Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Easter

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

Picture of forsythia from bobx-nc.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

RootsTech 2013 [Update]

Update to Story: Unnamed sources note that the speaking schedule at RootsTech has changed. Check back here and at the RootsTech website for an interesting development... 

[March 23, 2013: the CEO of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet, had to return to Israel due to a death in his family, so my father, James Tanner, was asked to step in at the last minute and give a Saturday keynote presentation in his place. All the streamed presentations should be available at RootsTech. One that I particularly enjoyed was the presentation by Ron Tanner. It had quite a bit of Tanner content, including notes about John Tanner, and the use of Henry Tanner's entry on FamilySearch Family Tree as the example entry. Here is a pdf version of the presentation.]

RootsTech is a huge genealogy conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, this year on March 21-23 (Thursday–Saturday). Our new blogger, James Tanner, is a popular lecturer on the genealogy circuit, and will present again at RootsTech. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

He Being Dead, Yet Speaketh: Elder Joseph Standing Writes to the Faucetts

Tunnel Hill. As Elder Joseph Standing criss-crossed Whitfield County in the months before his murder, he may have walked through the old railroad tunnel in Chetoogetta Mountain. In this picture, you can see through the newer 1928 tunnel. The 1850 tunnel is to the right of the newer one, and is partly covered by brush. You can still walk through the 1850 tunnel. Picture used under a Creative Commons license from (aka Brent)

This is the continuation of an occasional series with some Morgan-family related content from the history of the Southern States Mission. Previous content is listed in the Index to the History of the Southern States Mission, the list of Presidents of the Southern States Mission, and the index tag "Southern States Mission." [March 19 — Don't miss the follow-up post from Bessie on Ancestral Ties, "Joseph Standing. He Being Dead Yet Speaketh!"]


He Being Dead Yet Speaketh.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

The 171st Anniversary of the Relief Society

Eliza R. Snow Smith Young establishing the Relief Society in Utah Territory with the original Relief Society Minute Book. From Daughters in My Kingdom.

Today is the 171st anniversary of the founding of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This organization is one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world.

Not long ago, the Joseph Smith Papers Project placed the founding document of the Relief Society online:

If you visit the link, you can read the minute book as well as a summary of its history.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Current Status of the Family of William Tanner of Rhode Island

Prescott Farm, Middletown, Rhode Island. From susteph at Flickr.

The facts surrounding the birth and death of William Tanner of Rhode Island, the Great-grandfather or Great-great-grandfather of John Tanner (b. 1778, d. 1850) are only very scantily documented in the printed genealogies and undocumented entirely by the thousands of his descendants who have copied the records from the printed genealogies. I have begun the task of adequately documenting his life, to extent possible, from the original records in Rhode Island or wherever they may be found.

The absence of a death record for William Tanner has some recently compiled family group records showing a death date as late as the 1770s making him over 110 years old at death. This assumption is not impossible but is only a very remote possibility. The last record of William Tanner may date from 1735 although it is not clear, from the existing records, and certainly more likely, that references to “William Tanner” after 1712 refer to his son, William Tanner who was born in 1687. The lack of any further records makes it possible that the immigrant died in, or shortly after 1735.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mindwell Dewey Hopkins and Her Parents

Tanner Family Line

Sometimes on a Sunday evening, I'll go through hints on Ancestry, adding suggested pictures and stories to the family trees. Every now and then something interesting will turn up. Someone added an obituary for Mindwell Dewey Hopkins, the widow of Waite Hopkins. (See below.) Waite was killed in the Revolutionary War, as previously noted on this blog.

Here is a picture of Mindwell's gravestone. She is buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery in Vermont.

From FindAGrave, courtesy of Joe Newman.

The inscription reads:
To the MEMORY of Mrs. Mindwell Hopkins, Relict of Major WAIT HOPKINS. Who died June 21st 1785. In the 48th Year of her Age. Major Hopkins was killed during the War on an Island in Lake George. Through Mortal Life in Virtue's Paths They trod. Nor could Temptation wean her Soul from God: When the last Trumpet rends the ethereal Skies There shall her sleeping Dust with Joy arise. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story [Updated]

This was originally posted on November 13, 2009. Since I have made significant revisions I am reposting it. Please note a 2014 summary of the state of the genealogical research in the family: (William Tanner Lives Again.)

Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story is a short film from director T.C. Christensen. It tells the story of John Tanner, a Mormon pioneer who gave his fortune to help establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its early days. It is a visually beautiful, emotional production, is fairly accurate to family accounts, and is easy to watch at about 20 minutes long.

Additional Media Resources

Here's a story about the movie from KSL [Utah filmmaker creates movie about his ancestor].

Here's a Deseret News story about the producer, T.C. Christensen [T.C. Christensen: the man, the movies and stories that matter.]

From time to time the film is shown on BYU-TV.

