Breadcrumbs are the trail of records and fragments of information that a person leaves behind in the course of a lifetime. For the family searcher these might include a variety of resources not usually considered and not easily available except by chance.
At the History Center we have whole crates and filing cabinets full of breadcrumbs in the form of
Musty Old Books,
even as far back as the 1830s. These include store ledgers, organization membership and dues ledgers, justice of the peace records, school souvenir booklets with student listings, school attendance records, school board minutes, church ledgers, scrapbooks and more.
Diaries are another source of breadcrumbs giving a rare and unique glimpse into your ancestor's life. I have had the experience of reading a diary from the neighborhood of my ancestors and having my own great grandfather stop in for a visit. We've also seen an unknown death date for a person confirmed by his family buying a coffin at the local store in the winter of 1842. These are entirely hit and miss opportunities, but they reveal another layer of understanding the lives of our ancestors and the communities they lived in.
You might find an unexpected encounter on this trail. Some of these finds are included on our website via the buttons below. Many more are available at our location in Mansfield. These old ledgers are like story books with rare and unknown treasures.