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- What is The Heirloom Registry™?
The things we care about have stories. The Heirloom Registry (THR) helps you protect and share those stories, providing a lasting, accessible and inexpensive way to make sure the stories and records of the things you care about are preserved and easily found by future generations.
- How does The Heirloom Registry work?
It’s really quite simple.
First, purchase a registration number issued by The Heirloom Registry.
Second, permanently affix the number to an item you wish to register using a permanent sticker or metal plate supplied by The Heirloom Registry or any means of your choosing. (It is the Web site address and registration number — not the sticker or method of attachment — that is the key to using the THR database.) Most users will attach the number in an inconspicuous location, such as inside a drawer or on the underside of the item where it won’t normally be seen, but is likely to be found by a new owner. (Please keep in mind, THR stickers are intentionally designed to be permanent. Do not attach a sticker on something if you don't intend for it to stay.)
Third, complete your registration at www.theheirloomregistry.com where you can permanently record stories and facts, link to outside resources and/or upload images of your heirloom to be appreciated and enjoyed by future generations.
There are no annual fees. There are no required updates (although you can modify its story anytime you want.) In fact, for as little as 99 cents and 10-15 minutes of your time, there's nothing more to do ever.
But now -- or 100 years from now -- in your home, your grandchild's home or in an antique store across the country, any time someone sees your item's unique number and wants to know more, they can simply visit the THR Web site and enter its unique registration number to view its story. Because no matter where your treasured heirloom goes, the story that makes it special will always go with it.
One user described it as "a license plate for my grandfather clock."
- Why would I use The Heirloom Registry?
Historical preservation and conservation are probably the most important reasons. The more one knows about an item’s history — its provenance — the more one is likely to respect, appreciate and care for it.
If you don’t capture and tell the stories of the things you care about, no one will. And an heirloom without its story is often just “old stuff.”
- What if I sell the item?
As long as the registration number remains affixed to an item, all future owners will have access to its records. They may choose to purchase their own registration number so they can contribute their information to the item’s ongoing story.
Indeed, registering your property with The Heirloom Registry is a small investment that can significantly add to its value and make it more appealing to potential buyers. Someone who sees you have taken time to register your property not only has the opportunity to learn more of its background — which probably makes it stand out from similar items he or she may be considering — but should also help them instantly appreciate the extra care and attention you have given the piece and its significance to you.
Of course, if you change your mind about sharing the item’s records, you can always delete its records from the registry or simply remove the registration number (e.g., its sticker) before you sell it.
- What items are suitable for registration on The Heirloom Registry?
Any personal property that is meaningful to you and whose story you would like preserved is perfect for registration. Whether it’s old or new, extremely valuable or purely sentimental, in mint condition or “well-loved” — if it’s important to you, registering it with THR is an inexpensive, safe and easy way to ensure its story goes with it.
- Why would I list my belongings on The Heirloom Registry when I can store my research materials in a folder at home?
Tracking and storing information of your important possessions can be challenging. Making sure that information is both safe and accessible is even more difficult. Folders stored in a filing cabinet gather dust, are forgotten or lost. And unless you physically transfer the records with your property, they’re of little use.
The Heirloom Registry solves that problem by providing a lasting, central location where information about an item will always be available to anyone with access to its registration number.
- My item is brand new. There is no history. Why should I register it?
Every heirloom’s story has a beginning and if your “future heirloom” is new, you’re the best one to tell it. Even better, no research or knowledge of the item’s past is needed; you already have all or most of the information required. Those who follow will appreciate your being there from the start.
- What about privacy? Who can see the information I provide?
An item’s online record cannot be viewed without knowing its unique 18-character, alphanumeric identification number. Our registry database does not include a public search engine. So unless someone has an item’s registration number in front of him or her, the record is effectively inaccessible.
The Heirloom Registry will not sell or share your information — or information about the items you register — with anyone, except as required by law.Is my information secure on The Heirloom Registry?
It is our goal — and promise to you — that the Registry serve as a secure, historical repository long into the future. To that end, we have gone the extra mile to ensure that the information you share on the Registry is secure, safe and protected. In addition to daily backups and 256-bit enabled SSL (which is really strong), we have employed a number of other regular data security practices that treat your data the way we'd want to treat our own. (Which makes sense because, of course, we have a bunch of our own heirlooms registered at THR!) More information about how we safeguard data on The Heirloom Registry is available here.Are there any kinds of information that shouldn’t go in The Heirloom Registry, or that I should be careful including?
