Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Follow-up to "You've been assigned a random ancestor for Memorial Day..."

I finally checked my husband's Memorial Day email from FamilySearch. Here are the results:

Ancestor Column
(Seriously!) The rest may be relatives on a family line, but definitely are not ancestors, including the person named in the email.

Ancestor's Headstones
One of them was fun to see since I am not too familiar with my husband's colonial ancestry.

View My Relationship
The listed connection to Nathaniel Tilden (1583-1641) included an incorrect generation, but despite the error in "View My Relationship" it does look like he is an ancestor.

8/30 = 27% accuracy

In Conclusion...
It looks like FamilySearch needs to keep working on its computer matching, with the caveat that since the matching is using user-generated trees, it is unlikely to reach 100% accuracy. Hopefully most people saw accuracy closer to what I saw. (85%)

I haven't kept track, but fortunately FamilySearch hints seem to have a much higher accuracy rate.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

You've been assigned a random ancestor for Memorial Day...

Today FamilySearch sent the following email...

It was bemusing since I have an ancestor with that name, but not with those dates or burial location, but I still followed the link, signed in to FamilySearch, and saw the following list...

It is pleasant to read through and think about the named ancestors and look at their graves, but the last woman on the list is not an ancestor of mine.

This is all computer matching, so how accurate was it? I'll ignore the Map Location data and just look at the three other columns. In all, there are 30 links to my tree and information within the tree.

Ancestor Column 
The entry for John Tanner still has the wrong dates but links to the correct ancestor, correcting the data in the email.
Not sure who Martha Morgan is, and it links to a woman named Matilda Nelson.

Ancestor's Headstone
John Tanner: wrong person
Martha Morgan: wrong person

View My Relationship
Martha Morgan: a relationship is listed that is not supported by the actual Family Tree. Martha Morgan disappears and Matilda Nelson is shown as the fifth great-grandmother of John Tanner, but that relationship is not in the tree.

25.5/30  =   85% accuracy

In Conclusion...
Of course I have no idea how these statistics would represent what all the FamilySearch users saw, but my husband also got an email listing someone not an ancestor. Hence the title of the blog post.

In any case, Happy Memorial Day. We're happy to remember all these people, related or not, but most especially we remember our war dead.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — December 16–19, 1884

Ann was very much a believer in dreams and visions and the other gifts of the spirit.

Tus 16     Weather cloudy went to meeting we did not have any

Wed 17     Weather fine Sister Snow died ^at^ three o clock this afternoon Anne dined here

Thu 18     Weather dull Sister Snow will be buried today at two o clock to day  last tusday week I was taking my nap after I had wake Josey and I dreamed that Sister Snow was to be buried on tusday  I called Josey and told her my dream I went to sleep again and almost forgot the Dream or impression such circumstances often occurs although I do not often mention it it proves at least that infidelity is wrong if all perish when we died and all is chance. as I asked an infidel what reveals things to me that no mortal could tell me May we live so that we can have the whisperings of the spirit it proves to me that docters can not save us they may give us some things that may dull the pain we are thankful for that  We had a letter from Maggie and a present from little Maggie

Fri 19     Weather cloudy it rained this morning Ore the gloomy hills of darknes look my soul be still and gaze


Charles Walker did not make any journal entries on these four days.

Sister Snow — Cornelia Lytle Snow (1849-1884), the wife of Mahonri Moriancumer Snow, the superintendent of the tithing office in St. George. She left six living children, one just a year old. Mahonri remarried four months later to Harriet Orilla Peters and they had eight children.

Maggie and little Maggie — Ann's daughter and granddaughter in Arizona.

Ore the gloomy hills of darknes — A Methodist hymn by Welshman William Williams. (Text, pdf score.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“The past is a force that is alive…”

“The past is a force that is alive, and, like all living things, growing and maturing, yet preserving a pattern that can be recognized and defined. From the past, we inherit not only patterns and standards, but we inherit vision, insight, strength and courage. The past has passed on to us, as part of our heritage, its unfulfilled dreams and desires, and it bides us keep faith with it in these, as well as in other things, for these, too, are a part of the contribution to advancement and progress.”

(Belle Spafford, Relief Society Annual Conference Proceedings, General Session of the Relief Society Conference, Thursday afternoon, October 4, 1945, CHL CR 11 3/60, by way of I Love Mormon Women's History.)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — December 10–15, 1884

The community is on watch against the federal marshals, and a hotheaded young man shoots his cousin. Ann blames his mother. She came from the strongly matriarchal society of Tower Hamlets, East London, so it is not an unexpected reaction.

