The concept of JustaJoy Family Heirloom Exchange is a neat idea. The website, which is a virtual antique shop, was created in order to reunite “orphaned heirlooms” with family. There is a catch though--the artifact has to be associated with a surname, which is included as part of the artifact’s listing, along with any other pertinent details. Some artifact descriptions even include a transcription or other relevant historical or family-related information.
There are thousands of neat artifacts, which are listed for sale by antique dealers and individual collectors. The unique thing about this website is that the artifacts remain searchable even after they’ve sold. It’s kind of a way to let people know such an artifact exists, and in some cases, the listing description may hold viable clues for family historians. Although I haven’t found anything (yet) tied to my family, I have found some really neat artifacts, such as:
- Revolutionary War Pay Receipt for Elisha Walker
- 1905 Joplin, MO Mourning Letter
- 1864 Soldier’s Civil War Letter
- 1869 Index to the Congressional Record (includes Mary Todd Lincoln Pension)
An annual membership costs $20. With a membership, you have the ability to view all of the artifacts, which includes a detailed description and, if still available for purchase, the price and contact information of the seller. You also have the ability to list artifacts you’d like to sell. I plan to list some of my orphan photos in cases where I don’t have enough information to track down family. Hopefully through this service I can reunite these photos with family. Another great membership perk is the ability to list up to 20 surnames in your profile. In doing so, when an artifact is listed that contains a surname listed in your profile, you are notified via email.
JustaJoy differs from traditional auction sites because they do not collect a commission on any sales, nor are they involved in any transaction. You simply join at the annual membership rate and peruse, buy, and sell at your leisure. As a buyer, you work directly with the seller (and vice versa).
The website is still relatively new, but continues to grow everyday. Right now, you are able to search by surname and perform a general search (for example, by item type or location). But I have it on good authority that the search will be enhanced sometime in the future.
*This review is of my own accord. I purchased a membership during the FGS conference last month, mainly out of curiosity and for use in reuniting my collection of orphan photos with their families.