Family History at a Yard Sale?
By Jan Edwards
Last summer I was driving my Mom and Dad to yard sales! They love to yard sale. We had been out for a couple of hours. They were both getting tired so we headed home. I happened to catch a quick glimpse of another sign out of the corner of my eye and said “Heck, let’s go to one more.” So we did. It was the same old typical yard sale stuff, clothes, Tupperware, Christmas and holiday stuff.
I was just getting ready to get back in the car when I noticed an old book on the table. Thinking it was a Bible without even looking, I said “Hey, how much for the old Bible?” The guy said “You know I just don’t feel right charging for that thing.” He then added, “I was helping someone clean out an old house, and they were just throwing that type of stuff in the garbage.” He said “When I saw the picture in the front of the family, I asked if I could keep the book.”
I explained to him that I was a professional genealogist and that what he had was a really big treasure! He then said “If you want it, you can just have it!” He didn’t have to tell me twice! I took my treasure to the car!
So this story is about George Funk:
Before technology, computers, the internet, even typewriters, they used to do this thing called handwriting! People actually used to take a writing utensil and paper and hand write notes, letters,books and their stories.
This is not a Bible, this is the “pre technology” database of George Funk! It’s a big thick book, a couple inches thick of lined paper. There are 292 pages. On some of the pages are faded yellow newspaper clippings that are glued in. Of course, most of them have no name or date of the newspaper.
On the inside cover of the book is a family photo of George, his wife and their eight children! It’s a beaut for sure with several more pages of newspaper clippings. Page two is what excited me. It states:
"George Irvin Funk. My paternal grandfather, Samuel Funk was born June 25th, 1812 at Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, Penna. He was married to Susannah Steffey February 14, 1837 at Mt. Pleasant, Penna." That is an interesting abbreviation for Pennsylvania.
Then it states:
"My paternal grandmother Susannah Double was born June 18th, 1815 at Hagerstown, Maryland. She was married to Samuel Funk February, 14, 1837, being at the time the widow of Samuel Steffey. No children from the first marriage!"
This book goes on and on. Page three states:
"Samuel Funk died October 15, 1894 of apoplexy at Jacksonville Illinois and was buried at Mendon, Illinois. Susannah Funk died January 3rd, 1891 of cancer of the stomach, at Mendon Illinois and is buried in thecemetery at that place."
George was a saver, On page 25 glued in is the original marriage certificate he was given. Also with that is a receipt for the furniture he and his wife bought on January 21, 1884. They spent $47.50 at W. C. Powers & Co. in Quincy, Adams, Illinois.
For $47.50 they got:
1 bed $4
1 bed $6
6 Wal. Cane chairs $7
1 Wal. Cane rocker $3.50
1 Wal. Center table $4.00
1 Wal. 6 ft. table $6.00
1 Wal. Bureau $13.00
6 Wood Chairs $ 4.00
Page 30 is the last that has any writing. After George passed away another family member continued writing. There are over 150 family members listed in this book,with dates and places. There are newspaper clippings, little notes and even a marriage invitation for 1892! On page 148 is a little dried maple leaf.
The last entry on page 30 says:
"Josephine Clute Krouse died Oct. 31 1993 at Ruch, Oregon-of Cancer."
I found this book in Grants Pass, Oregon. I would really love to find a family member that would love the book like I do. I am not really willing to just give it to someone that doesn’t understand what an amazing find it is!