Family or Historical Society…..Deciding the fate of a treasured family document

On August 21st 1910 my Great Grandparents were united in marriage and were given a wedding certificate book that has been handed down to me to preserve. This is the most important family document that I possess and I feel a great amount of responsibility to making sure it survives another 100 years. I was given this certificate book by the daughter of a Great Aunt who felt I was the right person to have this and would take care of it in the proper way. I have spent the last few years trying to figure out what I should do with this valuable piece of family history. This certificate booklet is in very good shape for being 115 years old and I feel to pass it onto one of my children is a tremendous burden for them as at this time in there lives family history is not there focus. I want this to be preserved as I have done by not handling but a few times a year one of which is the anniversary of my Grandparents wedding and for special occasions like a family reunion or if a family member would like to see it in person. There is no value in this document but I feel with it being as old as it is I would need to be certain that the person I would Ralph & Sadie Wedding Certificate

esadie and ralph wedding certificate 012

empower to carry this down through the family would have to have the same desire for family history and the feeling of it’s historical signifigance that I do. At this time I have found one other family member I would be comfortable in passing down to but this cousin does not carry the Sheaffer name as she is a female and her maiden name was never Sheaffer.  I feel she has the same passion of preserving our family heritage as I do but I just don’t feel she is the right person for this at this time. I have 4 children,  my daughter in college is the oldest (and only girl) and doesn’t seem ready at this time to take on a responsibility this big yet. My 3 sons 2 of which are in high school and 1 in middle school are not likely choices anytime soon either.  I feel I can keep on preserving this as the way I have been doing already but I am ready to take the next logical step and that is to donate it to the local Historical Society.

Backside of Wedding Certificate

Backside of Wedding Certificate

sadie and ralph wedding certificate 009

I would desperately like to pass this on to my children but feel they will not have the passion for family history and neither the dedicated preservation area in the own households and the lack of preservation knowledge needed to assure it’s survival.  I fear it being tossed in a box somewhere and forgotten over time and thrown out as a a box of junk. I will decide in the next year or two whether I will donate this to a historical society but as of now I really feel that is the best option for it’s survival.

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