The film is available on a collection about the history of the Church [Doctrine and Covenants Visual Resource DVDs, item 08042000] and through Deseret Book and other retailers.

Short Biography of John Tanner

John Tanner was born in Rhode Island on August 15, 1778. When he was a child, his family joined many relatives on a great migration from Washington County, Rhode Island, to Washington County, New York.

The Lake George, New York, area in 1796.
Washington County is to the east of Lake George; Warren County is to the west.

Around 1800 he married Tabitha Bently. She died in 1801 after giving birth to their son, Elisha Bently Tanner.

John Tanner married, second, Lydia Stewart, and they had twelve children. Around 1818 the family moved to Bolton, Warren County, on the other side of Lake George. There Lydia died and John Tanner married Elizabeth Beswick. John and Elizabeth had eight children, making a total of 21 children in the Tanner family, fourteen of them living to adulthood.

John Tanner and his family were strong Baptists, but in 1832 he and many members of his family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They sold their homes and land in New York and moved to Kirtland, where they helped with the building of the Kirtland Temple, then to Missouri, then to Iowa (across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo), and from there to Utah Territory, where John Tanner died in South Cottonwood, Utah Territory, on April 13, 1850.

The Salt Lake Valley in 1852.

Additional Genealogical Resources

My father and I are continuing to add accurate genealogical and historical information to this blog about the Tanner family and other related families. (Some of the information I posted about the family in 2007 and 2008 may be based on questionable secondary sources and needs to be edited and updated.)

Here is John Tanner's biography from Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah with notes about what is correct and incorrect in the biography.

Here is a photograph of John Tanner's original hand-written birth record from Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

Here is information about the Tanner family in colonial times and going back to England: The Colonial Heritage of the John Tanner Family

The John Tanner Family Association

As discussed in the comments, there was previously a John Tanner Family Association. It appears to be no longer operational. It would be great if a group of descendants would start a John Tanner Family Association. It's a large and influential although very widespread family, and there should be enough initiative and resources to start such an organization to collect family information and finance genealogical and historical research since so much of the widely available genealogy and history is unfortunately inaccurate.

The Tanner Family Daguerreotype

There are no known photographs of John Tanner.

Don't miss my series about the Tanner Family Daguerreotype. (For an explanation, see here and here.)

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: We Meet the Tanners
Part 3: What is a Daguerreotype?
Part 4: Technology Meets the Tanners
Part 5: Woman at Right
Part 6: Woman in Center
Part 7: Boy in Back — First Possibility
Part 7: Boy in Back — Additional Possibilities
Part 8: Man at Left — John Tanner?
Part 8: Man at Left — Options
Part 8: Response from CHL about Fire Damage
Part 9: Conclusion

Please read the posts and comments to the final posts for details about the identification. As noted there, the most likely identification for the people in the following picture is:
Sitting, left to right: Myron Tanner, Elizabeth Beswick Tanner, Louisa Maria Tanner Lyman. Standing: Joseph Smith Tanner.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Call for FamilySearch Research Wiki Moderators

The following notice was published today about the FamilySearch Research Wiki:
The FamilySearch Research Wiki is putting out another call for moderators. Yes, we have put out this call before, but the need is still great. We have created invitations and pages that reach out to the knowledgeable and talented contributors to our wiki. We need moderators who can help maintain the quality of those pages. 
Those who now work and those who have worked as moderators have given much, and many times they are stretched to the limit. But we still call for more. Why would you want to do this? What are the rewards? 
The pleasure of creating something of worth; organizing, building with others to make something that all can use and build on. 
Working with others who have the same love of and interest in genealogy.
Most of all, giving to those who need this resource to accomplish their research.
At this time, the Wiki Support team is adding new volunteer features to the wiki. We need moderators to help guide these volunteers and contributors. 
Please consider giving your time by being a moderator for the wiki. For information on the responsibilities of a moderator and instructions signing up to be a moderator, click on this link,
I heartedly support and reinforce the call for moderators. The Research Wiki is easily the most valuable research resource on the Internet and getting more valuable all the time. If you would like to make a difference in the genealogical community around the world, we can use your help and expertise. 

I am presently the Moderator for Arizona and Utah and have signed up to be the Moderator for New Mexico also. Don't let me hog all the opportunities here, take some time to look at and learn about the Research Wiki and you will soon understand my enthusiasm for the program. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ove Ovesen/-son in Mormon Migration

Tanner Family Line

Many thanks to a kind cousin who mentioned that the Mormon Migration information was outdated on my blog The Diary of Ove C. Oveson. I am not currently posting on that blog, since the Ovesen diary is about seventh on a list of major projects. I'm simultaneously working on six major historical projects,  including this blog, and adding another project to the list would mean that none of them would get done, so under my current projections, the Oveson diary will have to wait until 2016 or 2017.

