What To Do If You Have A Family Bible

Your family Bible, particularly its hand-written entries, will fade and deteriorate over time. Here are some suggestions on preserving the irreplaceable records your Bible contains:

1. Keep your Bible in a safe, dry place away from direct light and heat sources.

2. Repairs to binding, pages or hardware are NOT recommended. If considered necessary, binding repairs should be made only with archival acid-free glue and page repairs only with acid-free transparent tape.

3. Make a typewritten or hand-written transcription of your Bible records. Include, from the title page, the Bible version, publisher’s name and location, and date of publication. Include your name and the date.

4. Photocopy or photograph* all records pages including the title page. Include your name and the date.

5. NEVER write over faded handwriting or type. If you wish, make an additional photocopy of your records, or of the photographs, for this purpose. Include your name and the date.

6. Look carefully for loose items throughout your Bible and photocopy/photograph these. You may find additional family records; letters; birth, marriage or death certificates; obituaries; deeds and other items. Replace original items in your Bible.

7. Record any family history or anecdotes pertaining to the ancestors in your Bible records. Include your name and the date. Keep this material with the copies you have made.

8. Keep the copy and transcription of your Bible records with your other vital papers, in a firebox or safe deposit box.

Would you share a copy of your family Bible records with the Bergen County Historical Society’s library collection? You will be greatly enriching our unique and treasured family history resources.
For information, and questions please email See below for instructions.

* Photography is recommended in order to avoid damage from flat copying. If you would like us to digitally photograph your records for you, please


Thank-you for sharing your family Bible or other family records. You are becoming an important contributor to the family history resources of this library.

Records may be photocopied, printed from a computer file, typewritten or hand-copied, on 8-1/2?x11 paper. Please leave margins of at least one inch on all sides, and provide information in the order listed below. After copying, please check back to VERIFY ACCURACY AND COMPLETENESS. Photocopies, being exact copies, are especially welcome; however, please verify that all data is easily readable AND include the supplementary information listed below. Mail copies to Bergen County Historical Society, PO Box 55, River Edge, NJ 07661.

1. Title: Head the record with a specific title: "John Smith Family Bible Records" or, if not a Bible, "Family Record of John Smith," "Record from Mary Smith’s Sampler," or the like.

2. Copyist and Owner: Give name and address of the present owner of the record. Also, give the name and address of the copyist, and the date of copying. Please state whether your copy was made from the ORIGINAL record or from a copy. If your record is a copy of a copy, state when and by whom the earlier copy was made and where you found this copy.

3. Description: Whether Bible, book, sampler, etc., fully describe the original source. For publications, photocopy the title page or otherwise copy the following from the title page: (a) title of book, or Bible edition, (b) author, (c) publisher, and publisher’s address, (d) date of publication. Also note any inscriptions, owner’s names, etc., printed or written on covers, title page or elsewhere within the volume.

4. Biographical Information: If possible, give a brief background sketch on the early owner(s) of the record, including family origin and relationships, places of residence, and any helpful personal information such as civic, military or professional service, burial places, etc.

5. Arrangement of Records: Copy the records EXACTLY as they appear in the original, even though you may know that some errors exist. Copy exact wording, spelling, punctuation, etc. Do not abbreviate or use ditto marks, unless the original record does so. As nearly as possible, preserve the original arrangement. If a group of entries (usually at the beginning) appears to have been recorded all at the same time, this fact should be noted, as this may indicate transcription from another record or from memory – leaving room for errors to occur. Where you know the record to be in ERROR, make a note and give the source of the correct information. Also note any missing, illegible or doubtful entries. Enclose all NOTES in square brackets [ ] so they cannot be misinterpreted as being part of the original record.

6. Loose Papers: Copy all announcements, newspaper clippings, or other records which may be laid or pasted in the volume. Supply a suitable subtitle for this material so it can be distinguished from the written entries in the volume.

7. Photography: If you have original Bible records which you would allow to be photographed for our collection, please contact Mr. Robert Griffin at the above address.

* Adapted from the Genealogical Society of New Jersey’s instructions for copying Bible and family records. BCHS 8/2008