Saturday, July 5, 2008

Family Bibles, the whole truth

While doing genealogy research pretty much a required first step is to look at an old family bible. I am fortunate that both my parent's families have preserved old family bibles.

My Great Grandmother on my mother's side, Ida Lundy Wilson, who was born Idle Day Lundy, had two bibles. She was a very religious person and along with her bibles were many bible lessons and notes from sermons she had heard. Her family bible gave me the name of her mother and her husband's mother. Both names were questions because about the only records with their given names were census reports. Most of the others just have them listed as Mrs Lundy or Mrs Wilson. Ida's mother was Margery Rowena Henry. There had been a question of her last name.

There are a lot of Hendrys in the Taylor County area and some family members said she was a Hendry. The bible record records her maiden name as Henry and this helped me confirm a marriage record as belonging to her mother and father and led to identifying her father's family.

Benjamin Franklin Wilson was one of at least 25 children born to Moses Wilson. Moses had two wives and the name of the second one was unclear. She was listed as Basty on one census and Vasty on another. After looking at the bible record I am pretty sure her name was Vashti.

What are the chances of being born to Moses, the one who stood up to Pharaoh and led God's people through the wilderness and Vashti, a queen who chose death rather than to take off her clothes in public. Both were strong personalities. My Moses and Vashti Wilson died long ago, well before my grandmother Edith Wilson Fulford was born so I don't know much about them or if they had similar qualities.

My Dad located the very ornate bible that belonged to my Great Grandparents on his side, Andrew and Rebecca Green. It was printed in 1875 and had been passed down between the daughters and one of his cousins, Hubert Horne ended up with it, Daddy made photocopies of some of the pages but they were very poor copies and barely legible.

I asked Hubert several times about looking at the old bible but he was reluctant to let me. I guess he was worried I would harm it or lose it. Finally about 10 years after my Dad gave me the copies Hubert let me take the bible and scan the pages to save them. It also had old tintype photos in pages with frames that gave me the image of my Great Great Grandfather and many other relatives.

While doing so, I discovered the daughters tried to help their reputations by altering their birth dates. Both parents died young, leaving the girls to be brought up living with their older brothers. Later, after they were past the age to normally marry and still single, several of them crossed out the year of their birth to make them appear to be younger. The story is that my Grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green was upset with them because at this point the Social Security program had started and they were hurting their chance to receive benefits by saying they were younger.

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