Thursday, February 28, 2013

William Tanner — The Immigrant

Historical marker in Westerly, Rhode Island. From Dougtone at Flickr.

William Tanner's arrival in America is still subject to controversy and lack of source records. If he was born abroad, his arrival in America is evidenced by scanty documentary sources. References to William Tanner subsequent to hie arrival by the Reverend Tanner locate him in Westerly, Rhode Island, and specifically, in the town of Hopkinton, which was formerly part of Westerly. [1]

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 7 of 7

Glade Family Line

Friday, August 10 — A fine morning. We travelled and the other trains were traveling also and we did not pass them until they camped and we went on again and had water at a creek. There was a mule train here. There was a notice here "To Bridgers Ferry, 15 miles”, "To Virginia City, 425 miles". We all went on again and camped by plenty of wood. We have had aplenty of wood this week and we shall have all the way now. We had a fair night.

Saturday, August 11 — A fair morning. We started very early and went 5 or 6 miles and then had breakfast between 10 or 11 a.m., and between that and night we traveled 20 miles or more. We had a warm day and fair night.

Sunday, August 12 — A fine morning. We crossed a creek and traveled on some distance and camped and had dinner and traveled about 18 miles. We had a fair night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Individuals of Unusual Size (IOUS)

First the answer, and then the question.
From: [...]
Subject: Need Records Merged
Date: February 27, 2013 9:28:23 AM EST
To: [...] 
Dear Amy Tanner Thiriot,
RE:   John Tanner  KWJ1-K2F and MMM9-MM1
        Lydia Stewart  M5XK-TBR and LC3X-WJ5
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support.  Your concern deals with individuals of unusual size (IOUS) record.  There is not an easy solution at this time.  Currently our database can not handle records of this size. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding until increased functionalities become available in new FamilySearch.  At a future time, the expectation is that you, as the patron, will be able to independently resolve these issues as tools and technology are improved.
FamilySearch Data Administration
Several days ago Claudia, the Tanner cousin who donated the Tanner Family Daguerreotype to the Church History Library, contacted me because someone had put a picture of John Joshua Tanner in one of John Tanner's FamilySearch Family Tree entries. For some reason it looked like I had added the picture. Although I hadn't, I told her I'd try and figure out how to get it off.

While looking at John Tanner's duplicate entries as listed in the email above, I decided to make sure the data in both his entries matched and see if his two entries would merge, since that might be the fastest way to deal with the picture.

They wouldn't merge.

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 6 of 7

Glade Family Line

Sunday, July 29 — The grass is wet this morning but it will be a fine day. We started and before we were a mile but of the camp a regiment of soldiers passed by us. We passed so many graves. Lawken K. Stevens, aged 14. E. Hunter, died 3 July, 1865. N. P. Wells, late of Biethan, Missouri, killed by Indians, aged 39 years. Ann Butler, died 24 July 1865, aged 12. John Cook, company C. Y., Iowa Cavalry, accidentally killed 28 Nov. 1865, aged 22 years, 11 months and 19 days. These were seen at the Old California Crossing and store of M. R. Beauvaise Star Ranch. We saw another grave named J. Louis Audiffre, died 10 June, 1866, aged 24 years. We intended to cross the Platte River but we did not cross (at) that place. We had a fair night.

Monday, July 30 - A fine morning. We traveled all day and in the evening we crossed the Platte River and we all got over except 2 or 3 wagons before dark. Then we had a little rain for about 3/4 of an hour and a little wind in the night. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 5 of 7

Glade Family Line

Wednesday, June 20 — Much thunder on the night of this instance.

Thursday, June 21 — A fine morning. Thunder and lightning all night. We got wet

Friday, June 22 — We had a fine day and night.

Saturday, June 23 — A fine day. A little lightning about 7 o'clock. A fine night.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 4 of 7

1866 locomotive. From Wikipedia.

