Your Guide to Finding Ancestors in
Family Bible Records

Family Bible records, when they can be found, are treasures beyond value.
If one survived generations of use, it may be treasured family heirloom, but could also be stored in someone's attic or long since passed on to an archives, historical society or other home. he internet has proven to be a very effective way for people to locate and share information in family bibles.

Some things to keep in mind when relying on bible records:

  • What date was the bible published? Entries prior to that date must have been from memory or other records and may not be as reliable.
  • Pay attention to the handwriting and writing tool. If the writing is all in the same hand and seems to be done at the same time, it may not be a comtemporaneous record.
  • A transcription of the record is not as good as seeing the actual record... try to find the actual bible or to get images of the page.
  • A nice overview of what you might find in a family Bible can be found in a blog titles Spring: the Season of the Family Bible

How to find Bible Records

* Finding transcriptions and images of bible records * Finding the actual bible *

  • THE D.A.R. has transcribed thousands of bibles and other personal papers and provides an online index to the DAR's Genealogical Records Committee publications, which is available to all. Although you can't easily sort out which records are Bible records, these records will be included in the material searched and it will be an added bonus if you find other types of records that are relevant!
    • The Family History Library filmed this collection in the early 70's. There is a two volume partial index to this
      • Index to Some of the Bible and Family Records of the Southern States (vol.1) (find in a library) and
      • Index to Some of the Bible and Family Records of the United States. vol. II, which covers the remaining states. (find in a library)
    • These filmed records will not include more recently added material.
  • The New England Historic Genealogical Society has created and offers for sale a CD of Bible Records of the Manuscript Collection of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
  • Bible records published in genealogical journals can often be found by searching PERSI (Periodical Source Index), which can be searched at either of the two subscription databases "Heritage Quest Online " or "", but I believe the HQ version is more current. Most public libraries have a subscription to one or both of these databases, but note the Library Edition of does not include PERSI. ( explains PERSI)
  • NGS Bible Records collection is online, but you must be a member to access it.
  • Individuals may put information from the family bible online. For example, I've posted transcriptions of the two family Bibles I own on the web, the Withey Family Bible and the Moore Family Bible.
    • (To find these google the surname + bible; you may also want to enter identifying information. In this case, use "Ogemaw" to shorten the hit list for the Withey Bible, but add Campbell to find the Moore bible. You must think creatively when doing the search, especially with common names.
  • There are some state or county wide collections of family bibles online; some examples
    • North Carolina Family Records online -- includes bible records
    • Illinois State Genealogical Society Bible Records
    • Library of Virginia's very large collection of family bibles can be searched in their Archives and Manuscript catalog -- include the word bible to find those records. (when the image does come up, you may have to read the TIFF helps screen to navigate the document.)
    • To find if there is such an online collection for a state you are interested in, Google these words ... stateocounty bible records.
    • For some of my state pages I have a section that will point you to Bible Records for that state.
  • Several sites provide links to Bible Records
  • Search the Family History Library catalog for the state of interest to see what is available under the subject Bible Records. For example, a search for New Jersey Bible records brings up these 33 hits.
    • Then search by county. For example, if I search for New Jersey, Atlantic, I find this record -- which is not listed in the statewide records becuase it pertains only to Atlantic county

Bibles offered on the web.

  • Rescued Family Bibles (this page hasn't been updated in awhile--those in red have been sent to someone already)
  • e-bay... try coupling the words family record, or family or old with the search word bible.
  • See also a blog with information on Bibles offered in the past on e-bay: Family Bibles blog. -- don't be mislead by the first entry, which makes it appear that this is just a listing of anything on e-bay with the words family bible in the title. Scroll down past that.
  • Bibles Found
  • Rootsweb has a Family Bibles Mailing List
  • Ancestors at Rest: Family Bibles

Caring for bibles

More Links

This page last updated May 8, 2011
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