Rachel Tostevin's Birthday Book

The Priaulx Library was gratified to receive from America a small volume entitled Birthday Scripture Text Book. It was sent to the Library by Mr F B Harrington of Upperco, Maryland, who had purchased it in a sale as part of a book lot. 

Although having no Guernsey connections, Mr Harrington researched the names contained in it on the Internet and realised that they were indigenous to the island. The family of Rachel Tostevin, to whom it belonged, had fortuitously already been researched and the Chief Librarian was able to identify them almost immediately.

Rachel was born in 1851 in the parish of St Pierre du Bois, Guernsey. She refers in her book to her father's death on February 16th, 1887; Matthieu Tostevin was the only gentleman in Guernsey to have died on that day, and thus we could identify them both.

In the records Rachel is shown to have had a sister called Emily, and the book is indeed inscribed 'To dear Rachel from your ever loving sister Emily.' It has written in it birthdays and death dates of the Tostevin family, as well as those of members of the Priaulx, Lovell, and Le Poidevin clans, amongst other Guernsey names, as well as more American-sounding surnames, including those of the Hyde family. Rachel married Warren J Hyde of New Jersey in 1877. Both appear on the 1900 Federal Census of New Jersey, which explains how the book came to be in the USA, only eventually to be found and, by Mr Harrington's thoughtful action, returned home.

Birthday Scripture Text Book of Rachel Tostevin, in Tostevin family file, Priaulx Library, Guernsey.