Many families maintain a tradition of handing down a family Bible through the generations and mine is no different. Although the Bible is still with my mom, I look forward to receiving the treasured book one day and getting to add yet another generation of names, dates and history to the genealogy at the back. I especially anticipate passing the Bible along to my own kids when the time comes and giving them a piece of history they can pass on to future generations.
One of the most interesting projects a family Bible can help with is researching your family’s genealogy. Although many family Bibles only have names, you can do research with just those. Any accompanying information, such as locations of residence, employers, and dates of birth, marriage or death only help you find additional details more quickly.
You may stumble upon interesting information about your ancestors’ arrival in the United States, where they worked, what property they owned, and all sorts of other bits of history. Once you fill out some of the names and dates that may have been missing from the family Bible or that go back further than the book does, you can start digging into property records to find out more about where your ancestors lived. The Bureau of Land Management has tons of free land conveyance records so you can find property titles for many states in the south and Midwest. If you are ever in Washington, D.C., you can also visit the National Archives to explore the millions of documents they have that could add to your growing story of your family’s history.
There are many free resources on the web to help you out with your research. If you’re really into the project, you can pay to get even more information. For example, Ancestry.com is one of the most popular sites for researching your family’s history, but you’ll have to pay for full access. Anyone, however, can access the RootsWeb World Connect project portion of the site, which is a huge user-generated family tree that can get you started and give you some clues to continue your ancestry research. WorldGenWeb is another great site to check out to find more information about your ancestors.
A family Bible is a great place to start when you’re digging into your family history, but it’s not the only source of information for your genealogical research. Just talking to your parents and grandparents to get some names and birthdays of the ancestors they can remember is a great start. You can even do some research and start a new family Bible to establish your own tradition.
Do you have a family Bible like this?