Glade Family Line

Saturday, June 9 [1866] — We were going very fast last night. It is a very fine morning and the train is going very fast. We saw engines Shannon, Bethel, Montpelier, Superior, Montreal, Grand Trunk Railroad numbers 12, 18, and 249, which is our engine, also 96, 72 and John Molson. It is very fine weather this morning and we are going beautiful. The most of all we have seen all the way is trees and we have come 400 miles. We got out of the train and went into a shed with seats all around. We remained in this place until 6:30 p.m. and (then) we went into it (the train). It traveled very fast. It stopped several times that night. This train shakes more than the other, in consequence of the road being rougher and we are not so comfortably situated. We are in cattle cars. We went well all night. Sunday is tomorrow.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Joseph Defriez and the Freedom of the City of London

Tanner Family Line

Joseph Defriez (1793-1874) was the father of our ancestor Joseph George Defriez (1821-1887). I will eventually put together more information including the materials in George Jarvis and Joseph George Defriez (Margaret Jarvis Overson) and post it here, but in the meantime, here is a curious document.

The City of London is a district of London, about one mile square. It was the original city in Roman and medieval times. Starting in the Middle Ages, the City granted men (and some women) the Freedom of the City of London. That meant the right to work in that square mile, with a fee, policed by the Livery Companies (guilds or trade associations). Each Livery Company was known as "The Worshipful Company of..."

(Besides the normal Freemen and Free Sisters, there are also occasional Honorary Freemen of the City of London. These include people like Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Florence Nightingale and, most recently, J.K. Rowling.)

Here is Joseph Defriez's admission paper from 1856. I cannot figure out which Livery Company he would belong to at that time, but the existence of this document means that there should be other documents regarding his Freedom. 

And now, about his profession. Joseph Defriez was a funeral feather merchant and also a Registrar of Births and Deaths. His family was middle class, consisting of professionals and and tradesmen, with connections to the minor gentility.

What is a funeral feather merchant?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 3 of 7

Immigrants at Castle Garden [now Castle Clinton], 1866. From Wikipedia.

Glade Family Line

Wednesday, May 30 [1866] — A very damp and nasty morning but we must be satisfied for it is His will. It causes our hearts to feel grateful. One boat on our right and three on our left.

Thursday, May 31 — This appears to be a fine morning, but windy. We saw fishing boats on our right hand side. The night was a little rough.

Friday, June 1 — A very fine morning. There is a little wind behind us but it don't push us onward much. But it is a beautiful day and the sea is calm and smooth. We were all called on deck to smoke out the deck below. It is very warm all around on deck.

Saturday, June 2 — A very fine morning and a glittering, pleasant, smooth sea. We see four ships, one of them is like this and the other is something like (the) first, the first ship is not to be seen too plain now. Dinner time and we cannot see the lower one at all, and the one by the first is like the first and the upper one is to be seen very much plainer, and there were two the other side about an hour ago. These ships were out of sight in the night. We had a quiet night.

Sunday, June 3 — It is a very foggy morning. We see a steamer on our left hand side, upper end, and a ship on our right hand, lower end. It was a smooth, glittering sea all day. In the afternoon at 4 o'clock the pilot boat No. 14 Edward Williams (appeared). We were going very fast now then that (faster than at any) time. We had a quiet night.

Monday, June 4 — A very foggy morning again. We are going pretty well this morning, 'tis a calm, level sea. This Pilot Boat No. 14, Edward Williams, passed by us again on the right side of us about middle day. I t was foggy all day, but it was a quiet night. It is a rough sea.

