The Washington County Free Library is seeking old family Bibles and church records that were used to note the dates of births, marriages and deaths.
Such information is used by people researching family histories and is sometimes the only written record of that history.
Marriages have long been recorded in local courthouses, said John Frye, director of the Western Maryland Room at the library.
But births and deaths went unrecorded by the State of Maryland until 1898, he said.
"So the only available way to check the dates of births and deaths is church or Bible records," Frye said. "There's no other way to prove a birth or death. Thus those records become very important."
Marsha Fuller, public relations coordinator at the library, said an old tradition was to note the dates of births, marriages and deaths on blank pages in the family Bible. Generally, those pages were between the Old and New testaments, she said.