Can something be considered an heirloom without a story?

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Publishing Marketing Director

As we head into the “lazy days” of summer, some questions for you to ponder in the hammock…

Do you have anything in your home that has a story behind it? Maybe it’s a quilt handed down from mom; a clock given to you by a favorite uncle; a coffee table received as a wedding gift; or a set of dishes passed down through the years?

In my living room, I have a simple fountain lamp that was purchased for me just a few years ago. It’s not old (in fact it was new when I received it), and it’s not monetarily that valuable. If you saw the lamp, you may think it was nice — but probably not much more.

The Heirloom Registry

The story of my lamp is now safe and accessible in The Heirloom Registry

You wouldn’t know where or when it was purchased, or by whom — or that it has traveled with me around the world since it was acquired. In other words, you would not know why this lamp is much more than just a ‘thing’ to me, and is one of my most precious belongings.

I think it’s safe to say that without its story, my little lamp would just be more “stuff” in my home.

With this example in mind, how can we make sure the stories and provenance  behind the things we truly care about — those relatively few, irreplaceable belongings you would want to grab if there was a fire in the house — will always remain with the items?

Or, in my case, how can I make sure that my son, daughter or relative in the year 2075 will know that my lamp purchased in 2005 was not just a piece of junk — but was something of great sentimental value that marked an important period in my life?

Enter The Heirloom Registry (, the latest offering from Houstory Publishing, creator of the Home History Book archival journal.

What is The Heirloom Registry? The Registry allows you to pass on the story of your treasured belongings to future generations using high-quality labels and brass plates in conjunction with registration codes and a secure online database.

In other words, it will help make sure that if someone sees my little lamp decades from now, they will have very easy access to the story behind it.

To learn how it works, please watch the short video accompanying this post. If you’d like to test out the site for free, please sign up for a free account at

VIDEO: Built to Last — The Making of the Home History Book Archival Journal

We are proud to unveil a wonderfully shot, concise video that examines the steps involved in the creation of Houstory Publishing’s “Deluxe” Home History Book archival journal.

Thank you to Kentucky-based photographer Chris Witzke, who did a great job capturing the care and passion that goes into each of our books, and photographer/video editor Matt Read, a Bellingham, Wash.-based talent!

After five years, Houstory heading off to first trade shows!

It’s hard to believe our little company started in early 2007. That seems a long time ago. But here we are.

And now, after loads of research and development — and just plain hard work —  we are excited to be attending our first trade shows, starting this next weekend. This trip will be a lot of fun — kind of like showing off a project at the science fair. The blood, sweat and tears have already been spilled. Now it’s up to the judges. 🙂

Our first stop will be the Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show & Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, Va. (March 4-6). Attendees from all over the East Coast will be on hand. We’re  looking forward to meeting a lot of innkeepers, and hearing the interesting stories behind their properties.

The following weekend, we travel to Philadelphia for the Designer Craftsmen & Historic Home Show (March 10-11). Check out our profile for the show. If you live in Philadelphia, or will be in attendance, please stop by our booth and say, “hi.”

These are only the first two of many conferences we will be attending in 2012. We’ll write more on future plans at a later date.

Finally, we want to say “thank you” to everyone who has supported us along the way. We couldn’t have arrived at this point without the support of our family, friends, colleagues, vendors and — of course — loyal customers.  This especially goes out to our lovely wives — and much better halves — Tasi and Patty!

As we will be on the road next week, I’m not sure if we’ll have a blog posting or not. I hope to give some updates on how things are going from the road via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, so please make sure to follow us there.

Wish us luck!

Houstory Publishing giving away a Home History Book archival journal

Houstory™ Publishing, LLC, wants to give you a Home History Book Deluxe archival journal. The company is the creator of the Home History Book™ archival journal series, a new, refreshingly simple product line designed to help record, preserve and share a home’s unique past as well as its present stories.

To enter our giveaway contest, simply go to our Facebook page, ‘like’ us and sign up with your name and e-mail.

A 'baby book for the home,' the Home History Book is designed to help record, preserve and share a home’s unique past as well as its present stories.

Houstory is a new company — basically in the “infant” stages — and wants to get the word out about its high-quality product line. What’s the most efficient way to do this? Give it away, of course!

So, not only will you be helping out a new company — started by a couple of brothers — but you have a chance to win a seriously impressive book that should last you a very long time. Hand-bound in the U.S., and made with Forest Stewardship Council®-certified paper and environmentally friendly, deluxe faux leather, the Home History Book Deluxe archival journal is a one-of-a-kind display piece.

