- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

SHELBY, N.C. (AP) - Eddie Ramsaur never expected to find a centuries-old piece of family history sitting among a stack of papers in his home.

As his wife, Betty, looked through papers to be shredded, she found a small, brown leather journal tucked away in an envelope labeled, “valuable papers.”

“We opened it up. We had no idea what was in there, and it was a complete shock,” Ramsaur said.

The pages of the book are filled with lists, diagrams and other writings, most difficult to make out due to being written in the script of a past century. Names of various family members from the past can be found within the pages, like David Ramsaur, and one diagram inside includes measurements reading ‘3-foot long’ and ‘5-foot wide.’

Several of the entries inside are labeled by date, with some going as far back as 1752.

The book had been passed through Ramsaur’s family for hundreds of years, and has been in Ramsaur’s possession since his oldest brother passed away around 10 years ago, although he did not realize it until recently. The book sat in the Ramsaur’s Shelby home over those 10 years before he and his wife opened it in October.

Ramsaur’s daughter, Gwen Smart, was particularly interested in the book, as she has been delving into her family’s history since before the birth of her own daughter Carrah Elise Smart.

The name Carrah came from Gwen’s mother’s side of the family. Gwen wanted a Ramsaur family name to serve as Carrah’s middle name, choosing Elise after finding the name had been in the family for many years.

“That started my research,” Gwen said. “Then I got fascinated with it.”

Gwen’s exploration began before records could be easily found online, so she would go to the library and search through records on file. When sites like ancestry.com made tracing family history more accessible, she delved further into research.

She has since made her own books tracing and detailing the Ramsaur family history.

That interest and passion for family history has been passed down to Carrah, who is a student at Gardner-Webb University. When she first paged through the book, she was amazed at what she saw.

“That book has dates from the 1700s in it,” Carrah said. “When I took history classes, I was learning about events that were happening (then), so to be able to hold a piece of that is just really awesome.”

To Carrah, items like the handwritten journal give a different perspective of the family history. As her family has done for centuries, she hopes to keep the book in the family and pass it along for generations to come.

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Information from: The Shelby Star, https://www.shelbystar.com

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