Published August 22, 2017

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OK, so I’ll admit that I sometimes get weary of the seemingly infinite designations such as French Fries Day or Quilt Week or Fruit Fly Awareness Month.

Now, no offense is intended for the many more serious designations, and I do have to say that a recent electronic newsletter from the folks at Just a Joy, which bills itself as the world’s largest source of searchable family heirlooms, hit a responsive chord with me.

“August is ‘Family Bible’ month. Although not ordained or consecrated by any governing body, we are designating August as “Family Bible Month” and encouraging all Jus ta Joy participants to consider posting a Bible in your possession that is not associated with your own family,” the newsletter read.

The blurb continued by urging readers to buy an “orphaned” family Bible on ebay or at an antique show. “As we all know, genealogical karma is the best karma and such an investment and effort could bear real rewards,” the newsletter continued.

I have several family Bible stories.

One of my first “on my own” genealogical discoveries was going to the attic of my parents’ home – despite my mother’s scoff that “there’s nothing that will help you with genealogy in those old trunks” – and finding the Bible beautifully in-filled by a professional scrivener for a set of paternal great-great-grandparents, Peter and Christianna (Rupp) Daub.

The Bible was apparently then passed down to their daughter Emma Eliza (Daub) Etchberger and in turn to Emma’s daughter Dora Annie (Etchberger) Beidler, my grandmother. The information included Peter Daub’s parents’ names, which previously had been unknown to me.

Some years later, my aunt Lorraine (Hiester) Lightner gave me a prayer book that included family information on her great-grandparents Harrison and Rosabella (Kerschner) Hiester. The data included baptisms of their 11 children as well as their first grandchild, who arrived when their eldest daughter Catharina was but 14 years old.

Then there’s the 18th century gem of a family Bible – one that was brought across the ocean by the Wilhelm family. I only found out about this Bible after it had been auctioned to a collector.

I was able to track down that collector, who said the Bible “looked great on his coffee table.” He agreed that if he ever tired of looking at this Bible (editorial comment – that he has no relation to at all!!) that he would contact me (Still waiting and hoping for that call!)

Just from that experience, I think the Just a Joy folks are on to something – long live “Family Bible Month!”

You can find Just a Joy at the URL, or call (704) 948-1912 for listings or pricing.


  1. Val

    8 months ago  

    Wouldn’t it also be cool to get a look at the Weber family bible spoken of in the Weber estate documents?? I would love to know whether it now belongs to a descendant. If it belongs to an unrelated collector, I would do the same thing you did…..

    • 8 months ago  

      OK, Val … your memory’s better than mine again … remind me in which doc the Weber Bible was referred to??

  2. Rick Bender

    8 months ago  

    I’ve often thought that we need some sort of clearinghouse website for family Bible data. (But then, how do you get people to submit the data?) I located our Bender Family Bible many years ago. The data was limited — accurate, but it didn’t go beyond my 2nd-ggf on the Bender side (although it included my 3rd-ggps in the Walter family — go figure).
    Of course, then I found the Koetsier Family Bible and used it and the newspapers to get things straight with that Michigan family.
    Anyway, you might recall I’ve SUSPECTED that my John Bender married second to Rebecca Stine in 1820. Ann, in Massachusetts, is a descendant of the John and Rebecca marriage, and she and I are linked in’s DNA.
    There is another family in Lebanon, PA, which I know descends from John & Rebecca. That family had a family Bible that was, as I recall, lost in an exchange with in-laws. I don’t know if that Bible included John Bender’s history or not, but it bugs me that something that might have been helpful is gone or missing.
    If nothing else, you’ve renewed my interest in that Bible and I’m now trying to locate the person I spoke with about it about 15 years ago. — Rick

  3. Adam D. Gibbons

    8 months ago  

    I’m very interested in the “Wilhelm Bible” you refer to above… I’m a descendant of Jacob Wilhelm of Donegal Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who arrived there in the late 1740s or early ’50s. Do you know which Wilhelm family the Bible belonged to? Does anyone have images of the pages?? I’m a long-time genealogist, and I’ve been researching the Wilhelms for a LONG time! Thank you! – Adam

    • 8 months ago  

      Actually, it’s a Bible from the Wilhelm-related Unruh family (immigrant Valentin Unruh’s sister Catharina married Jacob Wilhelm and Valentin may have married a sister of Jacob’s). So the Bible relates to Valentin and his family and also contains a register of Valentin’s daughter who married a Kintzer (if you are interested in the Bible, send your e-mail address to james@beidler.and I’ll give you a copy of the writeup about the Bibles that appeared in Der Kurier, the journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society) … but back to the Wilhelms: My ancestors who are collaterally related to the Unruhs stem from Jacob Wilhelm who arrived 1734 on the ship St. Andrew … I think that’s different than your Jacob of Donegal, unfortunately …