Saturday, September 29, 2012

John Morgan Gravestone Update -- Photo Added

Bessie at Ancestral Ties headed an effort to add information about John Morgan's wives to his gravestone, since they are not all buried in the family plot. That project was finished several months ago, and here is her description. (John Morgan Gravestone Project completed.) Thank you, Bessie!

[Original post July 30, 2012. Update September 29, 2012—My mother found a photo she took of the newly completed gravestone during a recent visit to the Salt Lake City Cemetery and I have included it here. Many thanks to her for sending the photo!]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Henry Overson and Sons

This is another picture from my father's digitization of the Jarvis-Overson photography collection. It's one of my favorite pictures so far.

This shows Henry Overson surrounded by five of his sons. I can tell who some of them are; others are guesses. From left to right: Peter, Evan, Victor, Henry, Ross, Pratt. Let me know if I have anyone wrong.

My father is continuing to post pictures from the collection on his blog Genealogy's Star. Here are the latest two posts. (Not so much of a mystery.) (Mystery photos of the week.) Many of the people in the pictures are not identified, and he is requesting identifications and has gotten a number of identifications.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

High Society St. Johns, c. 1937

Here is a good percentage of the town of St. Johns, Arizona, at the Ritz for what must have been the opening of the 1937 movie Fight For Your Lady. It was a grand affair. (See the brass band to the right of the theater.)

A few questions from looking at the picture.

How many people did the theater hold??

Was it a segregated theater? (I can't see any Hispanics and although I've never done an actual count, I'd guess about half the town was of Hispanic descent.)

This was, of course, during the Great Depression. What was the price of admission?

Anyone know what kind of cars those are? Studebaker? Ford?

And, here is a bootleg Youtube copy of Fight For Your Lady. I've had it running in the background, and it is no classic, but could be enjoyable if you were watching it with the right crowd. There's a pleasant little tune at about 33:15, but that's about as far as I watched.

The picture is from my father's continuing monumental digitization of the historic Jarvis-Overson photo collection.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maps, Glorious Maps

I've been looking for an online copy of a map of the early Salt Lake City wards, so I was interested to read my father's post yesterday on his genealogy blog (Update of Maps Online). 

I didn't find the map I was looking for, but what marvelous resources he lists! The most useful one I've seen so far is the David Rumsey Map Collection which includes the MapRank Search.

I enjoyed this map of Rhode Island, since I visited the state recently. (Very briefly!)

For other map resources, see the post at Genealogy's Star (Update of Maps Online).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Morgan's Commercial College

After John Morgan decided to stay in Salt Lake City on his cross-country post-Civil War trip, he opened a school called Morgan's Commercial College. Google Books now has a copy of an advertisement for the college. (View and download here.)

The advertisement includes a list of the students at the college with many notable names among them. One person I noticed in particular is John Morgan's future beloved colleague, J. Golden Kimball. With the exception of the Cannons and the Youngs who are rather underrepresented, the list reads like a "Who's Who" of Salt Lake City.

[Update: See further notes about this pamphlet on Bessie's blog. John Morgan's Commercial College.]

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Traffic Driven by Pretty Pictures and Information about Old Wars

It never ceases to amaze me that three of the most popular posts on my site are:
  • George Jarvis and the Second Opium War. People arrive at this post from all over the world. Just today, someone from Australia spent awhile reading the post. I assume many of them are students, and hope they're finding what they're looking for. If students do use this post, they should cite it as a source. In Chicago Style, the citation would read something like:
    Thiriot, Amy Tanner. "George Jarvis and the Second Opium War." TheAncestorFiles. October 31, 2011.
  • Early Salt Lake City Flowers. People arrive at this post through Google Images while looking for a picture of hollyhocks. One of my sisters noted in the comments that she arrived at my blog while looking for a picture of hollyhocks.
  • Christopher Columbus and Me. The picture of Columbus drives the traffic for this post. This one was a throw-away post for Columbus Day a year ago, so it irks me that so many people visit this post. Come on people, the picture's from Wikipedia! Just go to Wikipedia and use the Creative Commons-licensed pictures there!
The substantial Google-images driven traffic has convinced me of two things:
  • I know how to find legally usable artwork online, and 
  • People like some of the pictures I've chosen for my posts.
Too bad I can't turn these skills into a paying job! (Not that I can imagine where I'd find the time.)

