Monday, January 12, 2015


If you like vintage you might, like me, like history. If you like history you may also love genealogy.

Some of you may have experienced pregnancy obsession. With one of my pregnancies I was OBSESSED with genealogy. I just HAD to map my family history before this baby arrived! It was a primal need to find out this baby's family history as wide and as far back as possible. Pregnancy can cause you to become fixated on something, and for about six months I was genealogy crazy.

Genealogy reminds me of the sourcing we do for eBay. We scour through hundreds of items looking for that gem. We pass by all that filler, all the things we've seen a thousand times. We're looking for that golden nugget. This is the story of my personal favorite genealogy find.

An Inventory of the Estate of Benjamin Goodman, Deceased 1782

One of my 7x great grandfather, Benjamin Louis Goodman died during the Hayes' Station Massacre during the Revolutionary War. He was born here in Virginia, but settled in South Carolina with his wife Moriah, and their 10 children. This inventory of his estate was taken by her in her hand, in March 1782, five months after his death.

I count myself blessed to have a copy of this very interesting family history. Not only is it a very thorough inventory of the family's personal belongings, but it is also in my 7x great grandmother's handwriting, at a time when many women could not write. 

I almost didn't obtain this piece of history. I almost didn't look in the right places, make the extra effort, or ask the right questions, and this very cool part of my family history (and many other's as this man had ten children) could have been buried in a courthouse forever more. But luckily my pregnancy hormones would leave no stone un-turned. 

I can't remember why I decided to call a particular courthouse in South Carolina, but I called to try and find a copy of Mr. Goodman's will. I had a file number for him, so that was a start. I could tell the lady on the phone was not enthused about going into the deep catacombs of an old southern courthouse, but she promised to and call me back in an hour or two. When she did she told me she was sorry there was no will. Bummer. She started to hang up, but I quickly asked what the papers were "oh just some legal things" I asked her to send me copies anyway.
I had to send them a check first. This was so old school, but would you believe it was 2013?
A week after my check cleared I got a big thick envelope in the mail. It contained many more papers than I imagined. Including this wonderful inventory. 

Can you imagine what a Revolutionary era kitchen looked like? Smelled like?
43. two small copper skillets
44. one spice morter & pestle
45. one frying pan
46. one coffee mill

Reading over this inventory was like a trip back in time. It also taught me the important lesson of making the extra effort. If I hadn't called that courthouse I would have never known that such a gem lay hidden. Same goes for eBay. Sometimes we might be nervous of trying something new, like going to an auction or an estate sale. Sometimes we may not dig or ask questions at a yard sale. So go ahead, make that extra effort and you might uncover something really cool. 

Below are the full inventories and some VA Beach genealogy links. 

What is your favorite all time find, even if you kept it for yourself? Do you have any cool family history stories?

Virginia Beach Genealogy Links:


  1. I have a census page of my Dad's parents in 1910 when my Dad was just 1 year old. Since he was the "baby" of the family all of his brothers and sisters were there also. Handwritten in beautiful script and all of the neighbors are there also. The house I grew up in is the same house my dad lived in for over 70 years where that census was taken. I also have a deed for the cemetery plot where my grandparents are buried. Kinda neat because it prohibits the transfer of the deed to anyone not in the family. Again written in beautiful script.

    1. It's so neat to have the histories. I try to scan what I find and put it online for other researchers.

  2. What an amazing piece of history! You are so lucky! I was born in Poland an so much of it was destroyed during WWII that we only have records for my grandparents, and nothing older as it was destroyed in the war. :(

    1. I really feel blessed to have found it. And also that it's in makes it nearly impossible of you can't speak the language the records are in.

      It's so sad to think about all the records which have been destroyed.