You should only include as much personal information as you are comfortable sharing. Often, just a few key facts can make the item come alive. (For example: "This dining room table was purchased about 1925 at Wannamakers Department Store in Philadelphia, as a wedding gift for my grandparents. It has been passed down and used for more than eight decades for holidays and other important events by my family in York, Pennsylvania.")
Additionally, each entry includes an optional, time-locked "Private Registry", where more personal information can be added — such as a family’s name or address — to be automatically revealed at a later date, which you select.Couldn’t someone randomly enter my registration number and view my records?Our math experts have said the chance of randomly "guessing" an 18-character, alphanumeric THR registration number is about 1 in 45,697,600,000,000,000,000, which is about 44 quintillion more than the Entomological Society of America estimates is the insect population of Earth.Do records created in The Heirloom Registry ever expire?
No. Once you have registered your heirloom’s record it stays in The Heirloom Registry forever (or until you delete it).Are there any annual fees or other costs that I must pay to maintain an active registration?
No. Once you’ve purchased a registration number, you won’t be asked to open your wallet or purse ever again. Not a bad deal for about a buck.How long will The Heirloom Registry last?
While we can’t predict the future, we hope — and have taken steps to ensure — that The Heirloom Registry will last far into the future (or at least as long as your heirloom) and become a valuable historical reference tool. To ensure longevity, a portion of each registration number fee is deposited in a dedicated fund that will be used to pay for future operation of The Heirloom Registry. Of course, given our ever-changing technology, it’s difficult to predict exactly what form The Heirloom Registry will take in 10 years, let alone 50 or 100, but we are fully committed to our mission and promise to do our level best to ensure that whether “surfing the Internet” or “transbeaming the MetaCosmos,” the purpose and essential function of the Registry as a lasting and accessible source of historical information remains intact.
After you have registered and saved the story of your item, you also have the option to create an attractive Registration Certificate which you can print out and either store with the item or save with your other important personal papers. (Note: You must "save" your entry and exit from the "edit" mode to create a Registration Certificate. Those simply viewing your entry can also create a Registration Certificate.)How do I research my heirloom’s history?
There are many tools to help you unlock your property’s past, such as the Expert's Library hosted by the popular PBS television show, Antiques Roadshow. Alternatively, you may choose to hire a professional appraiser.
- I have the registration number for an item I recently acquired. How do I find its records?
Simply go to www.heirloomregistry.com and enter its registration number.
- Can I search for an item if I don’t have a registration number?
No. To protect privacy, The Heirloom Registry intentionally does not maintain a search engine. An item’s online record can only be viewed using its unique registration number, which should be affixed to it.
(Note, however, that registration numbers for all items registered while logged into The Heirloom Registry Web site will be listed in your user account.)
- Why don’t you offer a search engine?
Unlike e-Bay or other retail Web sites, The Heirloom Registry is not a marketplace and is not intended for public browsing. To protect the privacy of our users, an item’s records can only be viewed by entering its unique registration number. Because the numbers are meant to be permanently affixed to an item, its records will usually only be available to those with physical access to the property or to someone whom you’ve purposefully provided the registration information. For example, if you want to sell one of your belongings and would like potential buyers to see its background/history, you can always give them the item’s registration number or include the item’s unique URL [LINK to #6, below, "How can I share my heirloom’s record with others?”] in your advertisement.
- Who can view records in The Heirloom Registry?
Anyone with access to an item’s unique, 18-character, alphanumeric registration number can view its THR record. You do not have to be a registered user to view records. All parts of the record — other than information concealed in the Private Registry section — can be viewed by anyone who successfully enters the registration number into the system. This semi-private system ensures that those who possess the property can unlock its background years or decades later even if they don’t know the previous owner.
- Do I have to have an account with The Heirloom Registry to view an item’s record?
No. But you must have its registration number, which should be permanently affixed to the item.
- How can I share my item’s record with others?
Simply provide them with your item’s registration number and tell them to visit The Heirloom Registry [link to “Enter Registration #” page].