Here are some hints about finding images online.
  • First, go to Wikipedia. The pictures there are out of copyright or available for public use under various Creative Commons licenses.
  • Second, go to Flickr. Many of the photographers have made their pictures available for public use. Do an "Advanced Search" and select whichever Creative Commons restrictions fit your intended use. (Commercial use? Need to edit the picture?) Most of the pictures require attribution, so when you use a picture, list its source. I always copy the Creative Commons license information into the file information on my hard drive so I have it available in the future and don't have to go looking again.

Photo of the hollyhocks provided under a Creative Commons license by knottyboy at The picture is available for sharing and remixing with attribution.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Colonial Heritage of the John Tanner Family

My family and I were in Massachusetts recently, and we drove home through Rhode Island, the historical home of the Tanner family. I was surprised by what an emotional experience it was to visit since I have never done any genealogy on the line past John Tanner (1778-1850).

This small cemetery doesn't seem to have any ancestors, but it does have relatives.

By about 1790, the Tanners left Rhode Island to settle in Washington County, New York, but previous to their departure, the family's connection to Rhode Island goes back to the founding of the colony.

Disclaimer: I am using others' work on the family lines and have not independently verified any of this information.

A marker telling some of the history of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, the birth place of John Tanner.

One ancestor, Philip Sherman, became interested in the teachings of John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, and left Massachusetts to found the community of Portsmouth. He was one of the signers of the Portsmouth Compact in 1638, "the first document in [American] history that severed both political and religious ties with mother England." (Wikipedia.)

"The Portsmouth Compact." In Isaac Backus, A History of New-England, with particular reference to the...Baptists, Boston: Edward Draper, 1777.

A distant uncle's gravestone in Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

Here is a list of some of the family names in the Tanner line accompanied by their locations as listed in the genealogy:
  • Brownell (Portsmouth, Little Compton, Newport).
  • Jenckes (Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick). A son of this family, Joseph Jenckes, was an early governor of Rhode Island. Here is a short but very interesting article that includes some information about his father and grandfather, our ancestors: Joseph Jenckes.
  • Kenyon (Kingston, Westerley).
  • Sherman (Portsmouth). See above.
  • Mumford (Kingston). The Great Swamp Fight, a crucial battle during King Philip's War, took place on ancestor Thomas Mumford's land.
  • Potter (South Kingston, Portsmouth). I took a quick look around a Potter family cemetery in South Kingston and saw a distant uncle's grave marker in Hopkinton.
  • Sheldon (South Kingston).
  • Sprague (Smithfield).
  • Stanton (Newport).
  • Tanner (South Kingston, Hopkinton).
  • Tefft (Richmond, South Kingston, Providence).
  • Tibbetts (Kingston, Portsmouth).
  • Tripp (Portsmouth).
As you look at maps of Rhode Island, many streets and physical features are named after these families. It was an impressive experience to see the family homeland.

This South Kingston book store is run by a very distant Sherman cousin. The proprietor was very helpful.

Since these family lines include founders of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and of our nation, many of the family lines have been thoroughly and accurately researched. Over the next several years I will start exploring this colonial American family history and its connection to the history of the Baptist churches in America and confirming the relationships (as possible). I will present the research here.

Who is Mary Tanner? How is she related to John Tanner? What is the meaning of the text on the gravestone about the Civil War?

To be continued (eventually)...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Did George Jarvis Have a Middle Name? No.

George Jarvis (1823-1913), Mormon pioneer and original settler of St. George, Utah, did not have a middle name.

I will explain a possible reason he is sometimes shown with a middle name, and then I will list all the proofs that he did not, indeed, have a middle name.


George and Ann Prior Jarvis named their first son George Frederick Jarvis. George Frederick was born in London in 1847 and he accompanied his parents to America. George Frederick Jarvis and his two wives were influential figures in early St. George history.

