Lisa Alzo, the Accidental Genealogist, suggested a Digital Show and Tell. She is featuring a photo of her grandmother's trunk on her blog, which was brought to the U.S. from Slovakia when she immigrated in 1922.
What a fantastic idea, Lisa! I've decided to feature my most precious (and oldest) genealogical treasure, the cross stitch sampler created by my 4th-great-grandmother, Mary "Polly" (WYCKOFF) CROTHERS CHAPPEL (c. 1805 - aft. 1880):
As a cross stitcher myself, looking at the difficulty of the stitches, I figure Polly probably made this when she was no younger than 10; and since her maiden name is stitched on it, it had to be made before her marriage c. 1824 - 5 (her eldest known child was born 11 Dec 1825). Therefore, it was probably made c. 1815 - 1825, making it around 182 - 192 years old!
Because this sampler was made by an ancestor from the biological line of my paternal grandmother (an adoptee), this item is especially precious to me. I researched my grandmother's biological line for several years before finding living relatives for her to reunite with in 1997. The previous owner of the sampler, related by marriage only, corresponded with me for a while and was able to provide many details on the family history. Out of the kindness of her heart, she gave this sampler to me, mailed in a cardboard(!) envelope. The day it arrived in the mail, it was pouring down rain all day. The tape holding the envelope shut had come unsealed, and it was a miracle the sampler hadn't fallen out during delivery!
Now it is safely wrapped in an undyed cotton sheet until I can find a local textile expert to advise me on how to best preserve it (and possibly clean and display it) for future generations.