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November 17, 2017

Finding Your Roots — Notary Edition

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:07 am

Harrison Stampworth was a guest on the show Finding Your Roots. His male lineage was a long line of Notaries Public going back to the time and general location of where George Washington was before the Revolutionary War. What Harrison didn’t initially realize was that his ancestors had committed some major Notarial crimes and were even prosecuted for them.

His 8th Great Grandfather Jedidiah got in a lot of trouble. He had a bunch of slaves, and was too lazy to do his own Notary work. So, he made his head slave Jarvis do the work for him. What Jedidiah didn’t know was that it was illegal to let anyone else use your seal. Eventually, Jedidiah got locked up for allowing another person to use his seal. The original sentence was three years, but it was lengthened another two because the person allowed to use the seal was not even a free man. Additionally, Jarvis got his freedom papers fraudulently notarized, but forgot to realize that while impersonating his Master as a Notary, he also impersonated his Master as the signer — and you can’t notarize yourself. So Jarvis and Jedidiah ended up in neighboring jail cells, each for completely different Notarial crimes.

His 7th Great Grandfather Eli Notarized John Hancock’s John Hancock signing the declaration of independence, but the document is still smudged to this day due to his sloppy clerical skills. He also asked Ben Franklin if he needed Notary services, and Ben told him to go fly a kite. Then he swore in a relative of George Washington who said, “I cannot tell a lie, but if I do, just make sure it’s not under Oath.” And then Eli said, “No problem, we’ll just do an Affirmation — I’ve always been a few hundred years ahead of my time. So chew on that!” — the other guy said, “If my teeth weren’t made of wood I’d take you up on your offer.”

Harrison’s 4th Great Grandmother Abitha headed the largest Notary Association of the 1800’s which was called Confederate Notary Association where their motto was, “Keep it civil.” She used giant Notary seals to smuggle bullets across enemy lines to confederate soldiers. Another noteworthy piece of information about Abitha was that she died on the exact day of her commission’s expiration date right after she had her daily tea and beignets.

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