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Friday, 24 November 2017

The Gift of a Family Bible: November Blog Party Challenge

Elizabeth O'Neil  of My Descendants' Ancestors  hosts the Genealogy Blog Party and this month invites us to share  what genealogy source we are thankful for this year. 

Thanks to my blog, I have been gifted a  family bible  - belonging to my paternal great grandfather, John Matthews of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.

The bible is a very weighty tome, more suited to a church lectern than a volume for the home.   The elaborate first title page proclaims it as:
"The Illustrate National Family Bible. with the commentaries of Scott & Henry, containing many thousand critical and explanatory notes , edited by the Rev. John   Eadie,  Professor of Bible Literature to the United Presbyterian Church."

Published by Cassell  & Company, a small  insert announces that the edition has been especially prepared for  subscribers and is not available through general  booksellers.  

The 11 page  preface, written by the Rev. John Eadie of Glasgow,  is dated July 1851 

My father's side of the family (Weston and Matthews) has always remained rather shadowy.  They lived some distance from where we lived and we only met them once or twice  a year, plus the fact that so few photographs have survived of the two families.    They have not featured much in my research beyond the basic facts of names and dates, and an occasional article on my blog. 

So I was amazed to receive, via my blog,  an e-mail from a Matthews connection through marriage;  moreover with  the wish to give family treasures to a direct descendantWe corresponded, met  and spent a happy afternoon chatting about our family history research.  
I always knew from my father that his maternal grandfather John Matthews was a prominent member of the Methodist Church,  but had not delved into research to find out more. 

John Matthews ( 1843-1918)my paternal great grandfather

Matilda Matthews, nee Simpson ( 1849-1929),  my paternal great grandmother

Illustrated pages in the Bible gave space to record family events,  headed by John, born 21st July 1843 at Cookley, Worcestershire, died 17th September 1918, aged 75 at Lanesfield  Parish in Sedgley, buried in the family grave at Sedgley.

John married  Matilda  (no maiden name given) at St. Andrew Church, Wolverhampton 29th May 1871.  Matilda was born in Birmingham 19th January 1849 and died at Lanesfield  in 1929. 

The birth of their ten children,  and also their marriages, is recorded. 

  • Alice Maud, born 1872
  • John Percy, born 1874 - my father's Christian names.
  • Mary Barbara, born 1876 - my grandmother 
  • Fanny Elizabeth, born 1878
  • Arthur William , born 1880
  • Annie, born 1882 
  • Samuel Albert, 1884
  • Harry, born 1886
  • Charles, born 1888
  • James Alfred, born 1892   
    John and Matilda suffered the early loss of four of their children:
    • Charles did not survive infancy, dying in 1889.
    • Fanny Elizabeth died aged 33 in 1909
    • John Percy died aged 36 in 1910 - his namesake, my father,  was born in 1912. 
    • Arthur William, aged 35, killed in action at Gallipoli - remembered on the Helles Memorial  in Turkey. leaving a widow and two young children. 

    My grandmother Mary Barbara Matthews

    The gift of the family bible has given me a great incentive to find out more about my father's family  - and bring them out of the shadows.  


    • I obtained the marriage certificate of John and Matilda to establish that her maiden name was Simpson. 
    • I googled "A Scott & Henry Bible" to find numerous entries on EBay and Amazon.
      Mine is not for sale!  

    Genealogy Blog Party

    Click on the link above  to see  other bloggers at this November Blog Party. 



    1. What an incredible gift! You must have bee thrilled to receive it.

    2. Receiving a family Bible that old, especially as it belonged to family about whom you knew so little, must have made your day - and week - and month - and year. I would have been over the moon!

    3. You never know who your blog may reach. This is an incredible gift. I hope it leads to many new research discoveries.

    4. Thank you all for your kind comments on my marvelous gift.


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