Tuesday, June 5 — It is a fine morning. It is not foggy now. We saw 8 ships, one after another, on our left hand. It turned off to be very foggy about half past 10. We saw Pilot No. 4 behind us. We have sailed very steady for this week. It is a smoother sea again. The steamer Charles Chamberlain is come to take us into the harbor. There are 5 boats altogether. The steamboat Christiana was at our right hand. It is gone (going) to another ship and the other boat is gone (going) the same direction and a red one, Sandy Hood. All those 4 are gone (going) to the right of us. We saw a pilot boat. It went right across us. Behind it is No. 1. It had a little boat behind it, fastened to it, and went all around. We see many ships (of) several kinds and many beautiful scenes: Northfield, Middletown, Thomas, Hunt, Meta, Matteawan, Red Jacket, Jessie Hoyt, S. S. Wyckoff, Metis, Kill Von Hull, Thomas P. Way, Pomona, Central, America, Helen, Porthfield, Atlas, Newport, Commodore, City of New York, Stevens, Henry Smith, Transport, Communipaw, City of Troy, William Harrison, P. C. Schultz, Port Royal, New York, Bordentown, City of Providence, Richard Stockton, D. R. Martin, City of America. The Castle Garden Emigration Landing Depot is on our right and the Central Railroad of New Jersey is on our left. There are a great many ships all around. It is a quiet night.

Wednesday, June 6 — It is a little foggy this morning. We are having a fair day. We are here in the ship yet. There arose a storm about 6 o'clock. It became a rough wind all at once and it rained a little but it did not last.

Thursday, June 7 — It is a very fine morning but it is windy. We are here in the ship yet. We got off the ship at half past twelve. We went in the boat Ontario and the tug Peter Cary pulled us to the Castle Garden Emigration Landing Depot. We arrived there at 2 minutes past 1 o'clock. The first death that we have witnessed was Sarah Evans, wife of John Evans. She died in Castle Garden Landing Depot. We started from here at half past 9 o'clock and arrived in a beautiful steamer at 15 to eleven. We traveled in the steamer on that night and in the morning we got out, it being June 8.

Friday, June 8 — We had a walk. We started at half past 7 o'clock. We had a short distance of 30 yards to go and we went and arrived there, and we took the cars. The carriages in this country are very large to what they were in Wales and they are beautiful carriages and the seats are very comfortable and the train is going very fast. We saw many sceneries in traveling by and many lively looking trees and meadows and many little things we never saw before. This train contains 20 carriages, besides others that the Saints are not in. The engines here are different and have different names. Their names are as follows — they will be seen here and there thru the account—: Neptune, Northampton, Whittemote, Deerfield. We saw some stations. They were named South Deerfield, 28 miles from Springfield. We saw a station named South Vernon and engine Gardner Charlotte Champlain. We saw Station Charlestown. We came to Charlestown engines St. John Middleson.

To be continued...

Book of Account of Voyage and Training and Overland Travels (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5—Part 6Part 7)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 2 of 7

Dolphins, or "sea pigs" as Richard called them.
(He may have also meant porpoises.)

Glade Family Line

Saturday, May 12 — We are going on very good this morning; we got a head wind. The sea is rougher again today than it was last night. Tonight we are going on well. 

Sunday, May 13 — It is very wet, and nasty this morning, and it was so all day. 

Monday, May 14 — A wet morning, but it was pretty fine about 11 o'clock but windy. Just after dinner it began to rain again until 4 o'clock, and then afterward it was mild, but a little windy.

Tuesday, May 15 — It is a fine, dry morning. Father is keeping the people in order at the door of the cooking galley. We had to come up on deck, all without having our dinners, for the sailors to smoke out the decks. We had a very fine day, and just so in the evening. It was a very level and smooth sea.

Wednesday, May 16 — A very fine morning and a smooth sea. We saw one ship and a steamer. The ship passed within a half mile on the right hand side of us, sailing for Liverpool, but the steamer was sailing for New York about 4-1/2 miles distance from  us. We had a rough sea from 11 a.m. all day and about 6 p.m. there was a concert held but because of the rain they could not finish it.

Thursday, May 17 — A rough morning and middling all day and night the same.

Friday, May 18 — A stormy day, fine day after and a very mild night.

