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Photograph Showcase: Family Photo

Frederick & Susan Ellis family.jpg

I found this photo in one of my Grandma’s boxes.  I was instantly fascinated.  Something about this photo seemed different from the other photos of this family.

It didn’t take long for me to discover the story.  This is a family photo taken just before Frederick William Ellis departed for Tasmania as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The noteworthy detail?  Frederick is the father of this big family.  He was asked by his church leaders to leave his family and serve a mission.  He agreed to go.  His family supported him.  They were proud of him.  He served faithfully from October 1893 until May 1896.  Two and one half years away from his family.

Frederick and his wife Susan Kaziah Davis are my 2nd great grandparents.  I descend from their son Claude Albert Ellis.  Claude was just 3 years and 3 months old when his father left.  He is the little one holding his mother’s hand.  He is also the father of the Grandma whose boxes I just received.  That Grandma is the person who wrote each name beneath the photo.  She was also proud of her grandparent’s sacrifice.

During RootsTech, the Church History Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new database, Early Mormon Missionaries.  I checked the database for Frederick’s missionary service and found his entry here.  Do you have any early Mormon Missionaries in your family?

3 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: Family Photo”

  1. I didn’t know that LDS missionaries would be sent so far and for so long when they had families. How did your GGgmother manage to get by? Did the Church provide support while her husband was gone? It must have been quite difficult for her.

    1. In the early days of the church this would often happen. His mission was later and I was surprised. I didn’t know that was still happening at that point. Frankly, It’s not something I’ve spent much time learning about. Now, that would never happen. Families are sometimes called as various types of missionaries and go as a family. The church most likely did not support her financially. I read a note in an interview she gave to one of her children that her older children worked to help support her and the younger children. I believe they had a farm so I imagine a lot of the work was around the farm. I’m still learning about this family. It’s on my dad’s side. His side so heavily researched that I mostly focus on my mom’s side. But now that I have the boxes, that is beginning to change. 🙂 But I think you are correct – it must have been quite difficult for her.

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