The Queens County Museum is looking to scan handwritten family pages in old bibles to archive in the Thomas H. Raddall Research Centre.
© Brittany W. Verge Photo
The Queens County Museum is looking to scan family pages from old bibles. This bible has pages specifically meant for personal records while others often wrote their personal records on their blank front pages.
Linda Rafuse, manager of the museum, wants to copy the hand written pages in the bibles because they are considered primary documents. Such documents are invaluable to genealogical research.
“You get people in here and they’ve struggled for years to find their family tree because their ancestors haven’t left much of a paper trail. A name that could be in a family bible, might be the only place that name shows up,” says Rafuse.
For many years families kept one large family bible and passed it down through generations. In the front pages of the bible or in designated pages, family members kept record of births, marriages, deaths and sometimes baptisms.
Over the past 50 years the provincial government has kept record of what is known as “vital statistics” such as births and deaths. Prior to that, record keeping fell into the hands of churches or families.
Older denominations such as Catholicism or Anglicanism have often kept very stringent records. However, even if a church’s records were kept well, many communities including Liverpool, suffered from large fires. Some of the only records that may exist from some early settlers are in their family bible.
Research can also be done using old newspapers but that only goes back so far says Rafuse.
Rafuse wants to make sure research centre gets lots of scans of the bibles as soon as possible as many are already quite old.
“Ten, 20 years down the road, that bible might not be here anymore depending on whose hands it falls into. But at least we have the photocopy of the page and the family that it came from,” says Rafuse.
The Queens County Museum houses the Thomas H. Raddall Research Centre. The centre has information on surnames, local history, graveyards and other genealogically relevant materials.
Members of the public who own a bible with handwritten family pages in it may bring it to the museum during their regular hours.
The museum Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Summer hours start June 1 and are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily except on Sundays when it is open 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.