Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can you find your Great-Grandfather's Civil War Sword?

One of the more interesting "new" services I saw today at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Springfield, Illinois is Just a Joy (, the brainchild of Joy Shivar.  I spent some time with Joy, and offered to share her press announcement with my readers:

September 6, 2011
For Immediate Release:
Is It Possible to Find Your
Great-Grandfather’s Civil War Sword?

Joy Shivar, owner of the Family Heirloom Exchange has dedicated the last ten years to that question.  As she handled many such artifacts as Revolutionary War items, Civil War letters, WWI and WWII identified photos and hundreds of other surname-related antiques in her business, JustaJoy Historical Treasures, she was constantly alert of the need to be able to make family historians aware of the items existence.  Noting that none of the genealogy sites or auction sites are specifically designed for this purpose she set her mind to creating one and on May 23, 2011, the Family Heirloom Exchange was introduced at the National Genealogical Society’s annual meeting in Charleston, SC to rave reviews. regularly advertises at antique shows and military and Civil War shows to attract vendors who are then invited to add surname related items to the website.  Once a member, antique dealers can list an unlimited number of items on the site for free. Joy then advertises the site to genealogists and others who know their family’s history.  Buyers and sellers negotiate directly and unlike other sites, imposes no listing fees, buyer’s premiums, commissions or final value fees.  The annual membership cost of $20.00 per year helps fund the outreach.

The site currently boasts of original items or “Orphaned Heirlooms” associated with nearly 40,000 families.

The annual membership fee also entitles the user to the “Surname Notification Service” - an e-mail alert system that notifies members as items are added to the site that are associated with the user’s specific surname interests.  This is an important service as there is usually only one of each item available - one family Bible, one Civil War sword, etc.  This also saves the member from the necessity of constantly checking the site to see if anything new has been added, related to his or her specific family.  Up to twenty surnames can be included in this service.

If members have items that are not important to their own family but would be a special find for someone else, they are also invited and encouraged to add them to the site.  As mentioned above this service is free for both listing and selling.   If members are not interested in making matches for profit, the site can accommodate free listings, as well.

Although not billed as an “information site”,, does serve as a resource.  As items are sold, listings remain on the site, allowing users to view and print pictures of the item or the description, as desired - an added value to the site.

In the short time since its introduction, the Family Heirloom Exchange has received broad accolades including being filmed by the History Channel and many other television outlets as well as much print exposure and an extensive interview by GeneaBloggers Radio.

For more information, contact Joy Shivar at 704-948-1912 or

“Let’s Go Antique Hunting in the Family Tree”

1 comment:

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

My husband's prize possession is his grandfather's civil war sword. Okay, its his sword from the 1930s Spanish Civil War. Also his spurs, uniforms, military records folder, medals, photos and helmets. I'm glad we got this all out of Spain before the new TSA rules on luggage weight limits and fees! Wrong civil war, but just as important when your family tree begins in America in 1960. Those who had ancestors here in 1860 will love your information, Randy!