Wed 10     Weather cold snowing raining had a letter from Heber cooked dinner & supper Baked Bread read

Thus 11     Wet cold & miserable I feel to thank God for a shelter and food and all other blessings that I have Joseph Larsen is in prison for shooting his cousin he has threatened to shoot Father [George Jarvis.] I think Mothers should teach their children to act different there is a fearful responsibility on Mothers when they do their duty few turn out like that

Fri 12     Weather raining

Sat 13     Weather wet & cold I did not attend conference I was sick

Apostle George Teasdale (1830-1907)

Sun 14      attended conference Br Teasdale & Br lyman preached Br Teasdale showed us it was not good to be hearers of the word ^alone^ I felt the good influence ^the^ sprit was abundant^ly^ poured out I felt I lost a great deal by not being their on Saturday we serve a merciful parent and we shall get all we deserve.

Mon 15     Wea fine the glourious sunshine makes the heart glad we have an invitation to the first party of the season I do not think I shall go to it.

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
13 Sat Attended conference this A. M. Some of the Bishops reported the condition of the wards. F M Lyman made some timely remarks... and discretion Presiding officers should use in recommending people to the Temple to receive sacred ordinances. Pres Snow touched on the same topics in a clear and lucid style. Night on duty as usual.

Sund 14th A.M. attended the Young Men and Ladies Conference.....There were other Meetings of interest during conference of which Br Geo Teasdale spoke, but I could not attend.

Monday 15 Dec 1884 It appears from the Papers that the courts in Arizona have sentenced Br Ammon Tenney, Bishop Christofersen [and] Kemp to serve a term of 3 years and a half in the Penitentiary for Polygamy....And this in a land of Liberty where a man ought to be protected in his constitutional right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. May God reward them for their works and all those who betray and testify against their Brethren.

Joseph Larsen — He must not have killed his cousin, or he would have been mentioned in Charlie Walker's diary. I can't find any newspaper accounts, and any court records would probably be in Beaver. 

The only person of this name and the right age in the region was Joseph Willard Larson (1860-1923), uncle of Washington County historian Andrew Karl Larson. Joseph's Swedish mother, Anna Jonsson Larson, had been dead almost a decade and his father had not remarried. 

Joseph seems to have mellowed with age. His granddaughter Dorothy Prince Carpenter recalled:
My Grandpa died when I was small, but I do remember him as being kind and loving.  He and Grandma Larson had a lovely home with beautiful flower and vegetable gardens and a few chickens and cows.  I particularly remember how neat and clean he was.  I can still see him sweeping the dirt from the walks and trails around the house and yard every day. He was ill and in pain from diabetes. He was a deeply religious man.
Br Teasdale — Apostle George Teasdale (1831-1907).

Br lyman — Apostle Francis Marion Lyman (1840-1916).

the first party of the season — She may mean the community celebration of Joseph Smith's birthday on December 23. The suspense is building: will she attend?

Dorothy Prince Carpenter and "patricianegren1," [pseud.], "Memories of Grandpa Joseph W. Larson," FamilySearch Family Tree, April 7, 2014.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Just a quick reflection

Not long ago the counter on this blog passed 250,000. That's not much compared to some blogs, but nothing I could have imagined when I began this blog back in 2007 with the sole purpose of converting my family history files to a usable format. It's been a great adventure! I've met wonderful people and developed many new skills.

In other news, I've been appointed (called as) director for the local Family History Center. That'll be another adventure! I'll occasionally write about the experience at my father's blog Rejoice, and be exceeding glad...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — November 28–December 9, 1884

The adventure this time was tracking down the identity of "Br & Sister Harmon from Orderville." They do not have any living descendants, so I spent a while working on their FamilySearch Family Tree entries, as noted below.

Ann wrote, "Thomas preached for the first done well had my faith & prayer." Her son-in-law Thomas Cottam went on to serve the Church for many years, including as President of the St. George Temple, so he probably preached many sermons, but he had to start somewhere, and he did so with his mother-in-law's faith and prayers. 

