Category Archives: Ancestral Signatures

Collecting Signatures of My Ancestors, Part 2

It took me a while to decide to get going, poking around through my digital files to see how many ancestral signatures I have in my collection. Once I began, though, I started to get into the hunt and kept going beyond those of my 3X great grandparents, which I shared last week. I found one more signature for that generation, which is in the list below.

These signatures come almost exclusively from two sources. The first are digital images of land deeds in which the county clerk recording the deed had the seller sign the book. It is evident that the seller signed because the writing is very different than the clerk’s cursive.

The second source of the autographs is from digitized wills. I was disappointed to find two or three wills in which the scribe signed for the testator and, by the 19th century, recorded wills were mostly county clerk’s copies with no original signatures.

I did find several instances where either the husband or wife was unable to write his/her name and instead signed with an X. I decided to save those examples, too, as it tells me who was illiterate.

My 3X Great Grandparents:

Daniel Adams (1810-1893)

Sarah Ann Parker (1817-1900)

Iseral (Israel) Hicks (1785-1835)

My 4X Great Grandparents:

Ira Hicks (1761-1830)

Loyalist Walter (X) Stewart (c1750-c1820)

My 5X Great Grandparents:

Robert Wilson (c1768-1846)

Rev. War Soldier Joses Bucknam (1761-1835)

Abigail (Hay) (X) Bucknam (1768-1854)

Rev. War Soldier James Scripture (1749-1810)

My 6X Great Grandparents:

Joseph Sayward (1708-1779)

Nathaniel Haskell (1718-1808)

Samuel (X) Scripture (1727-c1817)

Hannah (Burnham) Parsons, widow of Isaac (1721-after 1769)

My 7X Great Grandparents:

Ebenezer Parsons (1682-1763)

William Haskell (1690-1766)

Rev. John White (1677-1760)

Hannah (Pratt) (X) Goddard, wife of Giles (c1700- after 1751)

Samuel Tarbox (1647-1715)

My 8X Great Grandparents (note than only Daniel Green and Job Lane could sign their names. Others used marks):

Sylvester Stover (c1630-c1690)

Elizabeth (MNU) Stover, wife of Sylvester, (c1632-1722)

Thomas Burnham (c1619-1694)

Daniel Green (1681-1759)

Lydia (Green) Lynde, wife of Thomas (1685-1755)

Job Lane (1624-1697)

With the 8th generation, I am back to a few immigrant ancestors and those first born in the colonies and will end here. However, there are several of my ancestors documented back in old England for whom I have signatures.

If you haven’t ever done this type of search, I’d highly recommend it as it is interesting to learn who and how many ancestors, both male and female, were literate enough to sign their names to documents.

Collecting Signatures of My Ancestors – A Start

How many images of ancestral signatures have you come across in your research? I have a number of images, but they are a very mixed bag.

I have examples of my parents’ and all four grandparents’ signatures. However, after that, it gets quite spotty.

My father’s side of the family is Slovak, or Carpatho-Rusyn to be more exact. Nana finished fourth grade in the village, while my paternal grandfather finished the 8th grade in Passaic, New Jersey.

I sincerely doubt that any of their own parents, my great grandparents, and earlier generations ever even had the opportunity for any schooling at all and likely could not write their own names.

That immediately eliminates half of my family tree.

My mother’s side of the family is spotty for an entirely different reason. I believe that all of my ancestors back to my 2X great grandparents were literate and could write.

The issue here is that for many of them, I have no surviving letters, cards, original land deeds, etc. that would include their signatures.

Here are my ancestors’ signatures:

Paternal Family:

George Sabo (my father):

George Kucharik, aka Sabo (my grandfather)

Julia Scerbak Sabo (my grandmother):

Maternal Family:

Doris Adams Sabo (my mother):

Vernon T. Adams (my grandfather):

Hazel Coleman Adams (my grandmother):

I also have images for Vernon’s parents, Charles and Annie.

Charles Edwin Adams (my great grandfather):

Annie Stuart Adams (my great grandmother):

So far, I’ve found only two for 2X great grandparents, Charles Edwin Adams’ mother, Nellie, and Annie Stuart Adams’ mother, Elida.

Nellie Tarbox Adams (my 2X great grandmother):

Elida Hicks Stuart (my 2X great grandmother):

I am still trying to gather up signatures for earlier generations, but I did come across signatures for Daniel Adams and Sarah Ann Parker, my 3X great grandparents, as they signed their names on their 1836 marriage certificate.

Daniel Adams (my 3X great grandfather):

Sarah Ann Parker Adams (my 3X great grandmother):

If only tallying my signatures back to my 2X great grandparents, I have the sad total of only TEN! 3x great grandparents Daniel and Sarah bring my total to 12, for the five generations preceding me.

I am positive that a number of my colonial American ancestors were able to read and write and I have saved several of their signatures found in original documents.

I’m going to make an effort to crop and save those signatures and keep those images in a separate “autograph” file.

How many ancestral signatures have you been able to find?