Sunday, May 20 — A very nice morning. We had a little rain about the middle of the day but it didn't last long. It was a foggy day, and evening.

Monday, May 21 — It's not so foggy this morning. We saw a ship at our right hand side. This is a very rough sea. The ship rocks to the left. It was a fine day, but a rough sea, and it was a rough night.

Tuesday, May 22 — A fine morning. We saw a ship at the right of us. The sea here is smooth. We are going on very forward. That ship appears just to pass us now, on account of its being further off, because anything that is on the ocean looks very small at a far distance. We saw Screw Packet about 4 p.m. at our right side. It was going for Liverpool. We are drawing to our destination now, New York. We had a very quiet night.

Wednesday, May 23 — We saw a steamer about 3 miles from us going the same direction as us. It is about opposite us in the evening about 8. I t appears to be a long boat and it gains on us now and then. It is nearly time we was out of this stage of position. But thank the Lord for His mercy and good luck to us thus far. That steamer went out of sight again at 10 o'clock a.m. This evening we got to come up on deck for the decks to get smoked out. We saw a ship over across at our left hand side. Saw several sea pigs just now, upwards of 20 or more jumping up on the face of the water. We had a very mild night.

Thursday, May 24 — This is a very fine day again, but it is very foggy all around. The sailors are at the front of the ship in turns blowing a trumpet. They blow it four times at a certain time. One of the sailors did all day. We had an excellent, agreeable night.

Friday, May 25 — A very beautiful nice morning, no fog to be seen. The sea is rough today. They are very late giving out water because of the pump being broke. It is rather windy. We are going on nicely today. All for the same purpose as before. It is very wet this evening. Tonight the sea is rough also.

Saturday, May 26 — A very fine morning. We saw a screw packet at our right hand going downwards. We saw a ship at our left hand going down at 9 a.m. We had a very fine day. We saw a steamer at our right side going down at 5:15 p.m. We had a very mild night.

Sunday, May 27 — 'Tis a very foggy day, the ship is hardly going at all this morning. The sailors are obliged to blow the trumpet. The sea is smooth and quiet and there is hardly any wind at all, neither all this last week. Mother has not been out of bed once. The sea is very calm when ‘tis foggy, so it is today. 'Tis not this evening. The sea is very smooth and it glitters all around. We are guided by very little wind today. The night was rather restless also, by the ship rocking a little too much. Sleep and slumber.

Monday, May 28 — A rather wet morning, a little foggy now and then. The sailors are blowing the trumpet on front of the ship. This is a very rough sea. The ship is going beautiful today, dashing along like an ice boat. It is a miserable, nasty morning. We cannot go around on deck without going under some shelter because it is so nasty about the open places on the deck. It is a little fairer this evening and we are slipping on first rate again. It is a middling fair night.

Tuesday, May 29 — God has again opened another fine sunny morning causing the hearts of the Saints here to rejoice. We saw two fishing boats on our right hand, and on our left hand we saw one on this great waving sea. We indeed enjoyed a rather rough night.

Book of Account of Voyage and Training and Overland Travels (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5—Part 6Part 7)

Picture of the dolphins from Flickr, courtesy of lowjumpingfrog, available under a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

William Tanner — The Immigrant to America

Fox Island, Rhode Island. Wikipedia.
At least six published genealogies, beginning in 1893,[1] refer to the ancestry of the Rhode Island/New York Tanner family. John Tanner, the most well known of the family, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1832. His descendants number in the tens of thousands, his son Sydney Tanner, alone, had 5073 descendants in 1982.[2] Despite John Tanner’s extensive family, little scholarly attention has been paid to his ancestry. The published genealogies repeat, without critical comment, the conclusions of the Reverend George C. Tanner, in his 1905 book, who admits having done little original research.[3] Many of the original source records that were previously difficult to obtain or even consult, have now been made available either on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah or in on-line sources. Some of the books that are now out-of-print, are readily available online (See links below in footnotes). The newly available sources provide an incentive to re-examine the early conclusions about John Tanner’s progenitors beginning with the immigrant, William Tanner.

