Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Family Bibles in the Digital Public Library of America

I haven't written about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) for a while. They have been busy adding more and more resources. Presently, they have 8,416,443 items online for free access from around the United States. This is one of those websites around the world that keep acquiring digital content without much fanfare in the genealogical community. For example, the DPLA has over 700,000 digitized records from the National Archives. That is probably getting close to the largest collection of these documents anywhere online outside of the mainly military records on

In a recent blog post, the DPLA highlighted "Family Bible records as genealogical resources." As the post points out:
Interested in using DPLA to do family research, but aren’t sure where to start? Consider the family Bible. There are two large family Bible collections in DPLA—over 2,100 (transcribed) from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, andanother 90 from the South Carolina Digital Library. They’re filled with rich information about family connections and provide insight into how people of the American South lived and died during the—mainly—18th and 19th centuries. 
Prior to October 1913 in North Carolina, and January 1915 in South Carolina, vital records (birth and death, specifically) were not documented at the state level. Some cities and counties kept official records before then, and in other cases births and deaths were documented—when at all—by churches or families. Private birth, death, and marriage events were most often recorded in family Bibles, which have become rich resources for genealogists in search of early vital records.
One of the frustrating things about the digitization of records through out the world is that many of them dealing with a particular area or time are in fragments located in different online databases around the world. The DPLA is trying to consolidate records from a variety of institutions around the country. It has a long way to go, but it is getting more and more support and the number of records it links and searches online continues to grow.

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