- often packed with genealogical info concerning the family of sampler makers
My feelings on this question have evolved over time. I
initially considered the sampler as more of a novelty item
that was interesting because it was something actually created by
someone in the past - whether they be an ancestor of my own or someone
elses ancestor. But I didnt necesarily feel that it was
something of any real siginficant genealogcial value.
With time I have come to realize just how many family samplers are out
there that do contain family geneaogical data (now over 1,500 samplers
of which I have colllected digital images for
One of my initial questions that I pondered was whether the families or
persons that these genealogical samplers represented would already be
recorded in FamilySearch FamilyTree. In my experience so far the vast
majority of American samplers do indeed have corresponding families
already represented in FamilyTree. This gives some sort of
vague idea as to the massive amount of people that are indeed
already represented in FamilySearch Family Tree.
However, with that being said - in a significant portion of samplers I
did find that there was either missing information, or entire missing
members of the corresponding family in FamilyTree. Of
specific focus is the fact that these samplers were made in a time and
place when infant nortality was very high (as compared to today's
standards). Just about any married couple with a large
family would end up burying one or more of their children.
The cases of couples burying more than three young children
is really much more common than one would think. The truth of the
matter is people who lived in earlier centuries were much much more
exposed to death, mortality and suffering. Many people today view
the mourning samplers as quite gloomy, dark, and despondent with an inordiante focus on death and
dying and the stark reality of mortality. But when one
realizes just how common death was in this era - one realizes that even for a young
girl in her pre teens - such tender children were so often already very
much familiar with death and dying and many just accceptd it
as part of living.
So to come back to my queston as to the
genealogial value of these samplers - I have found that it is not
uncommon at all to see that these samplers have often recorded births
and deaths that may not be recorded elsewhere - often for the reason
that many of such "forgotten souls" were the victims of infant
mortality. This as well as mother's dying in childbirth or
due to complications was also very common.
So in summary - many of the thousands of samplers that exist -
have reference to names and dates and other items of genealogical value
that may not be easily found elsewhere. In a very uniqiue way these
samplers made by girls of a very tender age - are now what may be
re-uniting a complete family - as they exist in genealgical records and
databases - bringing back into memory and record those young infants
that may have been forgotten on family records.