The inaugural Lunch with the Librarians featured interesting conversation about family Bibles. Discussion began with how and where Bibles were printed, in what language and their importance to the family. In many households, a Bible was the only printed material in the home and was used for reading lessons.
Bibles and other religious books were some of the first and in many cases only books listed on estate inventories. Examples taken from last will and testaments have been shown references that the ‘large German family book’ was left to a particular child.
To the genealogist, they sometimes can provide the only source of an ancestor’s birth, marriage or death. It was also interesting to compare what the family may have ‘stored’ inside the pages of the Bible. Not only is family information recorded within its pages, but photographs, letters, pressed flowers and hair can be found. One participant brought in her ancestor’s 1819 Lancaster printed Bible and shared its story. Within its pages were religious tracts and scraps of paper.
Since the Bible is one of the primary places where family records are written, the South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society and the York County Heritage Trust were inspired to create an annual Bible documentation day. On Sunday afternoon, May 6th, from 1:00 to 4:00 the second annual Family Bible Documentation Day will be held at the Historical Society Museum and Library at 250 East Market Street. Bring in your family Bibles to have them documented and copied. This information will be then placed in the extensive family files held in the library and available to future genealogists.