DAR wants your old Bible records to preserve history

By Lynda Abegg
Special to the Courier

PICKENS — Do you have an old Bible at home? Maybe it’s sitting in a dusty box in the attic with a lot of old photographs. Maybe it once belonged to your crazy Great-aunt Bess, who always claimed she was related to George Washington. Maybe it’s kept in a glass case in the living room and no one is allowed to touch it.

Mary Ann Ward displays her family Bibles.

Mary Ann Ward displays her family Bibles.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) want your old Bible records. According to Harriet Nash, registrar for the Fort Prince George Chapter of DAR, Bible records have long been a family’s way of recording special moments in their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

“Bibles have been handed down through families for many generations,” Nash said. “These family records are priceless, for they tell, in the very handwriting of our ancestors, the story of their lives.”

Particular emphasis is on records of the 1880s and 1890s to help fill in the void left by the loss of the 1890 federal census in a fire in 1921, but older historical records, particularly Bible records and cemetery transcripts, are always wanted.

Mary Ann Ward, 87, dusted off the box she kept her Bibles in and spread them across the coffee table.

“I have nine Bibles that date from 1888 to 1923,” she said.

Ward was pleased that DAR wants to preserve the information in her Bibles because “it is the history of my family.”

DAR established the Genealogical Research Committee in 1913, and its name was changed to the Genealogical Records Committee in 1932. The purpose of the committee is two-fold: to collect, preserve and increase the holding of unpublished genealogical source materials in the DAR Library and to make these records available worldwide through an online index.

Because DAR is concerned that many old Bibles are disintegrating and countless family histories will be lost, they will digitize the records to preserve them and make them available to the public, as well as genealogists, in the DAR Library in Washington, D.C.

“If you have a photograph or other image of the original owners of the family Bible or photographs of their immediate family, we would like copies of them, too,” Nash said. “If you wish to donate your Bible, it will be preserved in the DAR Library in Washington, D.C.”

The DAR Library, founded in 1896, has grown nto a specialized collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications, as well as powerful on-site databases. It ontains more than 225,000 books, 10,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items and special collections of African American, Native American and women’s history, genealogy and culture. Nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country. The library is free and open to the public.

“You don’t have to give up your family Bible to be part of the preservation of your family’s history,” SC DAR membership chair Lynda Abegg said. “Make a copy of the Bible’s title page and copyright page, as well as the handwritten pages with birth and death information and take it to your local DAR chapter.”

Contact Abegg at to find the chapter closest to your home and to get detailed instructions to submit your pages.  DAR has 71 chapters in South Carolina, added Abegg.

Known as one of the largest women’s patriotic organizations in the world, DAR has more than 180,000 members with 3,000 chapters in the United States, as well as chapters in 13 foreign countries. DAR has long promoted patriotism through commemorative celebrations, memorials, scholarships and activities for children as well as programs for new immigrants. For more information on DAR and its programs, visit

To submit your Bible’s history, scan, copy or photograph the title page, copyright page, marriage record page, birth record page and death record page.