Last week I sifted through the two small drawers of paperwork belonging to my great-grandmother. They contained basic household mail items such as bank statements, bills, and tax statements. Almost everything was in their original envelops. The bank statements were from the two years prior to her death: 1995-1997. Inside the envelops containing the bank statements were also her cancelled checks. Among the cancelled checks I found this one:
It was addressed to me. My great-grandmother had sent me this check in 1995 when I was in my 2nd year of college in Burlington, Vermont. It was very nice of her to remember me.
This check is significant not only because it had been addressed to me, but also because it contains valuable genealogical information.
- It contains my great-grandmother's address
- It has my great-grandmother's Signature on it
- It has my name on it
- It has my signature on the back of the check along with the name of the bank I used in Burlington, VT (and the date it was cashed by me)
- It also has the name of the bank my great-grandmother used
I think the signatures are the big things that interest most genealogists. How many of your ancestors' signatures do you have?
The rest of the genealogically relevant information gleaned from this cancelled check ties in to the lives of both myself and my great-grandmother. It goes beyond just the genealogical facts that we are first interested in. It helps to build a picture of what life was like for those involved.
So my tip of the day is, don't throw away things just because they don't tell you when someone was born, died, or married. Some day, this document might be the one piece of evidence you need to prove something!