The Quest for Hidden Treasures

Back before computers existed, and even before libraries existed, people actually kept track of their heritage inside their Bibles.

Family Bibles

Today we have become accustomed to using computers to search, probably on the Internet, for information about our family histories, when the real jewel we should be looking for is the family bible.

They didn't own spiral notebooks, but they probably owned a Bible. So they wrote down information about their family inside its cover, and later gifted it to their children. This practice grew and over time Bible makers began regularly including a fold-out page at the front or back where the owners' names, grandparents, parents and eventually children could be recorded.

It quickly became the tradition for newly married couples to receive a family bible from either their god-parents or church leader. The Bibles were then handed down from generation to generation to the first born, or sometimes the "favorite" grandchild. Yet today this sounds like some sort of fantasy story. Did these family bibles really exist?

Well, when researching my own heritage I ran across a wonderful thing... a family Bible for my own family! I even found one that contained more than 10 generations and had some birth dates, miscarriages, stillbirths and deaths written in it.

Begin your own search by asking your parents if this was ever a custom in the family. If they don't remember, ask your grandparents, uncles, aunts, anyone related to or associated with the family. Sometimes the executor of an estate will run across one while cleaning the house for sale. Perhaps he/she kept it or donated it to some charitable organization. Track them down and ask!

People rarely throw away a Bible, even if they have no religious affiliations. So, extend your search by checking out used book stores, thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets in the area close to the family you are trying to trace. Take a list of the names you are needing to find information on with you. Leave no stone un-turned. These are wonderful treasures and well worth the effort.

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Additional articles:

  • Demystifying the National Archives
  • Preparation Before Contact
  • Measuring Your Family Health History
  • Coming Home
  • What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
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