Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Share a Common Document That Provided New Information

Saturday night has rolled around once again and it’s time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

Here is this week’s challenge:

1)  Have you found a common document or record (e.g., vital record, military record, probate record, etc.) that provided new and/or unique information to one or more of your ancestors?  Please share your find.

There are two documents that I have that broke through long time brick walls. One of the documents I actually had in my possession, passed down in the family, but which I couldn’t read.

The first document, which I had, is the original baptismal certificate for my paternal grandfather. Nana had no idea about the home villages in Slovakia from where her in-laws had emigrated. My grandfather died when my dad was only ten years old and Nana didn’t care for her in-laws and didn’t keep in contact with them.

However, in the 1990s, I got the bright idea to photocopy the certificate and show it to the Eastern European desk at the (now) FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake. The lady who helped me know immediately that they were from (Felso) Sebes, not too far from Presov, printed out a list of the Greek Catholic church records and less than 30 minutes later, the brick wall had been smashed to pieces.

The second really common document, a land deed, broke through a brick wall on the maternal side of the family. No one had any idea about the parents of Mary Elizabeth Astle, born 1809 in New Brunswick, Canada. I suspected, by process of elimination, that Daniel Astle, son of Loyalist James Astle, was her father. However, a local author noted Daniel’s death and stated that he died unmarried.

However, I searched for all Astle, Ripplee and Coleman deeds in Northumberland County in New Brunswick. Daniel’s probate notice was published on 20 November 1817. In Volume 44:588-590 of the land deeds, dated 1853 – 36 years after Daniel died – his heirs sold off his land! Included in the list of heirs was Thomas Coleman, husband of Mary Elizabeth Astle, daughter of the deceased, both of Calais, Maine! There was my proof!

That lesson taught me to cast my net far and wide when looking for records.

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s SNGF challenge.


One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Share a Common Document That Provided New Information”

  1. Wow, you had two excellent examples! Imagine having the original document and not knowing what it said!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.