52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Place, Image, Object

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 8: Heirloom

Finding something to write about for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in Week 8 – Heirloom has been incredibly hard.  My maternal grandmother died on 23 May 2016 and we were left with all her belongings.  Some of them had names on the back to be given to a specific person.  There were so many items to choose from for this challenge.


Week 8 – Heirloom


I finally decided on this gorgeous dish (see Figure 1).  All it had as the way of explanation was my mum’s name written on a piece of paper on the back with Dongara underneath.  Clearly, this had come from Dongara, Western Australia where mum spent a part of her childhood.  The Dongara region was where my grandmother’s, Brand and Criddle ancestors were early settlers.  Many still reside in the region to this day.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 8 Heirloom - Beautiful Bowl
Fig.1 – Beautiful Bowl


I do not recall ever seeing this bowl being used but when I saw it in her cupboard I was immediately intrigued.  Mum cannot recall the story behind it or why her name was on the back.  There are no markings to identify where or when it was made, however, if it came from Dongara I can only assume it is from the late 1940’s to early 1950’s at its youngest.  That would mean it is a minimum of 70 years old.




52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 8 Heirloom - Beautiful Leaves on Bowl
Fig.2 – Intricate leaves on the bowl



It is a beautiful piece with gorgeous colouring and intricate work on it – you can see the leaves in Figure 2.


My daughter saw this bowl and asked my mum if she could have it.  She is very artistic and clearly liked the intricate work and colours in the bowl.  Her wish was granted and it is put away as an heirloom for her.


I would dearly love to know its origins, however, I doubt I will ever know.


Do you have an heirloom that you love?  Have you ever seen a bowl like the one above?  Please comment below with your thoughts.


14 thoughts on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 8: Heirloom

  1. I might be wrong Megan but the bowl looks like carnival glass to me, or at least that’s a point to start googling. How lovely that you already know your daughter will treasure it. 🙂

    1. Hi Jen

      Thank you so much for that information. Off to start googling to see what I can find out. I am so glad my daughter can see the beauty in this and wants it as her treasure.


  2. Megan, your bowl could be over 100 years old. Carnival glass has been around at least since the early 1900s.
    If you can’t find information on your particular bowl let me know and I will have a look at my reference books for you.

    1. Hi Lyn
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I have been fortunate today that a number of people have reached out to me with their suggestions for this bowl. I am excited that it may be as old as that! I’ll definitely let you know if I can’t find any references to it.

  3. It’s very like my family heirloom – not the exact same carnival glass bowl, but they share many similarities.

    I was always told that it was a Robertson family heirloom; that they brought it from Scotland when they emigrated to Australia; that it had been handed down from eldest daughter to eldest daughter for generations. If I’d have put a little more thought into it, I’d have questioned how the bowl stayed in the Robertson family if it was always passed along the maternal line. A bit more thought than that and I’d have wondered why it ended up with my grandmother – the eldest daughter of a youngest son.

    I didn’t think of any of these questions until after I asked a dealer of antiques to identify it. He pulled down a book, flipped a few pages, and there it was:
    Australian made, not Scottish
    Turn of the 20th century, not many generations back at all
    A lovely, beautiful thing worth cherishing in its own right, but the origin story attached was completely made up!

    1. Hi Carol
      Thank you for sharing you story! It is amazing how family stories sometimes come crashing down years later when it is too late to ask! I am very curious to find the origins of this one as my grandma had a note on the back saying Dongara. I was thinking of mum’s childhood in the 1940’s-1950’s but if it is the 100-year mark it could well belong to my great-grandfather Fletcher Brand’s side of the family. The Brand’s and Criddle’s were well-known early settlers in the area so it may go back to his parents David Brand and Susan Criddle. It has really piqued my interest with the comments I’ve received!

  4. Megan, There is a difference in design between Australian Carnival Glass and Carnival Glass from oversees which can be seen on the base of the bowl in most cases, but also in the type of design on the inner bowl. If you take it into a reputable antique store you should be able to find out if it was produced locally quite easily. All the best with it – I just love Carnival Glass but I limit my collection to the lighter green colours. Julie

    1. Hi Julie
      Thank you for that information. I never realised how special this piece was until I posted this! Loving that the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is encouraging me to write about my ancestry which in turn is leading to new discoveries. My daughter is now really worried about having the responsibility of an item that may be 100 years old.

  5. I have my own personal heirloom. It is a stuffed bear that I was given when I was born. I figured out that this is a family tradition, as my dad and his brother all have their own raggedy, old stuffed animals from when they are born.

    Things like that are worth taking a look at. It may not be a typical heirloom, but it is important to the family. I plan on giving my little bear to my first child, and I hope he does the same.

    I may also use my name as an heirloom as I am the third; I might have to name a fourth.

    1. Hi Ernest

      You are so right!  I have a teddy bear that I was given at birth that still sits in my bedroom.  She was taken off me at Heathrow airport when we moved to Australia and I apparently had a meltdown whilst she was x-rayed!  You are correct, there is so much history, in an old teddy bear!



  6. I see many have told you it is most definitely Carnival Glass, called that because it was frequently the top prize at a side show like one where they threw a ball at coconuts. As very few people ever won them, hardly ever in fact as most side shows were rigged, it started to be so.d in shops, it was not expensive and as it was so very pretty it was extremely popular. I have one very much the same as yours, my sister has the matching one to mine and my older sister has an orange one. It was the manufacturing process that gave them the iridescent look. The 3 in our family belonged to my maternal grandmother then to my mother, her only surviving child, and now shared in our families. Your family for years to come will enjoy that bowl, as we do.

    1. Hi Heather
      Thank you so much for your comment. I had never heard of Carnival Glass prior to other comments on here and I am so grateful to the people who took the time to leave a comment. I have been having a look on the internet and it is very interesting to read. I suspect I have a couple more of these in my possession and so will do some looking into them too. It’s lovely that you and your sisters have these as reminders of your grandma.

  7. Hi Megan,

    Small world. My wife’s aunt live in Dongara. I like it how Genealogy brings the world together.

    It sort of reminds me about our ancestors come together. When you think about it if one little factor didn’t happen then their would be nonus. It’s very poignant,

    Coming back to your heirloom I can say that it is beautiful and very colourful. I am glad that that piece was left for you.

    My father asked me recently what heirloom that I would like to have. Not necessarily of his but from our ancestors.

    I immediately said my great grandfather’s watch. Maybe I came across a bit too quick saying that but I knew very early on researching my family tree that that was something that I would like.

    1. Hi Owain
      It is certainly a small world in genealogy. I’ve never actually been to Dongara although it is on my genealogy bucket list! Heirloom’s are such an important part of our family history. When my grandma died I was happy to just get photos and documents – I didn’t expect anything else. I love that you knew exactly what you wanted – a watch. It would have to be quite old now but what a wonderful family memento.

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