Discarded box becomes a treasure for Pioneer Museum

Sept. 29, 2021 — Deposited with the day’s trash and placed at the curb was a wooden box containing old photographs and letters. 

By chance, passer-by and Siuslaw Pioneer Museum volunteer Annie Schmidt recognized the items might perhaps be of special value to someone, and inquired about the box. Receiving permission, the box was taken to the museum, where volunteers quickly realized some photos appeared to date as far back as 1880. Siuslaw Genealogy Society members and museum volunteers Pat Rongey and Sharon Waite began doing research in hopes of contacting a family member who would welcome the items. 

After a full day of inspecting the numerous pictures and documents, several names and birth dates were revealed. With that information, and utilizing her research experience, Rongey located a family tree on Ancestry.com. 

Emails were sent to several family members, but it seemed no one had an interest in the photos or letters. 

Two weeks passed, and with their hopes dwindling, an email arrived from an excited Laura in California, who was elated to learn of the box and yes, anxious to take possession of its contents. By week’s end, she received the items. From the photos she recognized family members and she concluded the items were probably from her grandmother’s sister’s family, then passed down to a family member.  

Laura reported she “spent hours going through” the items, calling them “good stuff I can share.” 

Congratulations to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum volunteers for their efforts in returning the family items home.

A treasure comes in many forms; recognizing it, is what makes it a gift.

The Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, 278 Maple St., can be reached at 541-997-7884 and www.siuslawpioneermuseum.com.