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Thrift store returns 146-year-old marriage certificate to great-granddaughter

Thrift store returns 146-year-old marriage certificate to great-granddaughter
The Hope Chest Thrift Store in Bolivia was able to locate the great-granddaughter of the couple from a 1875 marriage certificate found hidden in the frame of a recently donated antique print. Photo by Hope Harbor Home/Facebook

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A North Carolina thrift store at which a 146-year-old marriage certificate was found hidden inside a picture frame said the couple's great-granddaughter now has been located.

Pam Phelps, an employee at the Hope Chest Thrift Store in Bolivia, said she was cleaning an antique 1889 print of a painting depicting a small girl and a dog when she found something hidden in the back of the frame.

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The hidden paper, an 1865 New Jersey marriage certificate for a man named William and a woman named Katey, sparked a search for any living family members of the couple.

Irene Cornish said people who saw a WWAY-TV news broadcast about the discovery messaged her on Ancestry.com, suspecting the couple could be her great-grandparents, William and Katherine DeWorth.

"I haven't been on Ancestry in quite a few months," Cornish told WWAY-TV. "I actually went on to research a family member on the other side. And I happened to notice I had these messages."

Cornish said she doesn't know exactly how the marriage certificate ended up at a North Carolina thrift store, but she does know many family items were donated to second-hand stores.

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"Sadly, the Old Homestead, the person that inherited that in the family, basically sold everything that was in it to a local thrift shop," Cornish said, "and ultimately lost the home."

Cornish said she plans to frame the wedding certificate and have it displayed, possibly in a museum.

"My mother passed away five years ago," Cornish said. "I don't have any ... immediate family in the area where I live. I feel a little isolated at times. So, it just felt comforting that, oh, these people are reaching out somehow. I am connected."

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