Friday, August 14, 2009

The Incredible Traveling Bible

What an amazing week! Last Tuesday August 4th, I received an email through from a woman who wanted to know what my relationship was to James R Vandervort. I wrote her back and explained that I was James' great-great-great granddaughter (mom, grandma, g-grandpa Charles Lorenzo, GG James Baker, GGG James R - fyi). She informed me that she had acquired a Vandervort family Bible which she had bought on Ebay. She also said that she belonged to a geneology group that had a project of acquiring "orphaned" family Bible and returning them to their families. Once I had assured her of my connection, she said that she would send the Bible to me. To my surprise as well, I had already planned a trip to California because I needed to get my daughter to LA by the 9th. So we arranged to meet on Sunday the 9th. In the meantime, I notified a group of other Vandervort descendents. We all email each other with information! Then Jackie, our internet angel, sent nine photos taken of the Bible and its content. I forwarded them on to the group and Arlyn began working on making those photos even more legible and sent them back around. No one could believe our fortune! It was simply amazing.

So Thursday evening we began our road trip to California. We had fun driving down and visitingfriends. On Sunday we (my other daughter and I) said goodbye to Ash and she and her group left for Mexico. Beth and I then headed down to meet our orphaned Bible contact.

What a fun afternoon! We followed the directions to Scott and Jackie's house and "met" the Vandervort family Bible. There are pages of information, most of which centers on cousins. The entries in the Bible began with the marriage of William E Vandervort and his bride Katie Katura Medd and includes births, deaths and marriages that occured during their lifetime and after. There is also other geneology information on the family and even a photo of the lovely Nina Vandervort Murphy taken in 1904. What a treasure trove!

Not only did Jackie and Scott refuse payment for the Bible -- which they got for a bargain of $26 on Ebay!, but in addition they took us to a terrific and authentic Mexican lunch! We visited Old Temecula and wandered through antique stores and even visited the old town jail which was covered by a cascade of brilliant bouganvilla. What a delightful afternoon. After we went back to their house, we chatted a little longer. Jackie had taken all the additional papers that had been scattered through the Bible and put each item in a protective plastic sheet and put them all in a three-ring binder.

I can't say thanks enough to Jackie and to the Orphaned Bible project! They write "We buy old familiy bibles and then research each family to find living descendants of the original owners of the bible. When we find a home for the bible, we send the bible to the familily. We do not expect anything in return. Knowing that the bibles have returned home to their families is very rewarding to us." For more information they do have a website listed for more information -- .

Following our time with Jackie and Scott, we visited other friends and then began the long trek homeward on Monday morning, arriving Wed morning at 1:00 AM! Back to work and squeezing in fun projects between responsibilities. I'm now in process of scanning everything so that I can pass the best copies possible on to my VDV (Vandervort) Gang!

I have begun posting my family tree on Ancestry because altho I have a personal family tree computer program, I am hoping that the information, photos and letters posted will be always available to family members in the decades ahead. It is so easy for information to disappear as our older generations pass on and are no longer available to answer our myriad questions. Jackie has contributed much to our family tree by rescuing this old, fragile Bible and returning it to those of us who care. Perhaps we will know someday how it came to migrate from California to Oaklahoma where it was bought at a garage sale and later offered for sale on Ebay. We are so grateful to Doug -- who and wherever he is --that offered it for sale and did not leave it silent and neglected.