Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Have you ever gone through your parents old things? Did you care about what you saw? Well, growing up it was like a treasure chest to me. Mom had hair clippings of her sisters, old watches, a dirty old ring with string wrapped around it, trinkets, and a lot of blankets and table cloths.

The other day I was looking for Mom's birth certificate and in the process I looked at everything again. Then I looked at the ring closer and tried it on. With the string around it - it fit me fine. After finding my great grandparents graves in Scotland and working on I find old things a lot more interesting.  I remember seeing it all my life but never questioned any of it. I asked Mom about it and she said she had no idea where it came from but that see remembers it always being in her father's, Samuel, things.

I began the process of taking off the string one wrap at a time. It was put on with meticulous accurate. Each wrap was exactly next to the last. Not one wrap overlapped the one before. Then a knot came and the string continued. After getting all the string off I realized how big the ring was and that a man must have worn it before the string. Well Mom said Samuel never wore it so who did. I could see that under the tarnish was some lettering. Wow did my mind race. Was there in inscription as to who the mystery might be about.

 I worked for several days on the tarnish I knew it was not gold but what was it? Since it was my grandfathers and all his family was still in Scotland, did it come from his family. I surmised that it was my great grandfathers, John, and when he died my great grandmother Anna, must have worn it. But, how did my grandfather get it?  My grandfather came to the USA in 1921 the year after his father died in 1920. So, I don't think he brought it with him because the string was wrapped around it for a woman to wear.

It was so hard to read but as the tarnish came off I kept seeing the word PENNY. No one in our family had that name. I tried to make the Y an A and said Ann... NOT! After the tarnish came off better I could see a candle holder next to the PENNY. WHAT?  On the other side of the ring I could read 1897. Then finally came the letters N E what is that? Holding it back and in the light I finally saw the ONE. I got on line and put in google 1897 PENNY and low and behold this is what I found.

And here is the ring:

It must have been John's and Annie wore it after he died. When Samuel went home for a visit he must have gotten it at that time and it stayed as a memory in his other stuff.


  1. Thought I'd leave a comment just so you know I've visited your blog since you fixed the link. Great sleuthing!