The Gift of a Fingerprint

November 22 was always a special day in the Ryan household.

Margaret (Ryan) Kosnik, the youngest of ten children, and her father, Donald Ryan, share the date as their birthday. Don was born November 22, 1927. Margaret was born 38 years later on November 22, 1965. Even into their adult years, the pair almost always celebrated “their day” together.

But this last birthday was different. 

Don was in declining health and passed away on January 5, 2018 at the age of 90. That meant 2018 would be the first year Margaret didn’t have her dad to celebrate with on their birthdays.

“We knew it was going to be hard for her,” Margaret’s sister, Kathleen, said. “This was a very special day for the both of them.”

The Ryan sisters put their heads together and came up with a plan to surprise Margaret.

“We wanted to change a day of mourning into a day of good joy and memories,” Kathleen said. 

After planning their father’s funeral at Heritage, one of the sisters noticed a Thumbies brochure she had received. Thumbies are personalized charms created from actual fingerprints, handprints or footprints. Combining modern scanning technology with the ancient art of lost wax casting, Thumbies fashions the prints into artistic and intricately detailed sterling silver or gold jewelry. 

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“We had never heard of such a thing,” Kathleen said. “At first it seemed kind of unusual. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized what a wonderful keepsake it would be.”

The sisters, without telling Margaret, ordered a necklace and silver Thumbies pendant with their father’s fingerprint on the front, the pair’s shared birthstone attached and their birthdate engraved on the back. 

On November 22, Margaret’s sisters met her for a birthday lunch to celebrate, surround her with love and give her the special gift. 

“She loved it,” Kathleen said. “She wears it daily. It’s a gentle reminder of dad’s presence in her life rather than the loss."

Want to give the gift of a Thumbie keepsake to your loved ones or create one for yourself, visit the website or send us a message at