The Lost Bible’s Homecoming: Local Genealogist Helps Solve The Mystery

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(WHNT) - In January, WHNT News 19 brought you the story of the Lost Bible. A 100-year-old Bible was found in North Carolina and we were inspired to take action with a goal of helping find the rightful owner.

Kaitlyn Ducote found the Bible in North Carolina in April 2011.  She has been searching for the owner ever since.  The Bible had the owner's names, William and Carrie Dunn, and a list of family births they wrote in it.

It also contained a couple of keepsakes, including some rose petals, a picture, and a 1937 California chauffeur's license issued to one of the Dunn's sons.

We put the call to action out to our viewers, and local genealogists graciously volunteered to help.

The day after our story aired, we had dozens of emails from people who had looked into the mystery.  Wanda Capps was one of them.

"Well, as soon as the news program was over I went straight to the computer and stayed up until 1 o’clock looking for it," said Capps.


Watch the four parts of our special report above. In Part 1, we begin the search for the owner.  In Part 2, a Huntsville woman helps us put the puzzle together.  In Part 3, Kaitlyn Ducote of North Carolina sends the Bible home with a special note.  In Part 4, the Bible's owner, Jeanne Dunn, receives this piece of family history.


Part 4: Bible Returns Home to Family in Pennsylvania Part 3: North Carolina Woman Ships Bible Home Part 2: Huntsville Woman Helps Put Pieces Together Part 1: Starting the Search for the Bible's Home

Capps loves genealogy, saying her daughter got her into it in 1999.

"It’s so much fun -- I encourage anyone to get into it," Capps said. "It’s like finding a puzzle piece, putting another puzzle piece in."

Capps helped us with our puzzle.

"When [the news story] went off I jumped straight to the computer because that’s just a challenge to me, especially a Bible," said Capps. "I had to really search for a while, go to different places, different areas to find one.  I began to see the same one, then this one… records, marriage records, I just believe this is the one, I really did!"

Capps' search led to the Dunn family in Pennsylvania. WHNT  News 19 contacted Jeanne Dunn.

"We spent a lot of time looking for it," Dunn said.  How many? Sixty years.

"This is amazing. No one knew where it went to.  Nobody had it.  Nobody knew what happened to it. We’d all thought she'd given it to one of the daughters.  She said no she didn't.  Nobody knew where it was," Dunn said.

Dunn is referring to her late mother-in-law, Carolyn Dunn.  Family members had asked where the Bible might have gone.  But, she didn't know.

Jeanne believed the Bible was a wedding present to Carolyn from her late father-in-law, George Dunn.

We shared the information with Kaitlyn Ducote in North Carolina.  She was relieved about the news and glad to be able to send it to Jeanne Dunn.

"I hope they will cherish this and appreciate it as much as I would my own," Ducote said.

Before she let the Bible go, she wrote the family a note to be added to the pages of history.  It's just one more memory to add to this family heirloom.

“I feel at peace, excited that they have this family Bible because I would be totally ecstatic if someone brought something that historical to me.  I’d appreciate it, cherish it," Ducote said.

WHNT's sister station, WNEP, helped deliver the Bible to Jeanne Dunn in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know if my husband were here, he'd do the same thing," said Jeanne Dunn.

"I've never heard of anybody doing anything so wonderful for strangers," Dunn added.

It turns out the Bible was returned home on an important milestone.  Jeanne Dunn said she received it on the fifth anniversary of her husband George's death.

It was a bittersweet day.  But, Dunn said she is thankful for everyone who played a part in the journey to bring the Bible home.

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