By Don Krüger
In 1963 my fifth grade class was given a family tree project and that was when my mother showed me the Hanshaw Family Bible for the first time. It was impressive in size, about like an unabridged dictionary. The first several yellowed and brittle pages of the book consisted of handwritten registers of the births, deaths and marriages of our ancestors.
I remember another sheet of paper tucked inside the front cover that showed the Millard family lineage of 12 generations going back to John Millard who arrived in Colonial America in 1639. My mother told me that back in the old days people often would get their first names from the maiden names of thier mothers. And so, she explained, we were probably related to president Millard Fillmore.
The eroding effects of time and climate took their toll on the family bible and it no longer exists. Fortunately, my cousin and my sister-in-law had the foresight to make reproductions of the family history portions of the old book, as well as some other important papers and artifacts.
The inscription, in Perry Hanshaw’s hand, simply says:
Father and Mother
Chauncey & Elizabeth A Hanshaw
Ithaca February the 1st 1894
Hazel Louise (Hanshaw) Davenport was born seven months later on August the 13th.
And so our ancestors, Chauncey and Elizabeth Hanshaw, presented to their descendants some form of a sustainable system to maintain our family history. Pen and paper and faith were the best technologies they had available to them. And it worked. The information goes back almost 400 years.
And now, 120 years later, We are doing the same as Chauncey and Elizabeth Hanshaw. We are presenting to our descendants some form of a sustainable system to maintain our family history. Digitization and the Internet and faith are the best technolgoies we have available to us.
Here are the Registers of Births, Register of Marriages, and Register of Deaths from the family bible.