Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Mysterious Pardon

...Pardon Tanner, that is.

I just finished removing another Pardon Tanner from one of the duplicate John Tanner families on FamilySearch Family Tree. Someone added him to the family again last year and in the regular flurry of people moving family members around from one duplicate file to another, I must have missed the notification in the weekly change report email. I've removed him from the family before, as has Karen Bray Keeley.

Here is the explanation for the deletion:
John Tanner and Lydia Stewart Tanner did not have a child named Pardon. There are no known family records for the existence of this child. Lists of the family from the 19th and early 20th century do not mention him.  
John Tanner had a brother named Pardon Tanner (L6G9-6S3). William Tefft Tanner (LZY8-STR) and Lydia Diane Foster (LHRF-CWS) had a child named Pardon Tanner (MBPD-GH5). 
I don't know who first speculated that John and Lydia Stewart Tanner had a child named Pardon. A Pardon Tanner was sealed as a child to John Tanner and Lydia Stewart on 2 September 1975 in the Logan Temple, but I have never seen a valid reason for anyone doing that. Until someone can provide a contemporaneous source for his existence that proves that he is the son of John and Lydia and not of Joshua and Thankful Tanner or of William and Lydia Tanner, please do not add him to the family. [1]
Perhaps it was a noteworthy experience for someone to think that there was still temple work to be done for the Tanner family and go do it this past fall, but I really can't understand how someone could possibly conclude that any temple work still needed to be done for the immediate John Tanner family.

Although no temple work needs to be done for this family, here are some things that do need to be done.

(1) Source and correct all entries for all children and grandchildren and their families. Please do not make changes unless you have documentation to back up your changes. Documentation does not include personal genealogical records, unless you have family records created at the time of the events, but documentation does include vital and government and church records and certain histories. 

(2) Collect and write biographies for all family members, including the women, and place them in the "Stories" section of each entry. Collect and add photographs from family members and historical societies such as Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Remember to include a note about where you got the story or picture and get permission if anything is still in copyright. 

(3) Research and source related families such as the Bentlys and Stewarts and Beswicks and Teffts. 

(4) There are plenty more sources available on John Tanner and his family including tax and government and land and military and church and legal records. Many of these require more work to find than a quick search on FamilySearch, but they are available and should be added as sources to Family Tree.

[1] A contemporaneous source would be one created at the time this purported child was born or died. Lacking an actual record of his birth or death, a family record created in the 1800s would work, something like a family Bible. As far as any of us know, there is no such record, and this child was created by someone thinking William and Lydia Foster Tanner's child belonged to John and Lydia Stewart Tanner, or speculating the existence of a child in the 3-1/2 year gap between Louisa Maria and Martin Henry. There may have been a child at this time, but without any record to prove his existence, we can't create historical reality by speculation.

"Washington County Farm" by UpstateNYer - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons—

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