“The thing is, each family Bible has a story,” Joseph Kerry says. Learn more about his incredible work returning Bibles back to the families whose genealogy is recorded inside.
It’s been about five years since Joseph Kerry discovered an old, but beautiful family Bible at a yard sale. Inside he found a treasure of family history information from a family long-since forgotten, or so it seemed. While at the yard sale it started to rain. He immediately felt the need to protect the Bible – cover it up somehow. “I started thinking that the rain would destroy the Bible and all that family history inside,” he said as he patted that very Bible (he refers to it as the Wheeler Bible) sitting in front of him in his office in Ogden, Utah.
After that, he found himself scooping up Bibles at yard sales and thrift stores. He told friends and colleagues about his finds and the need he felt to record that history with FamilySearch or Ancestry, and to find the descendants of the names in each Bible. He started thinking…”We rescue whales, we rescue seals, why not rescue Bibles,” he said with an impish grin. Thus the nonprofit, Bible Rescue was born.
Kerry now houses stacks and shelves full of Bibles and as volunteers come in and review the family history in the Bibles, they tag them with the predominant family name. Then they are shelved until another volunteer photographs the pages of family history. The most thrilling finds are ones that include photographs inside. Another volunteer submits the information to FamilySearch and other family history organizations.