Increasingly, scholars are turning to objects as additional primary sources, acknowledging that they often contain information that cannot be found elsewhere. Samplers and memorial needlework are especially useful in that regard, particularly for genealogists. Both serve as a sort of textile manuscript, the information painstakingly stitched onto fabric rather than written on paper. Samplers usually give the name of the maker and the date, and, because certain motifs and stitches are associated with particular schools, may suggest where the maker went to school. If a sampler bears both the date it was made and the age of the maker, a date of birth can be extrapolated from that. Sometimes this is the only real evidence available.
"From the Collection - Elizabeth Scott's Handiwork: Objects as Primary Resources: Sampler, 1741 (NHS 66.4) Memorial to John and Martha Scott, 1809 (NHS 47.1.2),"
Newport History: Vol. 68
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/newporthistory/vol68/iss237/4