George Frederick Jarvis participated in Utah's Black Hawk Indian War. Many years later, the federal government granted pensions to the men who fought in the Indian Wars. George received a pension and it was later paid to his widow Eleanor. Due to some government error, George's name was listed in at least one record as "George Franklin Jarvis."

"Veterans with Federal Service Buried in Utah, Territorial to 1966," index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed September 7, 2012), George Franklin Jarvis, 01 Jan 1919.

Did someone confuse this entry for George Jarvis (1823-1913)? This record is not about our common ancestor; it is for his son, George Frederick Jarvis. This is the only record I have ever seen with the name "George Franklin Jarvis."


Here are the records showing that George Jarvis was never known by the name George Franklin Jarvis. I start with his marriage record since I have never seen an official birth or christening record.

1. Marriage record of George Jarvis, Bachelor, and Ann Prior, Spinster. October 19, 1846.

2. George Jarvis married fourth quarter 1846, St. Saviour Southwark, London, Vol. 4, Page 527. Other people on the same page are shown with middle names. George is shown with no middle name. FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

3. The church record of his emigration shows his name as George Jarvis. Mormon Migration.

4. The record from the Boston port of entry shows his name as George Jarvis. Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943.

5. The Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel previously showed his name as "George Franklin Jarvis," but that was because that's how he was shown in Family Search. None of the records associated with the overland crossing shows his name as anything but "George Jarvis." Due to that fact, the database has been changed to show his name as "George Jarvis." As I have said before, the database is an amazing resource, almost without peer in the genealogical world.

6. Every time George shows up in a census he is listed as "George Jarvis."

1851 England Census. George Jarvis, head, married, 28, mariner.

1880 United States Census. Jarvis, George, white, male, 57, farm laborer.

1910 United States Census. Jarvis, George, head, male, white, 87. To date, no one has been able to find George Jarvis in any census but these three.

7. He calls himself George Jarvis in his personal histories. He is quite formal in his writing and would undoubtedly refer to himself using his middle name if he had one. ("The Journal of Ann Prior Jarvis, 1884-1899 Book C," n.p.)

8. He is listed as George Jarvis in a list of the Thomas and Elizabeth Billings Jarvis children in Ann Prior Jarvis's diary. ("The Journal of Ann Prior Jarvis, 1884-1899 Book C," 254 12.)

9. He is called George Jarvis in his patriarchal blessings on April 15, 1870 (Patriarch William G. Perkins), October 30, 1892 (Patriarch Joseph Mecham), and September 23, 1894 (Patriarch William Fawcett). I will not reproduce those here, but they are found in Ann Jarvis's diary. ("The Journal of Ann Prior Jarvis, 1884-1899 Book C," 159, 195, 197.)

10. He is called George Jarvis in the formal correspondence regarding the sealing of Charles DeFriez to the Jarvis family. A number of the other men mentioned in the correspondence are listed with middle names. ("The Journal of Ann Prior Jarvis, 1884-1899 Book C," 190.)

This is the first of the three documents reproduced in Ann's diary.

11. His wife Ann Prior Jarvis calls him George Jarvis in her personal histories. ("The Journal of Ann Prior Jarvis, 1884-1899 Book C," document 207.)

12. He is called George Jarvis in histories of St. George, Utah. See, for example, "St. George Tabernacle and Temple: The Builders" by Church historian Leonard Arrington.
...George Jarvis, the British sailor who erected the scaffolding..
13. He is called George Jarvis in Wilford Woodruff's Temple records. George Jarvis and his sons George Frederick Jarvis and Brigham Jarvis all helped with Woodruff's Founding Fathers and Eminent Men temple work project. George Jarvis did the temple work for Edward George Earl Lytton Bulwer (yes, the "it was a dark and stormy night" author) and Thomas Chalmers; George Frederick did the temple work for David Garrick; and Brigham did the temple work for Frederick von Schiller. Brian Stuy, "Wilford Woodruff's Vision of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence," Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 26, No. 1, 85-86.

14. He is called George Jarvis in newspaper articles during his lifetime.

The Union (St. George), April 16, 1896, 1.

