Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A New System for Tracking Heirlooms

A few months ago while talking to the Houstory Publishing guys about their house history book they told me about a new service to track heirlooms. While on vacation this summer with my family, my Dad gave me a family heirloom that came from his mother. Finally I had the perfect item to test out this new service.

The service is called the Heirloom Registry and it's meant as a way to create a record about individual heirlooms which can be stored on the internet and thereby preserved and accessible to other family members.

The process starts with a card that has a sticker with a registration number on it. The sticker gets attached to the underside of the heirloom.  Then you go to the Heirloom Registry website to register the heirloom.

My item was a beer stein which my father told me had been given to his mother from her father during the year that they lived in Germany. My great grandfather, James Quayle Dealey, had been a professor at Brown University and apparently he was a visiting professor in Europe for a year.

I headed to the Heirloom Registry website and was met with a straightforward uncomplicated interface. Perfect for me because I like things that are kept simple. From the options I chose to register a new heirloom. I was happy to see a little video, though, right on the front page that would walk people through the process of registering an heirloom. [Click photos to enlarge]

This was my first time visiting the site so I didn't already have an account. I had to select "Create One Now" from the options on the next page.  It was in fairly small type so I have highlighted it in yellow in my photo to show you were to find it.

The account creation was very simple and non-intrusive. I was asked for an email address and a password. No other personal information was required. On the next page I selected "register a new heirloom."  Then I entered the number from the sticker I had.

This brought me to the main page for heirloom registration where all the information is gathered about the item. I filled in an item description, selected a category for the item (in my case, porcelain), filled in the creation date. I didn't know who the manufacturer was so I put unknown. I was also able to add photos and fill in a lengthy description.

Adding details about the heirloom

After everything was completed to my liking I hit the save button on the bottom of the page. I was able to print a certificate of registration. I was very pleased to see that the certificate had a nice layout and clean printer friendly design. Bad design can ruin a product for me so I was happy that they paid attention to this detail.  The certificate of registration can be printed and added to an heirloom archive or even to will and estate papers.  I could imagine that a person could even include in the description who they want the item to get passed down to (though I wouldn't think that is legally binding).

Printable Certificate of Registration

Keep in mind that the registry description is publicly available to anyone who has the registration number. In theory, no one would see the number unless they picked up the object or were given the number by the owner. There is, however, an option to seal the information from public view (see data entry photo above) which can be for a pre-selected number of years.

Overall, I found using the Heirloom Registry a very quick and simple process. I like the idea having a catalog of family heirlooms that can be accessed via "the cloud" from any computer. I could also see this being be particularly useful in insurance claims in the case of a fire or robbery. I was impressed by the Certificate of Registration printable page and the encouragement that it should be printed out and preserved. I had a good experience with this service and look forward to adding more heirlooms to my account.

Product Details
Product: The Heirloom Registry
Available from: Houstory Publishing
Price: Various - 5 registration stickers for $9.99, 10 pack for $18.99 and 25 pack for $39.99
Registration Stickers can be purchased from


  1. Hi Marian,

    This is a fabulous service as I have a mixture of "heirlooms" and just stuff I have gathered. I would love to have the special family pieces easily identifiable for other family members and this seems like the service for me. Do you know if it is available for people outside the US, as I live in Australia?

    Cheers from Linda

    1. Hi Linda-I wanted to follow up with you to let you know we now offer service in Australia, as well as The UK and Canada. Cheers-Dan

  2. I too feel it will be a great service for me to use not only for my heirlooms handed down, but for identification of my own collection of art, figurines and precious collectibles which as Marian suggested could be tagged with the person I wish it to inherit it from me (used as a 'Statement of Wishes' to attach to my will). However, like Linda in Australia, I am in Canada and am unable to use the service.

  3. Hi Linda(s)-
    thank you both so much for the nice comments, and I'm sorry you were not able to purchase our stickers/plates.

    Linda Ottery -- if you'd like to send me an e-mail to info (at), I can give you some more details. I have already spoken with Linda Hauley a little bit about this.

    Just to let you know, we are currently researching how to open up our e-store to customers outside the United States. We're hoping to rectify this situation soon -- although I don't have a specific time table for when this will happen. I would recommend you sign up for our newsletter at the Web site (, or follow one or all of our social media outlets (with links also at the site) to keep up-to-date on when this will occur.

    Thank you again for your interest!

    -Dan Hiestand, Heirloom Registry marketing director

  4. I like this! Thank you.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    1. Hi Theresa -- let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your nice comment!

      Dan Hiestand, The Heirloom Registry