Family Artifacts Are Being Reunited to Rightful Owners


In the minds of most genealogists, searching for one's family has meant the thrill of discovering new information and stories about one's lineage.  Now, an antique dealer from Charlotte, NC,  is working to broaden that definition.

Many attendees at the recent NGS (National Genealogical Society) annual conference in Las Vegas were more than a little curious at the hundreds of antiques on display in the exhibitor's hall in front of a banner announcing, "Your Facts, Our Artifacts."  Joy Shivar and her husband, George, worked non-stop throughout the conference to explain their mission.

"We offer genealogists an opportunity to put their hard-won knowledge to work to recover something tangible associated with their ancestors," explains Joy, founder of the Family Heirloom Exchange.  "We currently have items associated with more than 50,000 families."

The Shivars are antique dealers who, for many years have attended as many as 45 shows annually around the country.  During this time Joy became acutely aware of the need for an avenue that antique dealers could use to communicate with family members when surname-related objects are available. invites antique dealers and others to list and sell these kinds of items for free on the website after becoming a member ($20.00 a year).  Unlike E-Bay or other sites, listed items on provide specifics of associated surnames making it possible to notify members within 24 hours when a listed item matches their designated surname interests.  If the member is then interested in the item, they contact the person who has it and voila - an orphaned heirloom is restored to a loving home. There are no commissions or buyer's premiums charged for the service.

The site is credited with successful matches of Family Bibles, photos, yearbooks, Civil War letters, a Revolutionary War muster roll, a WWI honor document, War of 1812 items, many WWII artifacts, antique advertising and much more.  Clips from original TV news stories about reunions can be seen on the site.  Sold items remain listed for research purposes. also invites genealogists to post items that could be precious to other researchers.  "We have learned that genealogists can't throw anything away," Shivar says with a laugh, "so we encourage them to access their inner angel by posting items, as well.  Everyone is so happy when a match is made."

For more information on this new kind of family search visit or call Joy directly at 704-948-1912.

About the Author