Bryan Family Bible – The Best Laid Plans…

Related posts:
Treasure Chest Thursday – Bryan Family Bible
A Letter from George Washington Bryan
In Praise of Women’s Bodies

Since the front cover and first few pages of the Bible are missing, I don’t know if anything of interest or genealogical value were lost with them. The pages designated for recording family information are between the Old and New Testaments, and those pages are mostly intact. First is an untitled page on the left and a page to record births on the right.


Here’s a closer look at the Births page

James W. Bryan was born June 28th 1856.
Rosa Hoskins was born Jan 2th 1869
William F. Bryan Was born September the 6th 1885 188(5 or 3)
Jesse James Bryan was born July 4th 1887.
Georgia Anna Bryan was born Oct 16th 1888.
Henry Ward Bryan was born Feb. 4th 1890.
Frances Jane Bryan was born Sept 18th 1891
Daniel Webster Bryan was April 1th 1893
Della Mae Bryan was born April 2th 1895
Nancy Luella Bryan was born Oct 17th 1896
Thomas Wesly Bryan was born March 14th 1898
Sarah Alice Bryan was born Oct 2th 1899
Mamie Myrtle Bryan was born Sept 12th 1901
Lewis Marion Bryan was born Jan 18th 1904
Edna Lelia Bryan was born June 15th 1905
Nellie Ruth Bryan was born Aug 30th 1909
Hattie Rosa Bryan was born Feb 3 1912

How exciting to find all of this information recorded by a family member! A wealth of names and dates!

IDSCN3124 - Version 2t looks to me as though the same person recorded most of the births. There is a little wavy line drawn about an inch below the word “births”. It makes me think that whomever recorded these births knew they were missing information about births that occurred before the first one they knew – the birth of Jesse James Bryan in 1887 – so they left a space where earlier births could be added. Someone else appears to have recorded the birth of William F. Bryan, but used all of the allotted space for this one entry. This addition looks like it was first written in pencil and then gone over in ink. The second writer may have also made the little wavy pencil line, which mimics the little line printed below the word “births”.

Ah – the best laid plans! Once Person-With-Too-Big-Handwriting added the birth of William F. Bryan, it looks like the first writer took matters back into his or her own hands and recorded the births of James W. Bryan and Rosa Hoskins at the top of the page and still in chronological order.

Since William’s birth looks like it was first written in pencil, it could have been erased. Did the first writer preserve the dignity of the second writer and let the addition stand even though it wasn’t what he or she wanted the page to look like?

I initially thought that the second writer was probably a younger member of the family – and the addition of the wavy line seems to support that. But as I look at the handwriting again, I see that it could be the handwriting of an older person. Maybe three people contributed to the page: the primary writer, the second writer, and the wavy line drawer – a question that may never be answered. I like to think that the primary writer chose to preserve what the second writer added – but with one correction. The year was first written “out of bounds”, and it looks like the first writer wrote the year a second time, closer to the rest of the entry.

I have no idea who recorded these births, but he or she was alive in 1912 as that is the last recorded birth on this page in their handwriting.

Now that I’ve started this, I’m not exactly sure of where I’m going. I hadn’t even noticed the purpose of the little wavy line until I started writing this post so certainly had not planned to write about it. I think I’m just going to let the genealogy muse lead me along. And the muse is telling me that we will come back to the page on the left at a later time.

I wonder if I’ll be able to determine the possible writers as I work my way through the pages of the Bible?


3 thoughts on “Bryan Family Bible – The Best Laid Plans…

  1. What a lot of births! You are very fortunate. I’ve found that it’s hard to identify handwritings, because most people’s handwriting changes as they grow up, then changes again as they grow older. The Family Bible is the gold standard in birth dates, though — according to the DAR, even better than a census. I don’t know how big your family tree is so far, but all this will certainly help fill it out!

    • I’ve had the Bible for some time now, so it really did help me get the names and dates in order. In fact, it also cleared up a mystery for me – a name that I saw repeated on tree after tree that just didn’t make sense. I’ll share that in one of these posts.

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