15 November 2011

What Do I Do With This Bible?

     I was talking with a group of genealogists at the Family History Expo, exchanging research advice.  One of the ladies said that she had recently purchased a bible at a garage sale and found a family record inside. She was wondering how she could get this information to someone who could use it.  I recommended a few things then and have added to it here:
    Louise & Alma's Bible
  1. Make copies and transcribe the information. Scan or photograph the pages and type up all of the data on each page: names, dates, locations, etc. Page through the entire Bible and see if there are any random notes on blank pages.
  2. Try and research the family to find living descendants. If you have a birth and date death for someone, start with them. If you have a list of folks, search the census for families with those names and ages. Search Google for genealogy websites that list those individuals. Search rootsweb family trees, ancestry trees, wikitree, etc for matching individuals. Try to contact the owners to share the information, perhaps offer to ship the Bible to them.
  3. If you came up with a location for the individuals recorded in the Bible, post the images and transcriptions on USGenWeb.  I like to locate the County level location on the USGenWeb Archives and upload it there.
  4. Again if you know the location: see if there's a local genealogical society. Mail them a copy to add to their files.
  5. Mail a copy to the National Genealogical Society to add to their Bible Collection and upload a copy to websites like Bible Records Online.
  6. If you didn't come up with a location (or even if you did) go to message boards at ancestry/rootsweb and Genforum and post information about the bible in the surname forums.
    The key is to share the information with not just one descendant, but with as many as possible. You might mail the Bible to one descendant, but you're published the information online in multiple places for others to find. Who knows, this Bible might contain the information that someone's been waiting decades to find.


Cinamon Collins said...

She can also mail a copy to the state archives for their surname vertical files. I'm currently working on a project of scanning all bible records from the surname vertical files for Tennessee State Library and Archives. The goal is to make the records available online.

Jennifer said...

Good ideas, Valerie! I have a Bible I "rescued" a few years back and haven't gotten around to doing anything on your list, which is a shame. It's always on my mind.

I do also recall that NEHGS has (or had) a bible program; I went on to their website and couldn't find anything about it, so I'm not sure if it is ongoing.


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