Friday [November] 28     Weather warm went to the third ward for Josey took Sister Calkins for a ride had a bad spell

Sat 29     Weather warm I cooked pies & cakes for Sunday

Sun 30     I had Br & Sister Harmon from Orderville to spend the day with us Thomas & Em called and also George & Will Webb I did not go to meeting

Dec Mon 1     Weather delightful I have spent part of the morning hunting for Fathers Green glasses had a letter from Sam

Thus 2     Weather warm went to relief Society was very sick 

Wed 3     had a bad night

Thur 4     Weather pleasant I attended fast meeting

Sat 6     Boiled some fruit made some Jelly

Sun 7     Weather very cold I do not like Father to watch such cold nights went to meeting Thomas preached for the first done well had my faith & prayer

Mon 8     Weather raining made yeast cooked dinner washed dishes

Thus 9     Weather raining did not go to sister Crosby for fear I would take cold I expected ^think^ they quilted

went to the third ward for Josey — Ann took the buggy to pick up Josey from her job teaching in the Third Ward School.

Sister Calkins — Probably Marietta Calkins.

Br & Sister Harmon from OrdervilleGeorge Harman (1826-1903) and Mercy Fagg Harman (1828-1923), possibly acquaintances from England. George Harman was a sailor just like George Jarvis. George and Mercy did not seem to have any living children so I've just done a basic source-and-correct for their Family Tree entries and added this record. I also noticed when I found their FindAGrave gravestone pictures that George had a wife, "Lavina E.H." It took a while to discover her identity as Lavina Elizabeth Hogen, the daughter of Scandinavian immigrants, and merge the applicable records, and add her daughter. Lavina and her newborn daughter Mercy died on March 16, 1884, so it was a difficult year for the Harmans.

Will Webb — Amelia's husband William.

Fathers Green glasses — sunglasses; definitely a necessity in Washington County! This Pinterest board has a number of era-appropriate green glasses.

Father to watch such cold nights — I don't know! Perhaps serving in a volunteer community policing function? What was the outstanding threat in 1884? Federal marshals and plural marriage? The Edmunds Act of 1882 had ramped up federal activity in Utah Territory, so this was a real threat for many families in the community. George was not in personal legal danger; although Mary Webb was sealed to him in 1878, it would not have been considered a marriage.

did not go to sister Crosby — Relief Society at the Crosbys. 

"Rain Brings Rainbows," [pseud.], Lavina and Mercy Harman Gravestone, digital image, FindAGrave, (link).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I first beheld the light of day...

Many years ago my family and I heard a story from a regional representative at a Stake Conference. I unfortunately can't remember his name but he was originally from Joseph City and met my dad before the conference and found out he was a great-grandson of Henry Tanner, so he told a story about him in the conference. About 25 years later I wrote down the story as I remembered it, and then did some looking around on the internet and found that the story is included in a published book, much as I remembered it.

It is a personal and sacred family story, so I will not include it here, but will point any descendants to Henry Tanner's entry on FamilySearch Family Tree, and note that I heard at least one additional similar story about Eliza Parkinson Tanner from her granddaughter Pearl Jacobson.

Instead of including the stories here, here's an autobiography written by Henry and recently added to Family Tree by Janice Salazar. I have added paragraphs for readability, although I preserved his spelling and punctuation. As a word of explanation, in the era when he was baptized and ordained, ordinances were normally performed by ward leadership, rather than the father, as is commonly done now.

I Henry Martin Tanner first beheld the light of day, in the old fort in Sanbernardino California, in the year of our Lord 1852. While my parents were filling a mission in this goodly land. My parents being released from the mission in 1858, returned to Utah, & resided in Cedar City for one year or there abouts. From thence to Beaver. 
At the age of eight years or in 1860 June 11, I was Baptized by Samuel White and Confirmed by John Robinson. My father followed freighting for a livelyhood and I remained on the farm at home. In the year 1867, I was Ordained a Deacon under the hands of John Robinson of Beaver. In the month of Janurary ^25^ 1877, in the St George Temple, I was promoted to the office of an Elder under the hands of Lorenzo Roundy & at the same time & place married my wife Eliza Ellen Parkinson. 
In the following Feb. 21st, I took all of my Earthly belongings & started upon a colonizing mission on the little Colorado River in the North Eastern part of Arizona traveling by the way of St. George, Lynx Springs, Pierce’s Ferry, Wallapai Valley, & Hackberry. [See the account of the journey here.] Then to the Sanfrancisco mountain & the Settlements on the little Colorado River and Settled in what was then known as William C. Allens Camp. Twenty-five miles South of East of Sunset.
We passed through all the trials incident to traveling & colonizing in a new country. Breadstuff was very high at that time we payed as high as eighteen dollars a hundred for flour, then were very fortunate if we got a first class article which we hauled with ox teams from New Mexico or Utah.
At that time the Navajo Indian’s were wild & would some times drive off some of our horses, but we followed the Counsel of President Young and fed them instead of fighting them.
I have followed the occupation of mixed farming. In the year 1878 I was called as second counselor to BP Joseph Richards of St. Joseph Arizona. I think in 1886 it was when our ward was reorganized Bp John Bushman BP. I was selected also as counselor to him and have remained in the Bishoprick until the present time. In 1886 I married my wife Emma Stapley in the St George Temple. In 1888 I was called to fill a mission in Great Britain returning in 1889 on account of Ill health. Have served as Superintendant of Sunay Schools twenty years in the St Joseph ward. My wife Eliza Ellen has born me eleven children all healthy and strong        of whom are married and have home and families of their own all in good standing in the church at present time.
Emma Ellen has born six children four of whom are living, one married. Two of my Sons have performed missions in the Southern States on under the Presidence of Ben E. Rich and the other under the Presidence of Charles A. Callous [Callis] one son is the Stake Clerk in the Snowflake Stake of Zion

