Great-granddaughter presented with 146-year-old marriage certificate

A North Carolina thrift store at which a 146-year-old marriage certificate was found hidden in the frame of a donated painting presented the precious heirloom to the couple’s great-granddaughter.

Employees at the Hope Chest Thrift Store, a Bolivia business run by domestic violence shelter Hope Harbor Home, found the 1872 marriage certificate hidden in the frame of a painting that was donated last month, and they launched a search to find family members of the couple.

The employees only were able to make out the first names of the couple on the aging sheet of paper, but a Facebook post from Hope Harbor Home executive director Karmen Smith came to the attention of genealogist Connie Knox, who identified the names as William Deworth and Katey Havey.

Knox used Ancestry.com to identify the couple’s great-granddaughter, Irene Cornish.

Cornish visited the thrift store Monday and was presented with the certificate from the couple’s Bordentown, N.J., wedding.

“I still can’t believe it,” Cornish told WECT-TV. “I’m going to have it for my family — I’m so overwhelmed.”

Cornish theorized her great-grandmother or grandmother had stashed the certificate in the picture frame for safe-keeping, and an oblivious relative later sold the painting or gave it away.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Cornish said. “It feels good to have this back. I’m still really in a state of shock about how it happened.”