The following teaser is from the October 16, 2011 edition of the Southeast Missourian.
The John Guild Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and the Cape Girardeau County Archives are teaming up to help preserve local history by digitizing old family Bible records. Bibles published before 1910 are being sought for the project.
“Old Bibles are a valuable resource for genealogists and historians. They can serve as primary source documentation, providing dates of birth, death and marriage for periods when public vital records were not kept” according to Steve Pledger, director of the Cape Girardeau County Archives.
According to Drew Blattner, archivist for Cape Girardeau County, many Bibles remain undiscovered. “We have heard rumors that various family Bibles exist that may contain important genealogical information unknown to anyone alive today. Many of the early probate files list a Bible that was sold at the estate sale. We know that there are bound to be hundreds if not thousands of these old Bibles lying around on someone’s bookshelf or in an old trunk somewhere in the county. It is our goal to scan or photograph the family record section of as many of these as we can to fill in gaps in our own records.
By digitizing the records, the information can be made accessible to distant relatives and researchers while preserving the original artifact. Many of the old pages are fragile, and need to be handled as little as possible. Archivists can provide attendees with tips on preserving their family heirloom Bibles. Only the pages of the Bible with family information will be scanned or photographed, along with the title page of the Bible identifying the date of publication. The information gleaned will be transcribed and indexed by surname and made available for researchers at the archives and the DAR Library.