Alternatively, you can provide them with the item’s unique Web address. For example, if you want to sell a belonging and would like potential buyers to see its background/history, you can give them the item’s URL or include it in your advertisement. Simply use the following URL format, substituting your item’s registration number for “THR ID”:
For example an item with the registration number ABMD-820-239-6246-2011, could referenced using the following URL:
- What is a Registration Certificate
A registration certificate is an attractive, printer-friendly way to create a hard copy of your registration (including photos and captions). In addition to viewing an item's online registration, some users like the option of creating a hard copy of their registration to keep with the item or to store with other important personal papers. There is no additional fee to create a Registration Certificate.
- How do I create a new registration record?
The first time you enter a new registration number into the THR Web site, a new record will be activated.
- How many photos can I include?
Each record can hold six photos (or other scanned images) and corresponding captions.
- Can I delete a record I have previously created?
Yes. Registered users can edit or delete their records after they have logged into their account. (Note, however, that information in the Private Registry section can only be deleted by deleting the entire record and cannot be edited or viewed by anyone -- including the user who created it -- once it is sealed.)
- Can someone besides me add/change/delete records I have previously created?
Not without your account login information.
- How do future owners add new facts or stories about an item I registered without my account login information?
The most common way for a new owner to add information about an item is to simply affix a new registration number alongside the original. Additionally, they can connect their new sticker’s information to a previous record by clicking on the “Link to Other Registration Record” tab from your item’s record page. Of course, you could also simply transfer your login information to the new owners if they are family members or otherwise known to you.
- How long will my records or entries be publicly accessible?
Records will remain accessible as long as they remain in the THR database. If you created the record and have retained your login information, you always have the option to remove them.
- How can I prevent others from viewing a record I have created?
The purpose of The Heirloom Registry is to share the story of our stuff.
The Heirloom Registry gives those interested in a thing’s story a lasting place to record, find and share that story with others — across borders, across generations. Therefore, as long as a record is in the registry, it will be accessible to anyone who correctly enters the item’s unique registration number. (Information entered into the “Private Registry” section of a record will remain inaccessible until the date you have chosen to “unseal” it.) If you created a record and have retained your login information, you can always delete the record. Other than deleting the record, the simplest way to prevent unwanted viewers is to limit access to the item’s registration number.
And of course, you can always just remove the number (sticker, brass plate, etc.) from your belonging and discard it, which virtually ensures the record will simply float off into the ethers of Cyberspace, never to be seen again.
- Why would I link my record to other records?For users who encounter an item with a sticker already attached to it, there is really no way to edit or add information to the item’s history without logging into the account of the previous owner. However, just because that record can’t be altered doesn’t mean the story ends with that sticker. When users add a new sticker to the item, they can “connect” the new sticker’s record to the older sticker’s record by clicking on the “Link Record to Other Registration Number” button on the main record page. Additionally, for multiple pieces of furniture that share a common story – such as a dining set – connecting the items means their common history will not be lost.
- What is the Private Registry section?
The Private Registry (PR) is an optional field that allows you to include information in your entry that you believe is important to the item’s history, but which you do not wish to be visible in the record at this time. Once information is entered into the PR section, you will be asked to select the time you would like the information to be revealed. You can choose any duration, ranging from five to 99 years.
Once sealed, a 'privacy mask' covers the PR field. The privacy mask displays a padlock that indicates the section is sealed and displays the date its information will be available for viewing.
- Why would I use the Private Registry section?
A registrant may not wish to immediately reveal an item’s specific location, the name of the owner, its value or other “time-sensitive” — but historically valuable — information. After one’s death, transfer of the item to a new owner or simply the passage of time, privacy may no longer be a concern, yet the information will be preserved and available.How long can I seal my private registry?
The private registry can be sealed for any period between five to 99 years. The clock starts on the date the Private Registry is sealed and cannot be changed. For example, information sealed for 25 years on April 11, 2000, would be automatically unsealed and available for viewing on or after April 11, 2025. (Of course — as always — to view the record, a user must correctly enter the item’s registration number.)I’ve purchased a registration number, but I’m not prepared to add Private Registry information. Can I hold off until I’m ready?
You can include Private Registry information at any point after purchasing a registration number and starting an entry. However, once the Private Registry is sealed, it cannot be changed.Can I (or anyone) view or change my private registry after it is sealed?
