2 min read
The weighty, satisfying feel of a vintage good book, picked from your own bookshelves, is a tactile association with the past quite like no other, and many would say that a Family Bible is the original ‘Good Book’. These treasured volumes have travelled down through ages and generations, often in remarkable condition, and would now grace any home library.
Long before the days of cameras and photograph albums, selected bibles were printed with specifically titled pages for the family tree.
Here, a family’s ancestors recorded (in handwriting) the immutable milestones of births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and other intimate details of a family’s joys and sorrows on the journey through life.
Nowadays, genealogists routinely refer to lovingly preserved Family Bibles to fill the gaps left by government censuses, or where the family tree pre-dates the official records.
To own a vintage Family Bible is not only to preserve a family’s history, but to ride in a time-machine back to the days when lifetime events inevitably involved not just the human participants, but God’s Word and House, represented by the Bible and Church. If not a formal ‘Family Bible’, many Christian households kept at least one book of scripture from a beloved grandparent, godparent, or perhaps from an ancestor’s schooldays.
While these books might not have been the traditional type with set-aside pages for hand-written records, they often contained little clues and memories of the past – a mother’s maiden name and school class number, names of godparents at a baptism, the name of infant who passed away in childhood (common practice in Victorian family bibles), or a note of the Biblical lessons read at a marriage.
And by the way, being a practising Christian is not a prerequisite to owning a vintage Family Bible. Being a lover of high quality, cared for antique books is as good a reason as any to own one of these publishing masterpieces.
Perhaps now in the 21st century, with the instantly forgettable and delete-able nature of family records such as mobile phone photography and social media posts, families will begin to look again at the printed family bible as something timeless, uniquely special and worth passing on to future generations.Shop vintage Christian books
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