Sunday, September 18, 2011

The benefits of doing Genealogy

Two family oriented gifts: art calenders!

Seen above--Besler Botanical prints --my new geneo-horticultural passion!

One of the great benefits of doing our family genealogy work over the last 35 years is that we have some truly interesting connections to the past. I discovered one that lends itself to a few fun twists to our family gifting this season. My husband's family is related to the German Killians of colonial Lancaster county PA who are in turn descended from the Kilian engraving family of Augsburg, Germany. To make a long story short, my hubby's Kilian ancestor Wolfgang Kilian did the master engraving for one of the first botanical reference books ever done-published in 1613. The work was commissioned by Prince Bishop Johann Gemmingen who loved to garden and was wealthy enough to have rare types of things in his garden (for the 1600's anyway). The Bishop had a botanist and artist named Basil Besler draw them over 16 years, all 667 of them. Then he had Wolfgang and his metal engraving family engrave them all so that the huge book could be printed and reprinted. In those days there were no Kinkos. Metal engraving was how you reprinted any pictorial work. What a botanical treasure. Fast forward to 2011 and those Besler/Kilian prints are still being sold around the world 400 years later. Cool huh? If you are super interested, you can see a small sampling of the book here as a PDF.

So, I have been making home print outs of some of these botanical specimens into gifts for our family. I converted them back to sepia to show off the engraving aspect of them. The Art calender and the Family calender above each hold 12 different prints of this family artwork. Plus, I am telling the story of the past Kilians to them too--as you would expect. Don't you love it?

Now for the next gift --made from advertising prints!

This one is a fun gift.
All four salt kitchen ads are downloaded off the internet (at EBAY of all places!) I saved off the pics and printed them for pennies here at home. This black and white mat frame was from a garage sale for $2 and it was terrific frame quality. Plus it was all ready to go! I just inserted the sepia computer print outs of four charming 1906-1910 ads from a food company relevant to their family history during that era. Great conversation piece too!

If I tell them the stories often enough, they might remember, right??!

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