No. Unlike other information added to an entry, data in the private registry cannot be viewed or changed by you or anyone else after it is sealed. Once logged in to your account, you can delete the Private Registry section by deleting the entire entry.
- Do I have to have an account to use The Heirloom Registry?
You do not need an account if you only want to view records.
However, to protect a record’s accuracy and integrity, you must have an account to register new items or to change or add new information to an item previously registered.
- Why do I need to create an account?
The most important reason to create a free Heirloom Registry account: security. All items for which you have purchased registration numbers for will be organized in one, centralized place – and will always be available to you, no matter what happens to the items or the registration numbers (damage, loss, theft, etc.). Also, by supplying a valid email as your username, you have the option to enable users who view your record to contact you without publicly displaying your email address. Additionally, they allow for easy retrieval of forgotten passwords. Finally, having an account helps you keep up-to-date on the latest Heirloom Registry news or changes to our system.
- How much does it cost to create an account?
It’s free. There are no signup costs or annual fees.
- What personal information is required to register?
None. You can use any e-mail you choose. If you would like to be notified by The Heirloom Registry of important news or changes to our system; contacted by those viewing a record you created; or able to retrieve a forgotten password, you will need to include an active, valid e-mail address – but it is not required.
- What is a registration number?
A registration number is a unique, 18-character, alphanumeric identification number meant to be permanently affixed to an item. A registration number can be attached to heirloom property using a durable sticker, a brass plate, a permanent etching, etc. Like an automobile’s license plate, an heirloom’s registration number is designed to stay with the item, allowing anyone with access to the number to learn more about its background and story.
- How do I obtain a registration number?
Registration numbers are available for purchase through The Heirloom Registry’s Web Marketplace..
- How do I make sure the registration number remains with my heirloom?
You choose how you would like to attach your number to your belonging. Most registrants find it convenient to apply our Standard, durable sticker to an inconspicuous place on their heirloom (e.g., inside a drawer/cabinet, on its underside). You can also display the number using our Premium sticker, which is sturdier sticker, one of our engraved metal plate or some other method. It’s up to you. Some registrants, for example, have tagged their items using an electric property engraver, a wood burner or simply a permanent, water resistant marker.
- Does a registration number ever expire?
- What is the sticker used for?
A sticker displays an item’s registration number and directs users to The Heirloom Registry Web site. The number permanently ties an item to its record page on the THR Web site.
- Do I have to use the stickers or brass plates provided by The Heirloom Registry (THR)?
No. While registration numbers can be conveniently and permanently affixed to an item using an optional sticker or brass plate supplied by The Heirloom Registry, it certainly isn’t required. You can tie a registration number to an item any way you choose (property engraver, wood burner, permanent marker, etc.). It is the Web site address and registration number — not the sticker or method of attachment — that is the key to using the THR database.
- How long should a Standard THR sticker last?
Under normal, indoor conditions, a sticker that is applied to a suitable surface, kept inside, not subjected to wear and kept away from excessive moisture, temperature, humidity or direct sunlight should last as long as the item itself.
- Can I remove a sticker?
The Heirloom Registry stickers have been specifically designed and selected for their durability and strong adhesive properties. They are permanent stickers; removing them is likely to cause damage to both your heirloom and sticker. For that reason, you should only apply a sticker to an area on your heirloom where you would feel comfortable permanently showing the sticker and that won’t detract from your property’s beauty or value. If you do need to remove a sticker, do so slowly to avoid as much damage as possible. This takes patience. Likely, there will be some adhesive residue left over, which will require a solvent to remove.
- What is the difference between the “Standard,” “Smart,” and “Premium” stickers?
While Standard and Smart THR stickers should work for most applications, a Premium sticker is recommended for items that may be exposed to infrequent handling or occasionally subject to outdoor or other unfavorable conditions. Our Premium stickers are made of tough anodized aluminum, a material specifically selected for stickers that need extra durability. Graphics and text are etched permanently into the surface of the material and will not crack, chip, scrape off or peel over its useful life.
- What types of surfaces does the sticker adhere to?
Our stickers adhere best to surfaces that are dry, smooth and flat. The stickers adhere well to wood (finished or semi-finished/sanded), metals, porcelain, and glass.
- Are there any surfaces to which I shouldn’t apply a sticker?
