What’s in a box? Brought down from the loft, our somewhat unpromising plastic container held affectionate memories and mysteries that were untold, unsolved and lost with the passage of time.

This blog documents the revelations that appeared as we carefully recovered old images, letters and ephemra from the Finch family archives of the 20th-century. Carefully curated by our Aunt Gwendolyn in the early part of the 20th-century, these artefacts have provided incredible clues to their lives, their struggles and their glories.

As the images were brought to life we were left confused. Cousins, brothers, sisters and aunts had only half remembered memories. Some of these memories were first-hand, but most were based on family tales and anecdotes passed down by word-of-mouth. Could we find the evidence behind these stories by a concerted trawl through online archives? And more pressingly, could we put a name to a face.

We’ve kind of achieved that! Of course, we could have shipped the box of photos to a professional scanning bureau who would have completed the task in days rather than weeks. But we would have missed the joys of seeing a bleached image that was barely visible transform in front of our eyes into faces that peered back at us. It was the process rather than the outcome that brought me closer to those stories. Yes, those stories that we suffered listening to out of a sense of duty as adolescents. Now we don’t hear those stories and wish we could hear just some of them again.

This archive of the Finch family is the best that we can do. And now we understand a little more.