A Family Bible Mystery – Solved!

I have had in my possession for more than 20 years, a family bible with the name Hutchins inside the front cover. My 3x great grandfather Theodore Hutchings was born about 1789 according to census records, but the Theodore listed in the bible was born in 1890 – about one hundred years later. I had put the bible away, thinking it was worth preserving but that I wasn’t sure how I connected to the family.

Bible 2

Recently, I have been working again on my 3x great grandfather Theodore Hutchings – I have been stuck on who his parents were – and recently found a fourth cousin on Ancestry who had information about his parents. When I asked about her source of the information, she told me that many years ago she had sat down with an elderly distant relative in Bucksport, Maine, who was considered an expert on the family. She was later able to verify the information she received that Theodore’s parents were Jeremiah Hutchings and Sarah Littlefield. I remembered the bible, carefully wrapped in tissue, tucked away in a drawer.  I dug out the bible and took another look. The leather-bound bible is in very sad condition – the pages are brittle and there is a strong odor of mildew. It has had some water damage.

The first pages of the bible are missing, so no publication date was obvious at first glance. Inside the front cover is inscribed “Sarah Hutchins of Old York.”  Hmmm…I know my Theodore was born in Old York.

Bible Cover scan Sarah

I gingerly flipped through the pages and came to the blank page where someone (probably Sarah?) had written the names and dates of birth of eight children. It was on the back side of the first page of the New Testament where I found a publication date for the bible of 1805! Ok, we have a date – the bible is 211 years old! I looked at the list of children again – here’s a rough transcription of how it was written:

“Stephen Hutchings was born in 29 May 1888, Theodore Hutchings was born in November 7 = 1890, Deborah Hutchings was born in February — 1892, –Hutchings was born in January 8 = 1893 [?], Edward Hutchings was born in January 27 = 1897, Prissilen was born in January 23 = 1801, Ebenezer was born in December 20 = 1803, Abgiel was born in January 13 1805.”

Scan of family - children of Jeremiah Hutchings and Sarah Littlefield

The bible was published in 1805. This page was probably written in 1805 or a little later. I researched these siblings and discovered that the first five children, listed as having been born in the late 1800’s were actually born in the late 1700’s. Their birth order makes it clear that whoever wrote this page (Sarah????), put 18__ instead of 17__ for the first five children. Of course they would be listed chronologically! And this is MY Theodore – born November 7, 1790! And the bible belonged to my 4x great grandmother, Sarah Littlefield Hutchings! Oh, Sarah, you had me fooled for a very long time.

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About Deborah Lee Stewart

I try to get photos returned to family members at no charge. Please contact me if you are related to any of the people in the rescued photos that I post. I can be reached at: deborahleestewart@gmail.com

9 responses to “A Family Bible Mystery – Solved!”

  1. renaissancemoon says :

    How odd that she would not correct that at some point. I understand making that error though!

  2. Jana Last says :

    What a wonderful family heirloom!

  3. Jana Last says :


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2016/07/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-july-8-2016.html

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Graham Cocks says :

    Thank you Deborah. Those, like me, who have been researching the children of Jeremiah and Sarah (Littlefield) Hutchings had been unable to find records of their births. Now we have them. I am sure many will appreciate your find.

  5. Dierdra Hutchins Cahill says :

    Hi Sarah is my 5th Great Grandmother. Who is the family expert in Bucksport, ME. I am going there next weekend. Thank you, Dierdra Hutchins Cahill

    • Deborah Lee Stewart says :

      Hi Dierdra – Sarah is my 4th great grandmother – so we are cousins! Would love to see your family tree. I don’t have connections in Bucksport. However, the people at the Bucksport library are very helpful and they have a nice little local genealogy section. I suggest you call ahead and see if they have anyone who can help you. Unfortunately the library is only open from 10 to 12 on Saturday. http://www.buckmemoriallibrary.50megs.com/about.html

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