The Standard and Smart stickers are intended for indoor-use only. While the sticker should survive temporary liquid spills and fluctuations in temperature, prolonged exposure to a moist, excessively humid or harsh climate will damage or shorten its life. The stickers do not adhere well to curved or rough surfaces. If applied to either type of surface, the label will begin to peel up. The Premium labels will adhere well to most surfaces including rough and curved. Neither will adhere their best to low surface energy (LSE) plastics. While the Standard’s adhesive does have LSE properties, we cannot guarantee they will work well all the time. Premium stickers are designed to tolerate harsher conditions, but should not be exposed long-term.
- Are there heirlooms to which I should not apply a sticker?
Use your best judgment, but you should probably think twice about applying a sticker to property that is extremely rare or valuable where doing so might diminish its value.
- What is a Smart sticker used for?
Smart stickers work the same way as our regular stickers but have the added feature of QR code technology. Quick response (QR) codes allow users with smartphones, Androids, iPads and other QR reader enabled devices to pull up an item’s record simply by taking a picture of the code. Imagine browsing an antique store and being able to quickly dig up the history of a particular item with the click of a button.
- What is the difference between a sticker and a brass plate?
Some users have indicated they would rather not apply a permanent, adhesive-based sticker to an expensive heirloom (even in an inconspicuous location) and prefer the look of one of our beautiful, custom engraved brass plates. Also, unlike a permanent sticker, a brass plate attached with screws can be more easily removed, with less visible damage to the heirloom. But other than appearance, movability and potential durability, there is no difference for purposes of registering, creating or viewing the item’s records.
- When should I use a brass plate? What are its advantages?
A brass plate may be appropriate for: (1) A user that wants the ability remove the registration number in the future without worrying about the damage a permanent, adhesive-based sticker might cause; (2) A user that would rather not apply a permanent sticker to an expensive heirloom; (3) A user that plans to display the registration instead of affixing it in a less visible location and prefers the look of a custom brass plate; (4) A user that is concerned his item may be subject to conditions that might damage an adhesive-based sticker.
- What if my THR sticker/brass plate is lost, damaged or destroyed? Can I purchase a replacement sticker?
You can log into your account to view a list of items you have registered. Unfortunately, there is no other way to retrieve an item’s record. The Heirloom Registry does not track our users’ registration numbers and does not monitor (nor can our staff access or recover) individual item records.
If you know an item’s registration number, but have lost or damaged the sticker/brass plate, we recommend you purchase and attach a new registration number to your heirloom. Next, click on the “Link to Other Registration Record” button on the new record. Once you have tied the old registration number to the new record, a permanent link will be created allowing users to easily find and view the original record and all of its separate entries.
- Where is the best place to attach my sticker/brass plate?
We recommend you attach your sticker to an area that won’t normally be seen. It’s also important that they be affixed in a place not subject to regular wear or direct light, such as its underside or back (if the back will be placed against a wall). For cabinets, dressers and desks, attaching the sticker inside a closed drawer or on the inside of cabinet are particularly effective areas as they are not normally visible, but can be found with little effort.
- Can I view the records for everything I have registered in The Heirloom Registry?
Yes. A list of all the items created under your account is available to you once you have logged in.
- Can I delete records I have created?
Yes. You can delete any record — at any time — that you created under your account. After logging in, simply go to “My Account” and click on the link to “View My Registered Items.” From there, you can visit the record of any of your items where you have the option to edit/remove information in the Public Registry section of any record or delete the record in its entirety. (Note that information entered into the “Private Registry” section of a record cannot be viewed or edited once sealed. You can, however, remove that information by deleting the record in its entirety.)
- Why should I be interested in The Heirloom Registry?
Knowing the history, or provenance, of a particular item creates in potential buyers an attachment or bond they might not otherwise experience. An antique china cabinet, for example, is just an antique china cabinet in which to store one’s dishes. An antique china cabinet that comes with a story is unique in all the world, allowing the owner to share its story with family and friends — and to know that they are now part of its story (if they choose to be).
- Are volume purchase discounts available?
Discounts are available for high-volume purchases. Please contact The Heirloom Registry for details.
- Can I purchase registration stickers that include a bar code?
Yes. Our Smart Sticker provides that option in the form of a QR code.Can I purchase Heirloom Registry stickers to provide to my customers at my store?
Yes! Please help us spread the mission of The Heirloom Registry. Every heirloom should have its story told.