Home Page


Mountain Press Homepage

Publisher of Quality Genealogy Materials

New Books



Mountain Press Homepage

Genealogy Gazette

Volume 7, Number 21
Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369
November 18, 2015
Publisher's Notes
In this article we discuss the family bible. I really enjoy looking through old family bibles at all the births, marriages and death records as well as the other information and tidbits that you can find in them. Tennessee is definitely trying to save the information from as many of the family bibles as possible. I hope your state is as well.

As always, we enjoy hearing your comments after each article!

Thank you,
James L. Douthat
Mountain Press

We have talked about the value of the family Bible in prior articles, but a recent article in our local newspaper caught my eye. I thought that we needed to revisit the subject of the family Bible.
We have all dreamed that someday we would find that one Family Bible that had all of the names and dates recorded in it so that we could make our charts complete. For many, this is a pipe dream and for others it is a reality. Family Bibles are quite difficult to find, even when we know where they are kept. It is amazing how many families are so protective and secretive about the presence of the Bible. There must be a theory that if no one sees the Bible, then the owner owns the information. We all know that this is not true. No one person owns the facts of the family no matter how great or embarrassing that information might be. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve known the fact of a secret wedding and secret child that years later shock the family when the facts come out. We are not controlled by the facts, they are just there. This is history. We either admit it or deny the facts, but the facts are facts.
When we find the family Bibles, there are a couple of things to check out when you first go through it. The primary search is for those facts written somewhere in the Bible. In some of the older Bibles, there are pages set aside for the recording of information as to the “births”, “deaths’, and “marriages” within the family. Sometimes a member of the family has the responsibility to record the facts when they occurred. In many cases, the facts are recorded somewhat later and from memory. You just have to be careful of the facts and try to justify them from other sources such as birth certificates, death certificates, and yes, even census records. You can sometimes find the verification through church records or even school records. I had the Family Bible of my grandparents while they were still living. As I became a little more experienced, I found a problem with my Grandmother’s birth date. Sometime after their 60th wedding anniversary, she admitted that she changed her birthday so that she would not be older than my Grandfather. When they married in 1910, it was important for the male to be older than the female. He did outlive her by several years, so changing the date did nothing to help that situation. Rejoice that you have found a clue as to the dates and names and places, but be open minded about the possibility they might also be wrong.
The secondary items in the Bible are those things inserted between the pages. Since I have a number of family Bibles of my family and those of my wife, we have found a number of items that are just as interesting as the dates. There may be locks of hair. We may not always know whose it is, but we know that it belongs to the family. Some have gotten DNA samples from them to help in their research. There are clipping of newspapers, wedding announcements, obituaries, favorite receipts, and poems that have been loved through the years. I have even found old Christmas cards, birthday cards, Easter cards, and postcards to and from relatives. Every little tidbit of information helps to get a clear picture of those who have gone before us. Cherish all of these.
Back to the article in the newspaper. The man in the article had a number of old family Bibles and he was taking care of them as a legacy. We all do this, if we have them to care for our posterity. The article went on to talk about the Tennessee State Archives collecting the records from these Bibles and getting them online for researchers all over the world to have access to them. In Tennessee, there have been a number of projects to collect Bible records. It all started with the WPA during the 1930s when workers were sent into communities to collect obituaries, Bible Records, Court Records and other information of importance for genealogical research. Lately, the DAR of the state made a project to collect the records of members’ Bibles. They not only collected the information, but produced a CD with images of the actual Bible pages and a transcription. There is an index volume of the records and then the CD for the information. The State Archives has collected Bible records for years. Now they are making these available to the researching public. Do you want to help? Scan your Bibles, transcribe the data and send these to the State Archives. You will be helping researchers for years to come. Some of these might be relatives that are not even born yet, but the data will be there when they are looking for it. You can help your posterity in this way.
To help out with the Tennessee State Library Archives - Attention Trent Hanner - 403 Seventh Avenue North - Nashville, Tennessee 37243.
Tennessee is not the only state that is collecting the data. Every state library and archives is interested. Even some of the large historical societies would love to have copies of the data as well. You know how hard you have worked on the project so think of those who come after you. This is just one step up for them. We all know that they will have many other hurdles to leap over in their research.
Happy Hunting!




Bible Records




Cheatham County, TN Bible & Tombstone Records

Clay County, TN Bible and Tombstone Records

Hickman County, TN Bible & Tombstone Records

Johnson County, TN Bible & Tombstone

McMinn County, TN Records

Macon County, TN Bible & Tombstone Records

Morgan County, TN Bible & Cemetery Records

Putnam County, TN Bible, Family & Tombstone Records

Roane County, TN Bible Records

Rutherford County, TN Bible and Family Records

Sequatchie Valley TN Bible Records

Sequatchie Valley TN Records - CD

Smith County, TN Bible and Tombstone Records with some Church Minutes

Sumner County, TN Bible, Family and Tombstone Records

Wilson County, TN Bible, Family & Tombstone Records



If you have any questions or suggestions for future editions, please email us at jimd@mountainpress.com.