Although the two words may seem dissimilar – if not contradictory – they share a common bond that I would like to explore for a moment.
Wiktionary.com defines virtual as; "In effect or essence, if not in fact or reality; imitated, simulated". Click here for a link to the full definition.
Wikipedia.org defines ephemera as; "Ephemera are transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved". Click here for link to the full article.
Genealogists and family historians are quite familiar with ephemera. Playbills, theater tickets, postcards, birthday cards, advertisements from time gone by are all considered ephemera.
They provide a sharp focus close-up of the life and times of those we research. We all use them to some degree or another and revel in the knowledge that they were not thrown away. Many genealogists and family historians go to great lengths to gather every piece of ephemera they can find. Some even go so far as to gather ephemera from totally unrelated families in the hopes that one day they might reunite that information – especially photographs – the descendents of the original owner.
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