In today's technological revolution, we have digital copies of pretty much everything. But I always wonder how our ancestors decided which documents and papers to save and how they survived for so long.
I was intrigued when I found 4 old stock certificates for the Butte and Western Mining Company at my parents house.Each certificate was for 100 shares in the company and the front is dated April 1923.
It says the owner of the stock is William P. Hoffman.I was a little confused, this isn't a name I recognize. The back of the certificate is signed by Hoffman and my great grandfather, Wentworth Middleton. I googled William P Hoffman and the first hit was an obituary for a William P Hoffman, NYC stock broker! So he must have handled the stocks for my great grandfather? Since the back is signed, it seems like he cashed out these shares.
The certificates are attached to a letter from the State of South Dakota Secretary of State to my grandmother, dated September 22, 1980. It seems like my grandmother wrote them a letter asking for information about the certificates. The letter says "This company was incorporated in South Dakota on September 28, 1920 for 25 year term of existence. As no amendment to extend that term was ever filed with this office, it's corporate existence expired in 1945. Enclosed is a copy of all pertinent data."
No hidden family fortune this time. I still love them for their historical significance and Wentworth's signature! What interesting documents have you found??
To research your old stock certificates, check the SEC for resources.
To preserve these documents:
1. Scan and save (multiple formats and save in 2 different places).
2. Use archival grade plastic sleeves to be able to view and protect the document.
3. Keep them in a binder to prevent folds and tears.