This is the kind of story that just makes you feel good all over. About 12 years ago, my aunt presented me with a very old bible that was found in my grandparent’s house in Dayton, Ohio. When my grandfather passed away, my aunt and mother were cleaning out the house, and happened to find it. My aunt knew I was into genealogy, so to me it went. The bible had been time worn, and was falling apart.
Although I couldn’t find a publication date, I’d guess it dates from the turn of the century. It contained a few obituaries cut from newspapers, and several pages of assorted of births, deaths and marriages (some from the 1800s). That information is hard to come by, and would be solid gold for that family. Historic surnames listed in the bible include Morton and Grey (in addition to Hughes). The bible clearly at one time belonged to Walter Louis Hughes (b. 1912) and his wife Emma (Lee), who were from Maysville, Kentucky, located in Mason County:
Walter’s parents were Walter Hughes Sr. and Bertie (maiden name unknown). Walter had migrated with his wife and children from Kentucky to Dayton, Ohio, and probably lived in the house my grandparents eventually bought, or one of the houses they owned. Walter and Emma had a large family—I counted at least 10 children in the Bible (Goldie, Mary, Emma, Ruth, Walter III, William, Joyce, Audrey, Michael, and Trenia). Walter’s obituary was cut out & placed in the bible:
At that time, online resources were few. Afrigeneas was one of the first major sites to focus on African-American centered genealogy and using Afrigeneas, I posted my information looking for these families. Amazingly, I got an email back from Mary, whose mother was from Maysville and a Hughes cousin in this family. She was thrilled and excited. Her mother is also involved in preserving Maysville African-American history.
After that, I dropped the ball. I don’t know what happened. Probably just the stuff of life, but nothing else happened. A few months ago, while preparing for a renovation, I came upon the Bible again, buried deeply in my basement. Fortunately, I had printed out the email from Mary and placed it in the box, but that was from 2002. I called the numbers, feeling awful about not having sent it when I had the chance.
But as the spirits would have it, Mary’s phone numbers were the same! I called and she remembered our correspondence all those years ago. I absolutely believe the spirits have a hand in it when something like this happens. I sent the Bible immediately, because I know if that were about my family, I’d just about die to have it. I also digitized the pages. Even though the Bible is not in the immediate family (i.e., one of Walter & Emma’s children), I feel really good that is within the extended family and back in Kentucky where it belongs. I wanted to post it here just in case any of Walter or Emma’s descendants decide to do an internet search one day on their family.
Just because I couldn’t resist, I looked up Walter and Emma and found them in Kentucky in the early 1900s.