Facebook kindly notified me that a distant cousin of mine, Henry J, had posted some items on my timeline. Among the many photos of his family’s memorabilia that he’d posted and shared, there was this absolute gem below:
OK, it’s not going to be a gem for anyone outside of the wider Sheffey family. However, it was like the Hope Diamond of gems for me and my family research. The image above is the inner leaf of Henry’s family bible. His mother had stumbled upon it some place or another in her house.
The names written inside this bible are for members of the Wythe County and Smyth County Sheffey family in Virginia. Late 19th Centurt and early 20th Century Sheffeys. And, for the first time, I had maiden names for some of the ladies who married into the family. Which meant they were genealogical dead ends no longer.
No longer dead ends, I could now take these women’s family stories back another two 9and in one case, four) generations…unveiling a criss-crossing of family marriages between their families and mine. Oh yes, my family tree on Ancestry.com now has many more new branches thanks to this find, particularly relating to the Brown, Robinson and Hill families.
Even better, I had middle names. Benjamin M Sheffey was now Benjamin Moutain Sheffey. With full names supplied, Ancestry went into overdrive offering up hint after hint. All manner of documents and certificates came to light: marriage, death, birth and baptism records.
Old family bibles, those original databases and filing cabinets….can be worth their weight in gold.