Sunday, May 27, 2012

Scandal? Intrigue? Or Just Plain Doodles?

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I volunteer at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Two weeks ago I completed an 18 month scanning project of all bible records located in the surname vertical files. To find these bible records I had to thumb through every single vertical file from A-Z. This also included naming the scans and putting them into a database. I believe the end goal is for these scans to become accessible online. Overall, it has been a project I've really enjoyed working on. And yes, there has been blood (a really nasty paper cut from a manila folder), sweat (sometimes if the air wasn't on very high and the sun was shining through the window it got rather warm), and.... well no tears. In truth, it was a very stress free environment (somewhat zen like, unless the scanner or stapler gave me attitude), especially when you compare my work at the archives to the hectic very noisy life of raising two young boys at home.

Anyway, over the last 18 months I've seen a lot of really interesting items in these vertical files. The final day of this project would prove to be just as interesting. I was working on my last drawer of files, and while scanning the title page of a bible record from the Wright file, I glance down at the second page  and this is what I see:[1]

Hannah       Statlen [?]

Thom Shult"                                                          

I'm usually pretty focused on any given task, but I have to admit this gave me pause. After all, this was somebody's bible and the word "sinners" is written along with some names. Is Hannah Statlen one person or is it two separate people? Are the sinners Hannah and Thom? Or are these just random writings/doodles on a page? I quickly looked for these names in the bible record and didn't see them (yes, I know it was off task but I couldn't help myself). I even looked, very quickly, in the file for any other information. Nothing. Hunh. So I made a copy of the page and made notes on the back regarding which file it came from. I needed to continue on and I can always go back and take more time looking for details later. There is a story here, if not in actual fact at least in fiction. I'm inspired.

[1]   [Anonymouns], "Wright Family Bible," p. 2; Wright folder 1, surname vertical files; Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville.


  1. How interesting. I want to do some sort of indexing for my genealogical society but haven't found the time yet.
    How did you get started and who would be putting it online?

    1. Tanya, The project I work on is with the Tennessee State Library and Archives. I got in touch with one of the people there and expressed my interest in volunteering. The bible project was offered up. They appropriate the server space and will put it online. If you are interested in doing a project then speak to the president of your genealogical society or get in touch with your state/local archives/library. You can even index for Family from home too. Good luck!