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Signatures and Seal of the First Condit's in America

Many Condits and Cousins families may remember the letter that was mailed to them by Dr. Norman I. Condit in October 1983 requesting their help in convincing the Supervising Archivist of the New Jersey State Library and Archives to allow Norman I. Condit, M.D. to "obtain accurate and detailed, two- and three-dimensional replicas of the seals on the wills of John and Peter Cundict." Norman received 72 letters back from 27 U.S. States and Germany all asking the Supervising Archivist to allow the rendition of the seal. I don't know that Norman ever had the opportunity to make the replicas, but he did some fine photographic work prior to sending the letter to Condits and Cousins everywhere. Here are some quotes from his letter:

"It was an awesome experience, last month [September 1983] in Trenton, New Jersey, to hold in my hands and study the actual wills of John and Peter Cundict, written in 1710 and 1714--more than a quarter of a millennium ago!"

"For several years I have been eager to view those wills, the texts of which are reprinted on pages 10 through 13 of the 1916 revision of the Condit genealogy book, especially to study the wax seals, described as 'representing a fowl with spread wings.' The wills are bound in a large volume of 'Unrecorded Wills (#5), in which each sheet of each manuscript is sealed on both sides by an adhering layer of silk, to prevent further flaking or abrasion of the paper of the documents. This 'silking' process is an excellent idea, but two drawbacks became evident:"

  1. "The silk lies like a semi-tight, white shroud over the wax seals, making photography or even clear examination of details of the seals impossible."
  2. "Each document was microfilmed after 'silking' with unsatisfactory results because some or most of the text of many documents cannot be read or reproduced from the microfilms, although the original documents, even 'silked,' can be read with little difficulty when examined in the Archives."

"Out of desperation, I made six pencil 'rubbings' of each of the two seals, through thin paper, stroking the pencil in different directions in an attempt to bring out details in one rubbing that might not appear in others. Home again I photographed each rubbing in exactly the same size, the projected the image from each onto the same piece of photographic paper, creating a composite image. Next, hesitantly and tentatively, I traced the dark portions of the composite image to create a black-and-white, two dimensional drawing of what resulted." Here is the result of Norman's work.

I also traced the mark of John Cundict and the signature of Peter, added the photographs of the rubbings of their respective seals in the proper relation to the signatures, with the results shown here.

Mark of John Cundict with the erroneous spelling of "Conditt" and the seal in proper relationship to the mark. His will is dated March 15, 1709/10 and proved May 20, 1713. It is on file at the Archives New Jersey State Library, Trenton, New Jersey, in Volume 5 of Unrecorded Wills on page 63 and 64.

John Conditt's Mark

Signature of Peter Cundict with the seal in it's proper relationship. Peter's will is dated Feb 7, 1713/14 and was proved on May 19, 1714. It is on file at the Archives New Jersey State Library, Trenton, New Jersey, in Volume 5 of Unrecorded Wills on page 86 through 88.

To read about the original spelling of the Condit name when John Cundict first arrived in Newark, New Jersey go to Chapter 1 The Condit Surname.


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