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A Genealogist In The Archives: Thumbing Through Your Ancestor's Books

Monday, February 12, 2018

Thumbing Through Your Ancestor's Books

Today in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives we received a donation of various books from a local resident. She had been cleaning out her attic and found them and brought them to the archives to be donated.

This collection of books includes mostly music books but there was also a couple of other books of interest. One of those books was actually a composition notebook where one of her family members copied stories from a history book when he was in school. Not tremendously historical but it was in someone's own handwriting and was dated 1928.

Donated Composition Book, Houston County, TN. Archives

One action that I always take when I receive any kind of book in the archives is to thumb through it's pages. "Why?" you ask. The reason is because it's amazing what people will put inside of books for a place holder, bookmark or to stash for safe keeping.

In this donated composition book was a small card that has the name John L. Emery and the address Summers St, Cohasset, Mass.

Card Found in Composition Book, Houston County, TN. Archives

What a find! This card will be documented and processed with the book as it was found.

Have you received or inherited a collection of books from your ancestors? Make sure you take the time to thumb through each book to see if there are any scraps of paper, ephemera or other items that have been tucked into those books. What you find just might have information that could help you with your genealogy research.




My Legacy Family Tree QuickGuide:

"Scrapbooks: A Genealogist's Gold Mine"


  1. You wouldn't believe the books, scrapbooks, etc. I have from my ancestors - they saved everything! My grandfather was in commercial real estate and he saved every newspaper clipping about every deal they did. I think I have about 10-12 scrapbooks with a ton of historical things in it. At some point I'm going to donate them.

    1. Debi, you are so fortunate! I don't have any scrapbooks! You have a true genealogy treasure trove. Thank You for reading my blog!