21 August 2010

Miracles do happen: Family history found

Miracles do happen.

Here's the story of a family history discovered in the backseat of a junkyard car.

Now, if someone out there could only find the 300-year-old TALALAY family history that was lost in the 1950s when the man - who brought it to the US from Belarus - died. It disappeared during the clearing out of his Florida apartment.

The Progress-Index.com (Petersburg, Virginia) story was a feel-good, warm-fuzzies recounting of a prayer answered.

The two-century history turned up after owner John Jarratt loaned the book to someone who worked for the city about 2 1/2 years ago. He didn't remember who or what happened to it since then. But this summer it came home. The photo (left above) shows details of one page.

His grandfather, also named John, organized the book, which includes documents related to the family history in Petersburg, including tax receipts, deeds and more from the early 1800s. In 1815, Jarratt paid $2.18 in tax on a piece of land.

The family traces its roots to three brothers - Alexander, Richard and John - who lived and worked on Pocahontas Island as free blacks.
"I'm the fourth John," Jarratt said with a laugh. He went on to say that his ancestors were doing well for the time period. "They were free, they owned a business, and they owned a house." The house they built is the only two-story and only brick structure on Pocahontas Island and it stands there still to this day.

Anna Jarratt said the house was even used as part of the Underground Railroad.

John Jarratt said that the records in the book even indicate that at times, the Jarratts owned slaves themselves.
In July, he was returning from North Carolina and told his sister-in-law he had been praying about the book. By the end of the next week he received a phone call from a Richmond woman who said that she had found something important in a junkyard in Charlottesville. She said he might want to have it back, and he was reunited with the book soon after.

The woman who found it said she knew it was special.

"The first time I saw it in the car, I just thought it was a photo album," Sumner said. But something drew her back to looking at the book. When she took a look inside she realized it was much more important. "I looked inside and realized it was pretty special."
She found the Jarratts and contacted them.

Read the complete story, see the photograph and the video at the link above.

Great story! Have you experienced anything like this? We all need encouragement that our lost histories may be returned in one way or another.

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