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Ancestors experts David Rencher and Irene Johnson talk about the genealogical significance of Family Bibles.
If you're fortunate enough to come from a family with an old Bible that's been passed down through the generations, you know how much information can be
contained in the family pages within them. Often presented as a wedding gift, a well-maintained family Bible, will provide a treasure trove of birth, marriage
and death information, family relationships, and perhaps other genealogical tidbits about your ancestors, usually in the handwriting of one or more of them.
Even if you can't locate the original details, it may be possible to find Bible records
recorded elsewhere, such as in the collections of genealogical and historical societies. Having these details in hand makes it much easier for you to locate
the official vital records or perhaps religious records which will
substantiate these life events.
Even if you don't know of a family Bible, or have only heard rumors of the existence of one, it's worth a little detective work to see if you can locate one.
Often, they have been passed down through maternal lines and now reside with someone who doesn't even know how they are connected to the people listed in the
Bible. In some cases, they have been sold to antiques stores or flea markets. Try tracing your lines forward in time to find living descendants who might know
of a family Bible or take advantage of some websites that help rescue old Bibles and other memorabilia and get them back
into the right hands. For a few success stories, see "The Traveling Bible," "An Honest Broker," and "Bi-Coastal Bible" in In Search of Our Ancestors.