Sunday, March 24, 2013

4. Dennis Buggy's Bible

4.  Dennis Buggy’s Bible

Dennis Buggy’s bible has turned up![1]  Discussion of vital records is on hold, as family-held records often contain the information we seek. This bible belonged to Dennis Buggy; his name is embossed on the cover.  Unfortunately it offers no information on Dennis’ birth.  Preprinted pages between the Old and New Testaments record family marriages beginning with daughter Nelly, births beginning with son Richard, and deaths beginning with wife Catherine.  The year given for Dennis Buggy’s death (1916) is different from the Phelan book (1915), throwing suspicion on both sources.  More information from other sources will eventually clear up the confusion.  Because this source of information is so valuable, I’ll discuss it in detail and share photos of it in the hope that someone will glean and carefully analyze the information for Buggy family history.

Dating the bible
Information found in a bible is generally the most accurate when it is entered at the time of the event, say, the day of or within days of that event.  Dating the bible and dating the entries determine the reliability of the information.

Dennis Buggy’s bible bears no date of publication, but a plate facing the title page is dedicated to Pope Leo XIII, whose reign began in 1878.  The first page of Calmet’s…Dictionary of the Bible, bound in the bible, bears a copyright of 1879.  A preprinted (blank) marriage certificate form bound with the birth, marriage, and death record pages, has a fill-in date “188__,” so the bible was surely published in 1880 or later.

It appears to be the same bible as one currently (March 2013) offered for sale online and advertised as published in 1880:

Dennis Buggy's name from front cover               

Catherine Buggy's name from back cover           
Dating the information
Preprinted pages bound between the Old and New Testaments allow space for notation of marriages, births, and deaths.  Handwriting and ink indicate that at least two different people entered information in Dennis Buggy’s bible.

One person made the earliest entries as early as 1910 and as late as 1940.
            Black ink, one sitting: marriages 1885-1894 and births 1856-1910
            Same hand, blue ink, one sitting: marriages 1921-1929, deaths 1906-1940

Another hand used blue, ball point, and black ink to record entries closer to the time of the events: deaths 1951-1972, marriages 1951 and 1955, and births 1929-1961.

The entries made one at a time are more likely to be reliable than those entered all at once as if copied from another source or from family memory.  Comparing the dates with those from other sources will give reliable information.

Dennis Buggy bible, ca. 1800, Marriages

Dennis Buggy bible, ca. 1880,  Deaths

Dennis Buggy bible, ca. 1880, births, detail

Value for establishing Dennis Buggy’s birth
This bible offers no information about Dennis Buggy’s birth except one speculation:  It is an elegant, extravagant bible, probably very expensive, one that could have been offered as a gift.  Assuming that it was published in 1880 and that the 1830 date of Dennis Buggy’s death is correct, it could have been a fiftieth birthday present.


 Next time: the surprise in the bible!

Pending, on order
Microfilm of Freshford parish registers

[1] The Holy Bible Containing the Entire Canonical Scriptures, According to the Decree of the Council of Trent; Translated from the Latin Vulgate: Diligently Compared with the Hebrew, Greek, and Other Editions in Divers Languages.  The Old Testament, First Published by the English College at Douay, A.D. 1609.  The New Testament, by the English College at Rheims, A.D. 1582.  Revised and Corrected According to the Clementine Edition of the Scriptures, with Annotations by the Rev. Dr. Challoner; to Which is Added The History of the Holy Catholic Bible, and Calmet's Illustrated and Explanatory Catholic Dictionary of the Bible.  Each Edited by the Rev. Ignatius F. Horstmann, D.D….and Prepared Under the Special Sanction of His Grace, The Most Rev. James F. Wood, D.D., Archbishop of Philadelphia…With Elegant Steel Plates and Other Appropriate Engravings.  Philadelphia: John E. Potter and Company, No. 617 Sansom Street.  The covers are embossed with “dennis buggy” and “catherine buggy,” whose deaths are noted in its pages.  It measures 12½”x10”x4”.  The spine and covers have been professionally restored.  The bible probably passed from Dennis and Catherine to their son Richard, to his son Edward, to his son Charles, to the present owner, who requests anonymity.

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, CG,

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