Living Memories

Do you Google dead people? I just did.

autograph book 1910

I rediscovered this autograph album owned by my great grandmother Ursee Bowey. In 1909 at age 22 she received it as a Christmas gift from her mother (yes my great, great Grandmother). The pages are inscribed with carefully written sentiments from friends; poems, autographs, and drawings; reflections on life, love, and hope.

Apparently these albums were “all the rage” in Australia around 1900 as they became more affordable.

autograph album drawing

I don’t know why, but finding it again made me Google my great grandmothers name. Nothing, of course (really, what was I expecting to find? Force of habit?) Now some of her album is digitised in pristine pixel glory on this blog and Flickr. And finding her album gives me a glimpse into her life, her friends and her travels. I bet the author of this poem never would have imagined the words written there would travel over oceans nearly a hundred years later.

autograph album writing“We may write our names in albums
We may trace them in the sand
We may chisle them in marble
With a firm and skilfull hand
But the pages soon are sullied”….(but written in eternity)

It makes me think of the transformation our social networks, our ability to lifelog and create living memories for our children and even our great grandchildren. What will they find if they search for your name? Will your memory contain reflections of life, love and hope?