The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Historians and archivists working on the Joseph Smith Papers have been visiting archives and repositories for years in search of documents and other historical information since the project started.

It’s not unusual for them to take research trips and often come away with new findings and insight.

“Our trip has just generated more excitement than most,” said Jeffrey D. Mahas, a historian with the Joseph Smith Papers project.

In mid-September, Mahas, David Grua, lead historian of the online legal series, and Sharalyn Howcroft, project archivist, traveled to McDonough County, Illinois, specifically looking for materials related to three Joseph Smith legal cases. They also searched records in Hancock County and the courthouse in Carthage.

“Those dockets had not been microfilmed by the Family History Library,” Howcroft said. “We went there with the intent to hopefully find some additional information on those three cases. We ended up finding nine new docket entries. … We also found some new documents in Hancock County.”

What they found was overshadowed by even another Joseph Smith document that resurfaced at Western Illinois University.

Bill Cook, a senior library specialist at Western Illinois University, came across an 1839 marriage certificate in the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories and showed it to the Joseph Smith Papers team. The document shows that the Prophet officiated a marriage between Graham Coltrin and Fanny Davis in McDonough County.

What caught Cook’s eye was the handwriting.

“I realized it was an actual Joseph Smith-written document,” Cook said in a university news release.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.