Richard Litson Jr. Emigration Account, Part 1 of 7

Glade Family Line

Here is Richard Litson Jr.'s travel account from the the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, reproduced exactly as I found it. The notes are not mine. His biography can be found here. (Link.) When it says "Training" in the title, that means the trip by train.

Porth Train Station shown at the end of Station Street. Porth, Wales.  


Written by Richard Litson, Junior
(Written at age 14.)

(The following account is from a copy furnished to me by Kenneth Barker, 5412 Glen Haven Road, Sequel, California, March 10, 1967, which was copied from the papers of Sarah Turpin Goodwin. I have taken the liberty of slightly editing the same for production. Any corrections or additions I have made have been enclosed in parentheses. A more condensed account was obtained some years ago from Mabel and Leo Turpin.)

Members of immediate party:
Richard Litson, Senior, born 18 Sep 1819
Frances Ann Matthews Litson, born 1 May 1819
Richard Litson, Junior, born 24 Aug 1851
Joseph Young Litson, born 24 Sep 1858

April 26, 1866 — We started from Porth Station on the night of this instance. We lodged that night in 45 Union Terrace, Merthyr 2, of the instance. We started with a special train from Merthyr to Liverpool. We started from Merthyr at 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Liverpool at 5:45 p.m. We rode in the L. and N.W. Railway train. We rode through a few tunnels. On that night we searched for a place to sleep and we slept in Nol Spellow Place, Liverpool.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Exciting Development for TheAncestorFiles: A New Blogger

Okay, so I'm busy. In fact, I'm really, really busy. The posts on TheAncestorFiles have slowed down over the past year and a half as I've been involved with other projects: the Ann Prior Jarvis chapter for Women of Faith in the Latter Days, The Eminent Women of the St. George Temple, a project I call "The Slave List" for lack of a better title, and now some freelance history work. And did I ever mention that I have five children and a husband with a demanding career?

But this isn't about me!

I am excited to announce that after more than five years of solo blogging, TheAncestorFiles will be joined by noted genealogy-technology blogger James Tanner of Genealogy's Star. Yes, he's my father, and he and my mother are the source of many of the family materials found on this blog. He will be adding genealogical content to TheAncestorFiles, perhaps starting with the colonial history of the Tanner family. We're looking forward to making this blog the go-to resource for all of these family lines.

And, here are a few photos of our new blogger:

At eight months.

Oh, I like this one. James and Maxine.

And one from Panama.

I'd add something a little more recent, but I'd have to unplug my lamp and plug in the external hard drive, so perhaps another time!

Please join me in welcoming our newest blogger, James Tanner.

Richard Litson Jr.

Glade Family Line

Richard Litson, Jr., was born on August 24, 1851, in Whitchurch, Glamorganshire, Wales, now a suburb of Cardiff. He was christened several weeks later. Richard was just a year old when his parents were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October 1852, first his mother, Frances Ann Mathews Litson, then his father Richard Litson two weeks later. Richard's older sister, Eliza Mary Litson Glade, is our ancestor.

In 1861, the family lived in Llanwonno, Glamorganshire, South Wales.

St. Gwynno's Church, Llanwonno, Glamorganshire, Wales. Picture from Wikipedia.

Here is the census record showing the father working as a railway laborer and the children attending school. Most of their neighbors were coal miners.

1861 Wales Census, Haffoddroening [?], Llanwonno, Glamorganshire, Wales.

The family emigrated to the United States in 1866 with the assistance of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company. Here is their record in the PEF book:

1866 Perpetual Emigrating Fund record for Litson family. From Mormon Migration.

And a close-up:

1866 Perpetual Emigrating Fund record for Litson family. From Mormon Migration.

Richard Litson, Jr., left a charming record of the trip across the ocean and plains. I just got a copy and will transcribe it and add links into this post. It has very unfortunately been edited, but I suppose an edited diary is better than one which has been lost to time.

