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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The "Die Bibel" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Trying to shut the top on our antique desk in the dining room.  Darn thing hasn't closed right since Carol did her Christmas decorating in mid-December.  Opened it and found that the large German Bible which I brought back from my mom and dad's when I was getting ready to sell their home was keeping the top from closing.  Bible must be at least six inches thick with a leather cover and kept closed with one strap.  Pulled it from the desk and began to examine it.  I've had it in the desk for a few years and must admit that I never opened it to explore what might be in it.  On the spine is a colored red band with the Old English lettering "Die Bibel."  
The hand-made marble paper is remarkable in this bible.
Beautiful hand bound Bible with unbeliev- able hand-marbled end sheets in blue, brown and red ink.  The musty smelling Bible states that it was made by the Wentz and Rovoudt Printing House in Philadelphia in 1846.  As I started to turn the pages of the Bible, written entirely in German, I couldn't help but think who else in the past has done the same thing as I am doing.  
Right-hand page titled Familien Regifter.
I passed through the early Books of the Old Testament until, when I reached page 900, I found four pages marked Familien Regifter which I assume meant Family Register in English.   There, in blue ink hand writing which is symbolic of the script longhand of the era, was a birth notice of one Lorenz N. Speidel.  The entire page, detailing the date of his birth and the city, is all written in German.  The other three pages of the register are all written in English and list other member of the Speidel family and dates of birth and in some cases death dates.  
The story of Moses is depicted in the beautiful etching.
I continued to page through more of the Bible, looking at the pages and pages of beautiful type and dotted with single-sided pages that featured etched prints that illustrated Bible stories.  Then I came upon a few pages with a slight bump in the pages.  Found a pressed carnation flower amongst the pages.  Maybe from a funeral or wedding was my assumption.  
Pressed between a page of the Bible and the family register
was a flattened carnation, probably from a family funeral.
Closer to the end were a few loose pages with more register information as well as a newspaper death notice for Mrs. Catharine Speidel who was listed as the widow of Lorenz Speidel and whom died at the residence of her daughter Mrs. Kate Bushong at No. 465 South Plum Street.  Aha!  Starting to see the light.  My father's mother's maiden name was Bushong.  
For those who can read German, this is one of the pages
from the Bible showing what is probably hand-set type
used to print this 1846 edition of the Bible in Philadelphia.
Carol told me to dig out the envelope that had the genea- logical information and there I found information telling me about one John Bushong, a French Huguenot, who arrived in Philadelphia in September of 1731 and immediately moved to Lancaster County.  So I was able to tie the Speidel and Bushong families together and sort of understand the names listed on the Familien Regifter pages of the Bible.  So, now you see, I really have a family Bible from another century that was the entire reason that the desk top wouldn't close.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.   

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