For more information on our book, please visit

Houstory heading to Williamsburg & Philadelphia; Twitter time; baby, it’s cold outside

Before I begin this post, I first want to say I hope our readers in the Pacific Northwest are staying warm. My niece posted on Facebook that it was 17 degrees where she was in Ferndale, Wash. Ouch! Looks like I got out just in time.

It's always Texas.

Until recently, I was living at the ‘Houstory World Headquarters’ in Ferndale with my brother Mike (the Houstory Publishing founder) and his lovely family — but in late December I moved back to Austin, Tex., to be with my beautiful wife and to start the ‘Lone Star’ division of our company.

As I look outside my office window (it’s a rather pleasant 76 degrees and sunny) I have to say I think I made a pretty good decision to skip winter. Sorry, that was just cruel. At least you folks up in Washington state don’t have to deal with ‘Cedar Fever‘ — a gem of an ailment I’m suffering from that strikes Texans during the middle of winter. I suppose that’s justice, though.

One more thing before I get to the news: If you are not following us on Twitter, I would recommend you do so. Lots of great info is being shared there by genealogy experts from across the world (stuff that you’re not seeing if you are only following us on Facebook or reading our blog).

Additionally, we will no longer be updating our Facebook page with tweets. As I’ve been learning, the two platforms are truly apples and oranges. Twitter will be a more ‘real-time’ resource — with a lot more conversational tone and a steadier stream of updates — while Facebook will include more substantial posts (but not as often).

You can find us at

Tweet tweet.

Now the big news: We are very excited to announce that we will be attending our first two trade shows in March. The first one will be in Williamsburg, Va., at the Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference (March 4-6). It should be a lot of fun, as relatively very few people have had a chance to see our books in-person. My wife Tasi will be joining me for that trip.

The following weekend, Mike and I shall be in Philadelphia at the Historic Home Show, sponsored by Old House Media Group. That show runs from March 10-11. If you are in the area, or know anyone who would like to see our offerings, please stop on by.

We have several more trade shows to attend throughout the year, so we will keep you guys aware of things. Well, thanks for reading, and hope ya’ll have a great week! (See, I’m becoming more and more Texan every day.)

And the winner of a free Home History Book archival journal is…

Like we’re actually going to tell you in the first paragraph!

After a slow start, we had a respectable turnout for our first book giveaway. We didn’t realize how challenging it would be to actually give away a $300 product that will last for many years. But, we can’t say we blame people — the digital universe is full of big promises with lots of red tape, and companies in your face about how “special” their product or service is — even if it is being given away and it’s not that special. We normally just blow by giveaways ourselves.

Houstory Publishing thanks you for your support!

For those who entered the giveaway, we appreciate the support, so cheers to you all. We also hope you’ve received some useful information along the way. We want to sell books, of course, but we also want to inspire the ‘houstorian’ in all of you and we hope it shows.

Well, let’s get to the main course. The winner of the first Houstory Publishing Home History Book archival journal giveaway is…

Sara Vandepas of Portland, Ore. Congrats to Sara! We hope you enjoy your Home History Book for many years to come, Sara. Thanks to everyone for entering the competition and supporting Houstory!

And if you haven’t “liked us” yet, now’s the time. Today we’re happy to announce that our next drawing for a free Home History Book will be on Leap Year Day: February 29.  It only happens once every four years, so don’t miss out!

Built responsibly. Built to last.

Houstory Publishing’s overall company goal is pretty simple: we hope to make a product that we can be proud of — not something that adds more junk into the world. With that in mind, we were picky with the materials we chose during the creation of the Home History Book archival journal.

Our books are produced with environmental sustainability in mind. To this end, the book was printed on Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC)-certified paper. The FSC is a non-profit organization that encourages the responsible management of the world’s forests. It sets high standards that, “ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.”

Additionally, the pages are Green Seal™ certified. Green Seal is a third-party organization that verifies the percentage of recycled fiber used to manufacture paper. In this case, the book is made with 30 percent recycled post-consumer fiber.

For more information, visit

If you love your home and you love history, you’re at the right place

Welcome to the first edition of The Houstorian’s Hearth blog, and thanks for visiting.

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: This may be the only posting for a little while, as we are not quite ready to poke our heads out of the door on a regular basis just yet.  But, soon enough, we will be regularly updating it with information on all things home genealogy, including but not limited to: historical preservation (specifically regarding property and documents), historical home real estate listings, home genealogy conferences, contests, events, scrap booking, book binding, the latest in home history research information and technology, renovation and construction practices as related to home genealogy…you get the picture.

Please check back soon!