The written record endures in many forms.
Letters and personal accounts of events or eras are highly
valued for the information they contain; but it is the
family Bible that most often becomes the object of
Should you be fortunate enough to possess a family Bible, the following techniques might help you to evaluate its usefulness as a source of information. First, note the date of its publication. Match the publication date against the span of events written upon the page for family history. If the handwritten entries predate the publication, it is clear indication that they were recorded not as they occurred but at a later date. Next, examine the handwriting used for each entry. Is it all in the same script, indicating that they were written by the same person? Are the entries in the same ink, suggesting that all were made at one sitting? Is there an inscription?
Check each page of a Bible or inherited book for notations or enclosures. Some owners recorded the dates of events, such as memorial services, weddings, and christenings, in the margin adjacent to the Bible text used for the occasion. Others used favorite books to hold prayer cards, obituaries from newspapers, significant scraps of church bulletins, and handwritten notes. Such a note enclosed in one book contained, in German script, the full name and birth date of each child born to the finder's great-grandparents.