* * *

Here is Ove Oveson's entry in the Mormon Migration Database. Note that he is listed as Ovesen, which is the correct Danish spelling, but not the one that he used in America. The immigration record notes that he was 25 years old, from Jutland, a laborer, and that he left Liverpool on  April 28, 1864 and arrived in New York on June 3, 1864 on the ship Monarch of the Sea.

If you click on the ship name, you will see the Journal of Ove Christian Oveson listed as one of the sources about this trip.

In addition, here is Ove's entry from the Perpetual Emigrating Fund record books:

and up close:

The "D" in his entry means Denmark. The number 252 which I do not show in the cropped version is his ticket number. There isn't any additional address information because he was one of a large group of Danish and Swedish emigrants emigrating under the direction of Jesse N. Smith. His name does not appear in the "Names of Persons and Sureties Indebted to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company, 1850 to 1877," so he paid his debt to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund before 1877.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Update on Individuals of Unusual Size

A few days ago I posted about a response from FamilySearch about a problem with a merge in Family Tree. (Individuals of Unusual Size.) After my father saw the post, he wrote some additional notes on his genealogy/technology blog. Click over to his post to see the response from FamilySearch:
A Very Disturbing FamilySearch Family Tree Issue

Rare Historical Find in the Overson Negative Collection

The scanning and digitizing of the collection of negatives and printed photos from my Great-grandmother Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson is proceeding slowly. Recently, I discovered a remarkable set of photographs taken in front of the home of Stake President Andrew Kimball in Thatcher, Arizona. There is a copy of the photograph in the Arizona Collection. Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Special Collections. The description of the photo is as follows from the ASU Arizona Collection:
St. Joseph's Stake High Council Members of Thatcher, Arizona. Photograph Taken in Front of Stake President Andrew Kimball's Home. Kimball is Seated Fourth from the Left. From the Ryder Ridgway Photograph Collection. The finding aid to this collection may be accessed electronically from Arizona Archives Online:
If you are not aware, Andrew Kimball was the father of LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball.

Here is a copy of the original photograph. If Grandmother Overson had this photo in her collection, she likely had the original negative from which this print was made. The photo does not appear to be a copy of a pre-existing photograph. Speculating, the photograph could have been taken by her father, Charles Godfrey (De Friez) Jarvis.
The photo in the ASU Arizona Collection appears to be slightly damaged and printed on yellowing paper. It also appears to have crop marks. See link above. For a biography of Andrew Kimball click here. However, the photo above, from Grandmother Overson, has a notation "11x" in white which would have been on the negative when the photo was printed.

The big news is not the necessarily this historic photo, but the one that accompanies it. Here is the photo of the men's wives taken at the same time in 1910 at the same place:
The existence of this second photo, taken at the same time and place, argues for the fact that the photos were taken either by Charles Jarvis or his daughter, Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson. I am sure both photos warrant additional research.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Was Thomas Tanner of Connecticut related to William Tanner of Rhode Island?

There is a commonly digitized book concerning the descendants of Thomas Tanner of Connecticut.[1] This book is available on Google Books at, and similar websites. Unfortunately, the book begins its discussion of the advent of the Tanner family in America by reporting the common genealogical myth concerning the arrival of three brothers from England. A variation on this myth, also reported, is that one of the brothers stayed in England because of his inheritance and the other two brothers were the immigrants. Aside from the fact that there are absolutely no source citations, other than “family tradition,” these speculations are not supported by the scant facts that do exist.

It is undisputed that there was a Tanner family based primarily in Connecticut and at the same time there is also a well-documented family with the same surname in Rhode Island to which I trace my family line. But there is no demonstrable evidence connecting the two families. The Tanner surname is common in England and there is no reason to suppose that all the Tanners found there are descendants from some common ancestor. Since the origin of the name clearly refers to a common occupation, there is no need to question the distinct possibility that use of the name arose in different areas and at different times as adopted by unrelated individuals. Subsequent surname books on the Rhode Island Tanner family refer to the multiple origins of the surname and even add in a Coat of Arms.[2]

Samuel Shepherd and the RLDS Church

Tanner Family Line

This post is in response to an email from a Shepherd cousin wondering about the family's connection to the RLDS Church. As always, we enjoy hearing from cousins or others interested in the material on this blog.

* * *

Vermont natives Samuel Shepherd and Roxalana Ray Shepherd joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chagrin, Ohio, undoubtedly while living on land in the Western Reserve that they received due to Samuel's service in the War of 1812.

They moved to join the Church in Missouri, where Roxie died of cholera. Samuel remarried Charity Bates Swarthout, a woman with a large family whose husband had recently died.

The blended Shepherd and Swarthout family moved West with the Saints after Joseph Smith's death, three sons serving as members of the Mormon Battalion.

In 1851 a large group of Saints — mostly Southerners but also members of the large intermarried Tanner-Lyman-Shepherd family — moved across the Mojave Desert to create a settlement at San Bernardino.