My Top Ten Most Valuable Research Documents

Every so often, Top 10 lists come up on blog posts. It’s always fun to read them because I see them as a way to discover new resources or discovery paths that might help me in my own family research. There have been a couple of reincarnations of Top 10 books and Top 10 websites that help most in our own personal research. There are a couple of Top 10 topics that I haven’t seen, at least not in the couple of years that I’ve been following blogs, that I would enjoy so I am going to start off with them myself.

Today’s Top 10 features the most valuable research documents or records which I have in my collection. They certainly aren’t valuable in terms of dollars and not all of them are unique, one-of-a-kind, but each one helped a branch of my  or Dave’s family tree to blossom and grow in some way. I also imposed a time period on myself to restrict these documents to the time of my grandparents’ marriages or earlier, so well before my parents’ or my own lifetimes.

Here they are, in no particular order, since it is difficult enough to choose:

1. Original 1893 baptismal certificate of grandfather George Sabo, which gave the Slovakia home village of his family:

GeorgeSaboBaptCertPenn

2. Original 1893 baptismal certificate of grandmother Helena (aka Julia) Scerbak, for sentimental reasons as this is my Nana. Hers is a photocopy of my original as it is in more fragile condition and shouldn’t be handled much:

HelenaScerbakBapt1893

3. Original land deed that contains the signatures of not only my great grandparents, Charles and Annie (Stuart) Adams, but Annie’s sister, Melissa Findley, and my 2x great grandmother, Elida (Hicks) Stuart.

ElidaSignature

4. A second treasure is not “original” in terms of handwritten, but it is a story that would otherwise be lost to time. Elida Hicks Stuart’s granddaughter, Bertha Stuart Eldridge, wrote a short biographical sketch of Elida many years ago. She shared a copy of it with me:

ElidaBio1 ElidaBio2 ElidaBio3

5. Lastly, I can’t omit the 1810 birth file for my Johannes Jensen at Den Kongelige Fodselsstiftelse, the Unwed Mother’s Hospital, in Copenhagen. From this record I gleaned the information of his mother’s name and, from there, followed the crumbs to identify his father:

JohannesBirthMotherRecordPage1 JohannesBirthMotherRecordPage2 JohannesBirthMotherRecordPage3

6. On the Stufflebean side of the family, we have the original marriage certificate of grandparents Earl Marcus Stufflebean and Pearl Lillian Brasher.

7. Copy of the Revolutionary War pension file of Johannes Stoppelbein who became John Stufflebean, Dave’s 5x great grandfather. While family information isn’t included, his file does tell the story of his capture by the British and explains how a New Yorker ended up in Bourbon County, Kentucky by 1793. The file is 80 pages long, so I am only including page 1 here:

Page 1

8. Civil War widow’s pension file of Matilda Peavler Stufflebean, detailing the death of husband John and giving the exact names and birth dates of their children. This is a 40+ page file:

JohnStufflebeanCivilWarPensionFilePage 23

JohnStufflebeanCivilWarPensionFilePage 37

9. Copy of the divorce papers of Isaac Sturgell and Susan Douthit Alberty, his second wife, dated 1875. I don’t think this file had seen the light of day since the clerk put it in the drawer almost a century and a half ago. This is my favorite note found in the file:

Susan Alberty Divorce

June the 12 the 1875
dear sur i inform you
that i reseived the (sei?) gray
horse that i was to hav in the compremise with me an
isac sturgell i reseived him
the next week Susan Sturgell
to the clerk of burrey co mo (Barry Co., MO)
the (clemit. . ?) is setled be
twin me and him

10. The Brasher family hasn’t been an easy one to untangle. Joseph Addison Brasher made it significantly easier by publishing this sketch of his life in Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas, F.A. Battey & Company, Chicago, 1889. It filled in the generation born just before 1850, named both wives, all the children and gave Joe’s father’s date of death while in the Confederate Army:

SouvenirOfTXJosBrasherCrop

There it is, my Top Ten personal most valuable family history documents. What’s in your Top Ten?

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