible.

What other family treasures did I find during “the great packing?” You’ll find out in future posts.

If you’ve found treasures/family artifacts during a move or perhaps a cleaning out, I’d love to hear about them.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2023   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Great news for you! The unexpected finds - after you think you have everything - are the best. I wrote about my Treasures in the Closet in back in 2006, when I could remember everything. In rereading my post, I see things that I don't know they were put...another treasure hunt is coming...right here in my genealogy cave.

    1. It is always good to find unexpected treasures. Certainly moving after 28 yrs in a home is bound to reveal lost artifacts. We moved into our home in Ramona before I began doing genealogy research. Glad that I have been a bit of a "keeper" since I was in grade school. I was only 13 when President Kennedy was assasinated, and yet I kept all the newspapers. And oh so many other things. I'll await your next treasure hunt post.

  2. Hello, sorry to comment rather late on this. Just to improve a little on the Google translation of the German Lutheran catechism, I think "Bfarrherren and Brediger" should be "pastors and preachers," and "lutherifcher concordia = overlay" should be Concordia Lutheran - Publisher." (That gothic "B" is actually a "P." "Verlag" = publisher). I hope this helps - I enjoy your blog!


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.