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“Scribe succeeded scribe…”

By Daniel Hubbard | July 15, 2012

I’ve been considering writing a post about the joys of old newspapers. If I had a dollar for ever chuckle I’ve gotten from ads for “Mrs. Bailey’s Liver Pills” and their myriad competitors in the apparently vast liver pill market, I would be a very rich indeed. Of course, there is so much information about ancestors and their times in those pages. That is normally the point for us.

I may get around to writing that post. In the meantime, I stumbled across something—a quite amazing little something. Enjoy.


Individual Records No Longer Kept With Exactness

“The Family Bible with its genealogical record, served a useful purpose in is day,” said the librarian, “and I don’t see that, with all our boasted advance in civilization, we have developed anything quite to take its place. Of course, nowadays, cities and towns pride themselves on the accuracy of their vital statistics, and we have whole libraries of genealogical works—dry enough most of them are, too. But the individual family record, such as was kept a few generations ago, is very decidedly missing, and it is a pity that such is the case.

“For one thing, the list of births, marriages and deaths that were kept in the ponderous volume of Holy Writ operated to keep the members of the family close to one another and was, in a way, a central point, valuable for sentimental reasons as well as for reasons more distinctly utilitarian. As scribe succeeded scribe, the family continuity was emphasized and the entries were significant of the growth of a clannish feeling, which is too little in evidence at the present time. There are not I would venture to say, very many people in this year of grace who know anything or care anything about their relations further removed than the degree of first cousinship, and even first cousins are frequently out of mind. Of course, our tendencies are responsible largely for this state of affairs, but we often wish that we had remembered our kin, such as were furnished in the family Bible of past days with their direct personal testimony, amounting to messages from parents to children. Whenever I see one of these pages filled with careful entries—entries made in joy and sorrow, in the confidence of pride of life or by the trembling fingers of old age. It seems to me that we have lost something in our hurried existence that is to be regretted. We can go to the city or town clerk or, perhaps, to the public library for information as to our ancestry or our relatives but this is a rather cold and formal method of procedure. Certainly, we do not find in official records and in books the handwriting of our forebears.”

May 2, 1907
The Downs (Kansas) News

I have my father’s mother’s parent’s family Bible. My children and their cousins are the fifth generation entered into its crowded pages. May many more generations continue to fill its pages.

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