Monday, 6 June 2016

Rescued From The Trash

After my Great Aunt Kate (Baker) Ryan died in 1987, my father discovered many of Auntie Kate's papers and other documents including a couple of family bibles in the trashcan. Luckily, genealogy had become a passion of mine and we had talked frequently about the need to keep and preserve family documents.

 So, Dad took them out of the trash and sent them to me.

1915 Affidavit
©Cheri Hudson Passey

Among the paperwork rescued that day was a 22 May 1915 notarized affidavit filed in Santa Cruz County, California by a Mrs. Lydia A. Knight. She was testifying to the validity of a photocopied page from her husband Physician Benjamin Knight's "Visit List". She stated that it was written in his own hand and that it recorded
 " ...the name of his patient, the date of his consultation with or service for them, and, in the event that he attended a woman at child birth, the name of her husband was set forth in said book and the date of the birth of the child was designated by a "B" if it was a boy, and by the letter "G" if it was a girl."
 The page in question was from the week of 6 August 1893.

Week of 6 August 1893 Visit List
Dr. Benjamin Knight
Santa Cruz, California
©Cheri Hudson Passey

James "Jimmy"Patrick Ryan (1893-1950), was the husband of Auntie Kate. He was born, according to family records, 6 August 1893 in Santa Cruz County, California. His birth is recorded on the photocopied Visit List with his father's name-P.F. Ryan, the "B" in the Wednesday the 9th column and marks on Thursday the 10th and Saturday the 12th said to have been an indication of a home visit.
The total cost of the medical care received was $20, the usual cost testified by the Doctor's wife for childbirth care.
According to the affidavit, the B on the 9th indicates the actual birth date of Jimmy Ryan.
 Jimmy would have been 21 in 1915 when this document was signed. Was his service in the military the reason he needed proof of his birth date?
 And what of the other names on the list? This may be the only document that puts them in Santa Cruz County, California during the week of 6 August 1893.
The names are faint and hard to read:
R.J. Maxwell
Charles Baxter
M.W. Mellott
A. Batts
S.W. Alexander
Frank Bernardi
Albert [?]
J.A. [?]
G. Anthony
H.F. Kr[?]
S[?] Weeks
P.F. Ryan
Miss Maggie Morini
G[?] Bunting
Artemis Buckham
Joseph Willow
F.C. Harris

Pictures, documents, family bibles and other records sadly can end up in the trashcan after a death.
Kate (Baker) Ryan was the Baker family genealogist. How grateful she would have been that her nephew, my father, rescued some of the treasures she had collected.

Two important lessons can be learned from that day in 1987. Have a plan for your family documents when you are no longer living and educate others on the importance of preserving their family history.

Rescued from the trash. Thanks, Dad.




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