Book of Account of Voyage and Training and Overland Travels (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5—Part 6Part 7)

In 1870, the family lived in Union Fort in Salt Lake County (South Cottonwood Ward, now Murray) which is (incidentally) the historical home for the black population of Salt Lake County.

1870 United States Census, Union, Salt Lake, Utah Territory.

Richard Litson, Sr., died in 1872 at the age of 53. He is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Six years later, Richard Litson Jr. died by suicide on August 28, 1878.

"Local and Other Matters." Deseret News, September 4, 1878, 1.

The Deseret News noted that he was "an exemplary young man, and bore a good reputation among his friends. He took his own life while in a state of insanity, caused by a long and severe illness."

Richard Litson, Jr., is buried in the South Cottonwood Cemetery, now called the Murray Cemetery.

Forget-me-not from lo4u at Flickr. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Family Group Records Archives: Springthorpe

Morgan Family Line

Did you know that the Family Group Records submitted during the "Four Generation" project are available online as scanned documents? They are not indexed, so it's a little tedious to find the document you want, but what a useful resource! The information is similar to that found in other user-submitted databases (i.e. buyer beware, or check all sources) but there might be family records preserved here and nowhere else. 

This record shows Frances Springthorp listed as a sister of Adeline Springthorp. Some names are misspelled, so the information does need to be checked.

The Springthorpe records begin at #1108 in the "S — Sprick-Sprowell" collection and go through #1122. If there are any notes or sources listed on the back, they are included on the next entry:

h/t Keepapitchinin for this source

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Southern Influence in St. George, Utah

Since I don't live in Utah I haven't followed the ongoing debate about the name of Dixie State College in St. George. Back in the 1950s or 1960s, the school very unwisely adopted the "Rebel" as its mascot and made other connections to the culture of the Confederacy which made some people erroneously think that use of the name "Dixie" for Washington County, Utah, had something to do with the Confederate South.

The Salt Lake Tribune printed an unfortunate article in early December with a number of incorrect facts and conclusions about the early settlers of Southern Utah. I immediately started to write a response, but it got delayed due to the holiday and other things. It finally went up this week on Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History Blog.

(I didn't want to send it to the Tribune, since the comments there can be vicious and off-topic. A noted Mormon scientist and historian wrote a response to the Tribune article that was published on January 1, and despite the fact that he has done some very valuable work on the topic of race in the Church, commenters proceeded to call him a racist and cast all sorts of other aspersions. So I arranged to post the response in a more respectable forum.)

Here's the post. (And be forewarned that I link to the Tribune article, and the Tribune article contains disturbing content.)

As I noted in the comments, I was careful to address the response to the Tribune and not anyone named or quoted in the article. I also tried to be very careful only to address the points raised in the article since the story really is more complex than is possible to cover in a blog post.

Picture of the Virgin River and Mount Moroni from Zion National Park on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Elisha Bently Tanner and Family, Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York

Several of John Tanner's sons spent most of their lives in the northeastern United States. The oldest was Elisha Bently Tanner, son of John Tanner's first wife, Tabitha Bently Tanner.

Elisha was born in 1801 in Argyle, Washington, New York. He married Arvilla Ellis in Washington County, New York, in 1828, several years before much of his family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When his family moved west, Elisha moved east.

Elisha and Arvilla had at least three children: Miriam (born about 1832, New York), Myron Ellis (born August 29, 1832, Caldwell, Warren, New York), and Emily Arvilla (born March 29, 1839 in Manhattan, New York).

An 1839 Manhattan City directory shows Elisha B. Tanner, M.D., at 132 Liberty Street.

From Longworth's New York Registry and City Directory, 1839, 635.