Thursday, February 16, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 7 - Historical Documents

I have hundreds of digital images that document various aspects of my ancestors’ lives—deeds reflecting land purchased and sold, wills specifying their wishes regarding distribution of their possessions, marriage certificates, military service records and applications for pensions. Most of these were scanned from microfilms available through the Family History Library or downloaded from digital content providers such as Ancestry; some were digitized from paper copies made at courthouses or received by mail from governmental agencies. I am grateful for all of these documents as they have helped me to know my ancestors as real people who lived in a real place and time.

But perhaps the document I am most happy to have is an original letter written by my grandfather, Jasper Jackson Spurlock, to his sister, Sarah Elizabeth (Spurlock) Conville, in October 1929. A transcription of the letter and digital images of the letter and its envelope  can be found here.

I acquired this letter from Bettye Lou (Conville) Gleason (daughter of Sarah and my first cousin once removed) in 1999. It was given to me on the occasion of my first visit to newly-found cousins in Louisiana, and I was delighted that Bettye Lou had this letter and gave it to me along with a few other artifacts.

The letter does not reveal any particularly significant family information. But, for me, it represents a link to a grandfather I never knew.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research


  1. I think those documents that we know our ancestors touched - actually put pen to paper - are the most precious for many of us. It's great to find a record in a court book, but the best is to hold in our hands the very paper that our ancestors held in their hands.

    1. Nancy, I so agree with you on that. Unfortunately in my family there aren't many of those things. One of the things that I most like to see are my ancestors' signatures.