National Handwriting Day & Signatures

Today is National Handwriting Day, which was established in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (who knew there was such an association!).[1] It was to be held on January 23rd which is John Hancock’s birthday, in honor of his famous signature on the Declaration of Independence. Rather than comment on our current digital world and its replacement of handwriting and penmanship, I’ll look at one of my favorite finds in genealogical documents … signatures.

I usually do the happy dance when I am able to find a document or record of ancestor, but I am especially happy when it includes a signature. I find signatures to be such a personal part of what can be sterile or factual document. I can see a piece of this person on the page. I often picture him or her signing the document and wonder what was going through their minds at the time, especially since these can be on a will, naturalization or draft record. Below are some of the tangible marks left by my family.

 

Charles Cubbage
My great-grandfather, Charles A. Cubbage’s signature on his will.[2]

 

Charles Swank
My 2nd great-grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk’s Civil War Pension Record (note the variant spelling of his name).[3]

 

Christ Linneman
My 2nd great-uncle, Christian Linneman’s World War I Draft Card.[4]

 

Anna Babai
My husband’s great-grandmother, Anna Babai’s Petition for Naturalization (note the variant spelling of her name).[5]

 

Sarah CUbbage
My 4th great-grandmother, Sarah Cubbage’s mark left on her will.[6]

SOURCES:

[1] Jennie Cohen, “A Brief History of Penmanship on National Handwriting Day,” History.com (http://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-penmanship-on-national-handwriting-day/ : accessed 10 January 2018), A+E Networks, 2012.

[2] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, estate file 346, Charles A. Cubbage (1939), Register of Wills, Orphan’s Court, Greensburg.

[3] Declaration for Increase of Invalid Pension, 15 September 1890, Charles G. Schwenk/Swank (Pvt. Co. A and 1st Sgt. Co. C, 82nd Pennsylvania Inf., Civil War), pension application no. 694362, certificate no. 454879, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications … 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[4] “United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, Ancestry.com (https://ancestry.com : accessed 10 January 2018), card for Christ Linneman, serial no. 2883, no. 163, Local Draft Board No. 8, Monessen, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; imaged from Family History Library roll 1927074.

[5] Anna Babay petition for naturalization (1940), naturalization file no. 26784, Middle District of Pennsylvania; Records of the District Courts of the United States; Record Group 21; National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region, Philadelphia.

[6] “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994,” digital images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org : 4 January 2018), Allegheny County, Wills 1808-1830, vol. 2, page 289, no. 221, Sarah Cubbage (1822).

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.