Bushman, Edith Smith. Climbing Life's Mountains: Arizona Pioneer Stories and Faith-Promoting Experiences. A.E. Bishman Family Organization, 1993, 97-98.

Tanner, Henry Martin. "Autobiography of Henry Martin Tanner." Genealogical Surveys of LDS Members: Autobiographies and Ancestors. 34 Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1924–1929. (Family History Library book 289.3 G286g; films 1059454–63).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — November 15–27, 1884

Returning to the diary of Ann Prior Jarvis, Ann continues with her daily routines and her sufferings with chronic illness. She muses, "Oh what I suffered but it may be for my good bringing the change nearer to me."

I don't recall if I've discussed her regular notes about the weather. In those days before news services and professional weather organizations, having reports on the weather like those in her journal could be valuable for planning agriculture, building projects, travel, and so forth.

Thanksgiving Day was Thursday, November 27, proclaimed by Utah Territorial Governor Eli H. Murray, as follows:

Neither Ann nor Charles Walker mentions a celebration, but Ann does mention taking someone home, so she may have been at a public meeting.

For other installments of the diary, click on the link at the end of the post.

Sat 15    Went to the store bought several things for the house spent Eighty five cents for Josey Bread pan; plates etc. Went to see Em she was sick took Anne to get her carpet took Abbe for a ride

Sun 16    Weather pleasant Went to Meeting Br Snow preached a good sermon went to see Emma took Amelia for a ride

Mon 17     Weather warm went to Annes fetched Josey from school took Em for a ride

Thus 18     made a hat for Susie went to relief society meeting

Wed 19     had a bad spell but went for Josey called at Ems

Thu 20    Weather dull and dark washed a few pairs of Garments

Fri 21

Sat 22     Worked on Joseys coat

Sun 23     Went to meeting went to Ems and spent the evening   was bad all night was compelled to wake Josey Oh what I suffered but it may be for my good bringing the change nearer to me

Mon 24     Weather dull I feel very weak to day

Thus 25      Weather pleasant    Health improved

Wed 26      Weather fine

Thur 27      Weather took S Farnsworth home took S Barnes riding

William and Jane Barnes.

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
Sunday [November] 30th  Went to Meeting at the Tabernacle. Rob Gardner spoke in a clear manner on the importance of having the testimony of the truth of the Gospel abiding with us that it may always be fresh and vivid in our hearts. Jos. Judd spoke favorably of the work on the Manti Temple. The nights seemed long and lonesome since the death of my Darling. [See explanation and link in note about Abby Walker below.]

Abbe — Probably Abby Walker, her friend and a recently bereaved mother.

Br Snow — Probably Erastus Snow.

S Farnsworth — "S" would be an abbreviation for "Sister." Probably Elizabeth Stewart Farnsworth (1834-1897). Less likely to be Lovina Johnson Farnsworth.

S Barnes — Jane Howard Barnes (1815-1902), an English convert, married first to George Barnes (1815-1856). Jane's family was part of the Martin Handcart Company and got caught in early severe weather on the high plains. George died from exposure. After arriving in Salt Lake City, Jane remarried George's brother William, and he helped raise his brother's six children.

Eli H. Murray and Arthur L. Thomas. Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1884. Digital image, Utah State Archives,

Phyllis Lewin, "William Barnes and Jane Howard Barnes," digital copy of photographic image, FamilySearch Family Tree, (link).