A binder filled with a family’s official records and photographs dating back to the 1850s was discovered on Big Pine Key this week, nine months after Hurricane Irma devastated the area.
One page of the binder reads, “The family of Fred Schaeffer Boyer Sr. and Lillian Mae Fernandes.”
The records — death, marriage and birth certificates — were found Tuesday at the corner of Sands Road and Bailey Street, where the Seahorse RV Park was located before Hurricane Irma struck last Sept. 10.
Someone flagged down a deputy and gave it to him, said Adam Linhardt, spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
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“It was wet and stinky,” Linhardt said.
Deputy Seth Hopp received the binder and placed it in the property room at the agency’s substation on Cudjoe Key, 20950 Overseas Highway, in an effort to let it dry out.
“I’m sure there is someone, somewhere, missing it dearly as it looks irreplaceable,” Hopp said.
One death certificate is for Fred S. Boyer, who was born in Toldeo, Illinois, on Nov. 10, 1874. He died at his home in Decatur, Illinois, the night before his 65th birthday in 1939 from a coronary, according to the record.
"Cleaning up yard, raking leaves, exhausted," reads the cause of injury.
There are also some newspaper articles related to the family inside the binder.
Anyone interested in claiming the binder should call Hopp at 305-745-3761.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no one had claimed the binder.
“We’re hoping to cast a wide enough net that somebody recognizes it,” Linhardt said.