Family Bibles, Pedigrees and the Good Ship Lollipop  


My sister Lynn brought our family Bibles over the other day. It was quite exciting. I hadn't seen them probably since I was a teenager and at the time, aside from them being the oldest books I'd ever had in my hands and the names being unknown to me I'm afraid I didn't have  enough knowledge to understand their importance to our family nor how truly lovely they are.

But now, Lynn and I breathed their dusty fragrance, marveling at the handwriting, the inscriptions, the love and lost time in these lovely and beloved books, handed down from family to family since before the civil war. They are most precious.

Written in 1765 and printed in 1821 in two volumes they are "An Evangelical Expositor or A Commentary on the Holy Bible" written by the Reverend Thomas Haweis who was the rector of Aldwinckle, Northamptonshire. After searching on the internet, I found there was actually another volume available somewhere. Thomas Haweis has such an interesting biography, a writer of poems and hymns. His comments were written before the so called "Enlightenment" of 1835. Never mind that for now. I am speaking of other things.

I traced this family from around the 1700's, backtracking to where our actual family name appeared and am writing our family tree or pedigree based on that history. As I fill in the spaces, writing names and dates I come closer to the present and my eyes often fill with tears.

Now I know how these people with the beautiful handwriting felt, the tears as they placed the little bunches of nosegays and ferns in the pages to dry over the centuries as memorials to loved one, writing the names of babies, parents, husbands and wives. Because this is my Father's family I've decided to someday trace my Mother's family before it's too late. For the most part I have lost track of that part of our family except for the occasional card or phone call. But, I have lovely memories of childhoods spent at say, Aunt Winnie's in South Carolina, the smell of her apartment (she moved twice that I know of), her big soft bed that we all shared, flowers growing around the house. I remember her soft singing in church and still have the Bible she gave me when I was in the first grade. She also taught us songs, old sweet songs, my favorite being "The Good Ship Lollypop" which I also taught my son to sing. In fact we were singing that song together on the day that she passed away on a sunny day in July 1986.