History Between the Pages:

 

The Family Bible in Genealogy Research

 

— Featuring the Montgomery History Bibles Collection —

 

Introduction

 

Increasingly, genealogy research has become an online endeavor. With a couple of keystrokes, we can search multiple decades of census records, birth and death indexes, land records, and newspapers. Many churches and cemeteries have even joined the digital age, making their registers available through free and subscription genealogy databases.

 

While this type of research may facilitate information gathering, it can’t beat the excitement and sense of connection that comes from handling old documents and books, especially an old family Bible—feeling the pages between your fingers, examining the handwriting of your forebears, imagining their thoughts and feelings as they carefully wrote down births and deaths, and marveling at the “treasures” they kept between the pages.

 

Old books exert a strange fascination for me —

their smell, their feel, their history;

wondering who might have owned them, how they lived, what they felt.

Lauren Willig, Author

 

At Montgomery History, we are privileged to be the caretakers of more than 40 family Bibles, prayer books, and hymnals. Each one contributes to the stories of our communities. One could say this online exhibition is a Story of the Bible, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, it is the story of the family Bible in America and how families used their beloved Bibles to share their own stories through the generations.

 

We invite you to wander through this online exhibition and explore the rich history and exquisite beauty of the family Bible. Our exhibition includes the following chapters, each featuring photographs and excerpts from Montgomery History’s fabulous Bibles collection.

 

 


 

Green Family Bible, Montgomery History Bibles Collection

“In the family Bible, old and brown,

On a fair white page, there were births written down.

       First on the record are Mary and James;

       Then Rachel and Stephen—good Bible names;

       Next Ruth—little Ruth.”

 

“In the family Bible, old and brown,

There’s a record of marriages written down.

       Once when the blossoms were drifting slow,

       From the boughs in the orchard, like flakes of snow,

       You gathered a wreath, dew-jewelled, one morn,

       To deck the dark hair of Mary, first-born.”

 

“In the family Bible, old and brown,

On a tear-blotted page, there are deaths written down.

       The blossoms were dying, the brown leaves fell

       From tremulous boughs in forest and dell,

       When you wrote down a name the angels had given

      Anew to your darling—your first born in Heaven.”

                          (Source: Excerpt, “The Family Record” by Mystic, Arthur’s Home Magazine, 1864)

 

 

Continue to The Family Bible in America  >

 

Every Object Tells A Story

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