Family Bibles


In recent posts, there was comment about the lack of “evidence” of our ancestors, particularly those who came from a life of poverty.  Other than some facts found on birth and death certificates and the census, it is difficult to find anything else that would tell a story of a life, “put the meat on the bones” .  There is always the hope of finding war records, medals, family bibles, photographs and so on.

Although we do not have a family bible, nor has there ever been one that I know of, I am pleased to say I have my own bible, given to me on my Christening in 1959.  It doesn’t give much information – just my name and date of the Christening, but it is something I can pass down to my children.

My Bible

My Bible

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I am researching my children’s father’s family, the Kents, and recently I was given a family bible to keep for my children so that it can be passed down the family.  It is not terribly old – it was given to my children’s great-great grandfather and great-great-grandmother on the occasion of their marriage in 1898 and has some of the family tree inside.

Kent Family Bible

Kent Family Bible


Kent Family Tree

Kent Family Tree


There is much now to be added to the family tree in the bible, but I hesitate to add it in as my hand writing is terrible and I would hate to spoil the lovely old bible. Perhaps I will just type it out on paper and slip it inside.

It was exciting to be given the bible and then to find the family tree inside. There were a few bits and pieces also inside including a couple of certificates, a newspaper cutting which I believe was from 1934 about the 24th anniversary of the accession to the throne of King George V. Also inside was a material postcard (for want of a better description) of RMS Marama. I found some information on the ship and it seems to have some relationship to the Titanic. I can also find some passenger lists. However, I have not been able to work out the connection as yet. I believe William Long and Dorcas Dunn, the original owners of the bible, met on board a ship en route to Melbourne. But the dates don’t match up so I doubt that has anything to do with their first meeting plus it is a Royal Mail Ship.  Looks like I have some more digging to do.

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I feel honoured to have had the bible passed to me for safe keeping until my own children have a home of their own where they can treasure it and keep it safe. While I have it here, they can enjoy looking at it when they visit without the responsibility!

A bit more of this other family…The Kent and De Vos Families

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Charles Kent and his wife, Ida (nee De Vos) with their son, Charles (Frank) abt 1896

Charles Kent and his wife, Ida (nee De Vos) with their son, Charles (Frank) abt 1896

I think this is a wonderful photo!  The furniture, the clothing (I love the little boy’s outfit!) and their pose.  I particularly like the embossing at the bottom – Skeen & Co, Colombo.  This company was very well known and respected in Ceylon in the 1890s.
To me the picture is quite exotic and when I look at the lineage of Ida,  I can see why.  I am lucky enough to have the family tree of the De Vos family which is taken from “Genealogy of the Family of De Vos” as published in “The Journal of the Dutch Burgher Union”.  This was compiled in 1910 by Frederick Henry de Vos and revised and updated in 1937 by Mr D V Altendorff.

In the photo above are the great-great grandparents of my children (on their father’s side).  They were mentioned in my previous blog.   Charlotte Ida Elizabeth de Vos was born on 14 December 1871 at Trincomalee, Ceylon and married Charles Kent on 28 December 1895.  She was one of eleven children born to (great-great-great grandparents) Harriet Hunter (born in Scotland on 28 November 1837) and John George de Vos (born Ceylon on 5 June 1835).    His parents were (great-great-great-great grandparents) John George De Vos (born 1810) and Elizabeth Euphrosine Merciana Franke.  Going back another generation, parents of John George are (5th great grandparents) Petrus Geradus de Vos (Boekhouder – meaning accountant) (1762) and his third wife Susanna Petronella Van Dort (1790).  Petrus was born to (6th great grandparents) Pieter de Vos (Boekhouder) (1731) and his second wife, Magdalena Meyer (1744-1780).  Going back another generation, Pieter was born to (7th great grandparents) Pieter de Vos Boekhouder (1698-1734) and  his second wife, Christina Polnitz (1699-1750).  My children’s 8th great grandparents from this family were Olivier de Vos (1653-1699) and  Johanna Melchiors.  I believe he was the first of the family to move to Ceylon, travelling by ship in 1673.  And going back once more, Olivier’s parents (9th great grandparents to my children) were Victor de Vos (about 1612) and Maria Jooris (1614).

Being Dutch colonists, the De Vos family were able to take control of as much land in Ceylon as they wanted.  It was said that, at one stage, the family were very wealthy and owned up to one third of the island of Ceylon!

Two points of interest that I would like to follow up on – firstly it is said that there is a direct connection between the De Vos family and Baron de Vos Van Fleming who was created a Baron in either 1235 or 1325.

Secondly, information I have to hand says that the De Vos family built and donated Alms House in Bruges, Belgium in 1713.  Apparently it has been restored and is open for inspection as part of the National Trust.   Perhaps this is somewhere my children might visit one day.

Obviously I have more research to do on this family!


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