"A Dixie Patriarch: Seventy-two Descendants Celebrated George Jarvis' Birthday," Salt Lake Herald, April 4, 1898, 7.

"Birth at St. George," Salt Lake Herald, December 25, 1898, 18.

15. A copy of his citizenship certificate shows his name as George Jarvis.

16. When George Jarvis died, Dr. Frank J. Woodbury filled out his death certificate with information provided by George Frederick Jarvis. In the space for "Full Name," Dr. Woodbury wrote "George Jarvis."

17. His obituary lists his name as George Jarvis.

18. His gravestone lists his name as George Jarvis.

George and Ann Jarvis grave marker from the St. George City Cemetery, St. George, Utah. Picture from FindAGrave, courtesy of "TB."

19. About 40 years after his death, George's granddaughter Margaret Jarvis Overson wrote a book about her Jarvis and DeFriez family lines. She called the book George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy and used the name "George Jarvis" throughout. She listed one grandfather, Joseph George DeFriez, with a middle name and her other grandfather, George Jarvis, without. Her research and family connections were extensive enough that if her grandfather had a middle name, she would have known it and used it.

20. George Jarvis does not show up in any contemporary vital or legal or church records with a middle name.

21. As late as 1949, the family organization called him George Jarvis with no middle name.

"Jarvis Reunion," Washington County News, June 15, 1922, 1.

"Jarvis Family Reunion," Salt Lake Telegram, March 28, 1949, 26.


If anyone can provide a single contemporary record (a record made during his lifetime) that shows his name as "George Franklin," I will reconsider my conclusion. Otherwise, I will conclude that the middle name "Franklin" is due entirely to a genealogical error and the spreading nature of such errors in online family trees.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Let's Talk About Lists

Project management. My, what a dreary topic for a rainy Labor Day.

(Actually it's not really dreary when I think of historical adventures past and historical adventures to come.)

School started last week just a day and a half after we returned from a lovely trip to Massachusetts—more about that later—and five children went off to school, one for the very first time. The youngest is in half-day kindergarten, which allows me about two and a half hours of quiet time each day, which should allow me to make faster progress on research and writing. However, many other responsibilities and needs keep bringing themselves to my attention, so I'm taking a couple of weeks off to scheme and plan and focus my energies and decide a direction for my research interests, and think kind thoughts about a nice husband who supports these historical recreations.

Anyway, here's a note about project organization which may be of interest only to the most devoted readers of this blog.

How do I order my projects and keep track of notes and ideas and vast amounts of data?

1. The steno pad. Yes, a green secretary's notebook. I've been using a steno pad to track my to-do lists for about a decade.

2. A smaller memo book. I've recently taken to carrying an inexpensive three by five notebook in my purse. I use it for everything from notes about church lessons to weekly meal plans to additions to my to-do list.

3. Evernote. I'm not entirely low-tech. My historical projects go into Evernote. It's a note-taking program that I started to use after reading a discussion on Juvenile Instructor, a history blog, and after using Zotero for a couple of months. (Go Team Evernote!)

4. Microsoft Word. I write timelines and posts in Word.

5. Ancestry is a good place to collect family trees and sources.

6. RootsMagic (Windows) and Reunion (Macintosh). These programs are good for compiling genealogical data. I mostly use RootsMagic, but Reunion makes a nice fan chart.

How do I decide on projects?

A combination of feelings (inspiration), interest, and fortuitous circumstance.

What are my current projects?

As of yesterday:
  • This blog, although not with the same frequency that I posted in 2009-2011.
  • The Eminent Women of the St. George Temple, a project telling the stories of 61 women who helped Wilford Woodruff in an early temple work project, the stories of the women whose work they did, and any stories that present themselves in the course of working on this project.
  • A series of three or more guest posts about Cyrus Wheelock.
  • A project documenting all the African-American slaves taken into Utah Territory before the Civil War.
So, it's time to get back to these projects!

Anyone have any input on keeping lists, project management, keeping project notes, etc.?

Admittedly cheerful picture of rain on a flower from A Guy Taking Pictures on