The records originally written by our ancestors were usually placed in the family Bible. A center section in most Bibles traditional had several pages for the marking of family births, marriages and deaths. If you have access to a family Bibles, you have a true treasure. If you don’t have one, then you could check with other relatives and see if they have one.
Always photograph or run a portable scanner over those Bible pages to record what was written. If that can’t be done, at least make a hand-written copy of what information — names – events – and dates were recorded.
Online is the Tennessee State Library and Archives where they have the ‘Bible Project‘. The archive’s collection of family Bibles has been made digital and you can view it. Now the recordings in the Bibles don’t have to have been solely from Tennessee families. A family Bible from Virginia could have traveled with a family whenever they moved to Tennessee. Most of this collection is from the 1800s and into the early 1900s.
View the list of alphabetical letters to browse the collection. Even if several surnames appear on Bible pages, the primary surname or most frequent name is how it is organized. All are in PDF format, so anyone should be able to access them. You can also use the Search method – use the button on the left to call up the search box. This will be very helpful for any lesser surnames that are part of a greater family Bible collection.
Looking at a selection of surnames, there might be one page, two or numerous pages. Look at each one. It will have the Bible’s title page and then the scanned image of each record (births-marriages and deaths). Here will be the people’s names and the dates. You can copy and save to your computer the pages.
It is handwritten, so may take some time to read each name and date. The handwriting styles change as different people add information over the decades.
If you have the record pages from a family Bible that might be a nice addition to the Tennessee archives, there is contact information also available.
This is true written family history.
Photos: Family Bible cover, Kerby Family Bible, and Parker Family Bible
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