Yesterday I published a story about my great-grandmother, Catharine. As I said in the story, I never knew her. She had died 9 years before I was born. But over the past several weeks as I compiled the information I had collected over a period of nearly twenty years, including interviews with now long dead relatives who knew her, I began to feel that connection, I started to really get to know this woman. One of the documents I found in the family archive was her certificate of First Holy Communion. It’s dated August 1, 1886. The document was in really bad shape and had a large piece missing from it. But I was able to piece it all back together and then scanned it at very high resolution for my digital archive. Below is the scan of that document.

The reason I am posting about it is because yesterday I held it in my hands and looked at the incredible artwork on the paper, the penmanship and such. While I did so, a thought popped into my head and I said to myself, “She held this certificate in her hands 128 years ago and I am holding it now.” That sparked an emotional response, I felt suddenly connected to Catharine in a very unique way. I felt such pride being able to restore and preserve this part of my family history. Like I said, I never knew her — but now I can say I do.

Today I went to visit my mother, who is in a nursing home after suffering a stroke in 2012. She remembers her grandmother very well and we talked about the story I posted on Exposure yesterday and she was very proud of me, happy that I was telling everyone about her grandmother. My mother said to me this morning “she was a very remarkable woman, she was just a wonderful person.” I have come to learn that about Catharine through the notes I have taken and people I have spoken to who knew her, including my Mom.


Certificate of First Holy Communion, Aug 1, 1886
Certificate of First Holy Communion, Aug 1, 1886

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