An old family Bible that was found in a secondhand chest of drawers is now back in the hands of relatives, thanks to detective work, which included a sharp-eyed genealogist in the UK, and a story in Hibiscus Matters.
When Casey Watt of Wainui found the Bible in a chest of drawers purchased from the Whangaparaoa Salvation Army store she set out to find the owner.
As a result, two relatives of the Bible’s owner, who did not previously know each other, were found.
The Bible belonged to the family of James Spence Dickey, and the names of the Dickey children were handwritten in it, dating from the mid-19th Century to 1901.
A story in Hibiscus Matters October 5 paper alerted Wayne Dickey of Titirangi, a descendant of James Spence Dickey, that the Bible had been found. He collected it from Casey last month.
He says he will have the battered covers repaired so that the Bible can be handed down to future generations.
Jennifer Marshall of Browns Bay, a descendant of James Spence Dickey’s wife, Isabella Gracie, also got in touch.
She heard about the Bible after a genealogist in England spotted the story in Hibiscus Matters’ e-edition. That person, like Jennifer, is on Ancestry.com, made the connection and contacted Jennifer.
Wayne has a keen interest in genealogy and says it is great to have the Bible and see the handwriting of his great great uncle.
It seems that the Bible could have been in the effects of Ailsa Harris, James Spence Dickey’s granddaughter, who lived in Whangaparaoa. She died a few years ago and the Bible could have gone to the Sallies at that stage.
Casey says she wants to thank everyone who helped locate the Bible’s owners. “It’s amazing how quickly everyone jumped in to help and all the effort they put in,” she says. “It’s awesome that we got it back to the family and found not one, but two relatives.”
James Spence Dickey
James Spence Dickey was born in 1852 in Northern Ireland and came to Auckland in 1865 to join family already living here. He initially settled on the Awhitu Peninsula, later living in Thames where he had a carting business, taking things around the district by horse and cart.
James bought a dairy farm in Te Puke and farmed there until he died in 1925. He married twice – his first wife, Marion Gracie, died of TB in 1880 and two years later, James married her younger sister, Isabella. Altogether he had 10 children.