You will no doubt be surprised to read that I consider this tattered, crumbling paper my most precious historical document. It is a church marriage certificate for my paternal great-grandparents, William Doyle and Tressa Rose Froman. They were married in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, on March 17, 1885.
This document is interesting because my great-grandmother's name is written as "Rose Froman." The name by which family generally knew her was Tressa or Tressa Rose. She was listed as Rose in one census record but when I asked my father's half-sister, Tressa, she said she never went by Rose, always by Tressa. So now we know that at one time my great-grandmother called herself Rose.
The certificate was given to me by my mother. I don't know who first rolled it but it has been rolled up, wrapped in tissue paper, and stored in a heavy cardboard tube where it doesn't get bumped or flattened. It was crumbling before she gave it to me and crumbled even more when she opened it to show me what it was. It is about 14" wide and maybe 20" long (guessing by the number of layers in the roll and the distance around one layer).
Small photographs of William and Tressa, nestled behind oval openings, once graced the document. They were removed before it was rolled. At right you can just barely see the shadow of an oval on Tressa's photograph. In the top photograph you can see where the ovals were cut out of the certificate.
Either my mother or my Aunt Tressa had the original photographs and loaned them to me to make copies. Unfortunately it was in the days before digital cameras or scanners. I made color photocopies. If Mom had the photos, they are probably with my brother or sister. If Aunt Tressa had the photos, they are probably with one of her daughters.
I would like to save this document but I don't know where or how to begin. I would like to see all the pieces of crumbling paper plus the photographs put back together, protected and safe. I believe I would make a copy and hang it in my home. If any readers know of archival restoration experts in Central Ohio, please leave a comment.
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This post was written to participate in Amy Coffin's 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy which is hosted on Geneabloggers. The theme will change weekly and may be posted any day of the week. I invite you to join in if you'd like.
This week's theme was Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?