18 October 2012

Finances

After a quick trip to my parents house, and nearly a week of being ill, I *think* I'm back and ready to go on my research, this blog, and getting that infernal "to-do" list under control.

It's not often that I come home from a visit with my father empty handed, and this time was no exception. Although the envelope was small in comparison to trips of the past, the content was quite fascinating. My great grandmother, Emma A. (Anderson) Brown (1886-1967), resided in the Orting, Washington area long after the death of her husband, William W. Brown.

Personal archives of author. 
Tucked away neatly in my great-uncle's house was a record of her financial life. An account ledger book held with the Orting State Bank. The ledger begins on 8 Feb 1947 with a deposit of $40.00, and runs until about three years before her death. Although the amounts she deposits are fairly small, she was able to build up a decent enough sum, until the last entry, with a full withdrawal, and I assume, the account was closed.

It gives a different perspective to her life. I really do not know all that much about her "golden years", and this may be a push in the right direction. When she essentially stops making deposits, and starts taking money out... is that when she stopped working? Was this her nest egg? If so, it didn't last until her death, so did she have other accounts, or did she have to turn to other means to survive?

For the second item that caught my attention, I'll have to do a little legal research. I'm sure that the "Legal Genealogist" can help me with this one, and that's exactly where I am going to start. The item in question is a receipt for $5.00, received from Mrs. Emma A. & W.W. Brown of Orting, Wash., by the State of Washington for a "Poll Tax". It's dated 17 May 1921. It does indicate which law is being followed by issuing this tax, so this little mystery shouldn't take too long to unravel.

Both items together give me another *new* slant at my genealogical research; their financial lives. I may never get another item similiar to these, but it certainly is enough to raise a few questions.

Personal archives of author. 
So, I'm curious. Have you ever researched your families' financial past? Assuming of course that you are not all trust fund types that have a long line of wealth that is easily traceable... has a financial document led you to something in your family history?