Ericson, Carolyn Reeves & Kathryn Hooper Davis (comps.).

Bibles, Bibles, Bibles: A Collection of 18th & 19th Century Family Bible Records. Nacogdoches, TX: Ericson Books, 2000. 231p., hardcover. Index. ISBN 1-911317-62-7.

Among the sources most useful to family researchers, Bible records are perhaps the least consulted. Even if a genealogist suspects a family Bible might still survive for a line under investigation, she’s likely not to know where it is, who presently owns it, or whether the information already has been extracted by an earlier researcher. I regard the publication of such records, therefore, as a great service to the genealogical community — but there are certain necessary inclusions.

Where was the data originally recorded? Where is the Bible now? When was the Bible itself published? (That is, was the record contemporaneous with the event or the work of a later generation?) What are the known relationships among those listed? The compilers of the more than 250 Bible records that appear in this volume have unfortunately neglected to answer many of these questions. Fewer than half the records presented include the original publication date and perhaps one out of ten includes information on present ownership. Almost none give any additional information about the families involved, nor do we know where the original recorder was living at the time. This is equivalent to publishing a census listing without mentioning the state, county, or year. There’s not even an introductory section describing how these records were compiled. The information itself seems to have been copied exactly — spelling seems not to have been corrected, and so on — and the book’s production values are certainly high, but the researcher who is lucky enough to find a previously unknown Bible record of interest in this volume is likely to be ultimately frustrated.

Published in: on 5 May 2011 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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