photograph showcase

Photograph Showcase: Sarah is calling to me

Sarah Esther Mudd
Sarah Esther Mudd

My grandmother’s boxes (so many great big boxes!) are so full of gems that I am struggling with how to organize and really dive in.  I’m still just working with a small batch of photos I scanned for my family history Christmas gift.  This photo wasn’t needed for the game but it was on an album page that included a photo I did need and so it was scanned.

Sarah Esther Mudd is my 3rd great grandmother.  I have never researched her. You see, in my family tree I have two distinct parts – my mom’s side and my dad’s side.  My mom was not born into an LDS family.  My dad was.  In his tree every single line has a Mormon Pioneer – every single line!  In fact, on one line I am the 9th generation member of my church.  And then on my mom’s side I am a 2nd generation member.  If you are familiar with long line LDS trees like my dad’s, then you know that they are HEAVILY researched.  My mom’s side was like a blank canvas when I started.  I’m still regularly finding and adding direct line ancestors on her side.  Because of this I don’t spend much time on my dad’s side.

But now I have those boxes.  Boxes from my dad’s mom.  Suddenly I find myself being pulled toward these ancestors I have never researched.  I’ve read some of their stories.  I know their names and the dates and places other researchers have found for them.  But now, I feel like verifying, sourcing, researching and really diving in.

Sarah?  All I know so far is what I inherited from other researchers.  She was born Sarah Esther Mudd 8 September 1829 in Stratford, Essex, England to Joseph Mudd and Rebecca Daymond.  She married George Edward Davis 25 July 1847 in the Stepney District Church in London.  She and George had five children that I know of, including Susan Kaziah Davis, my 2nd great grandmother.  I know that Sarah Esther Mudd was a Mormon Pioneer, I can see on FamilySearch that she was part of the Daniel D. McArthur Company.  She died 8 June 1909 in North Ogden, Weber, Utah.

But the pull to learn more about Sarah comes from this photo.  My Grandma somehow got her hands on a copy and put it into an album she created.  Sarah is my Grandma’s great grandmother.  I wonder what stories my Grandma knew about Sarah?  Stories that never made it to me.

Those boxes, they are a pullin’ me in all sorts of directions!  Sarah is just one of many…


Do you research more heavily on one side of your tree than the other?  Why?

15 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: Sarah is calling to me”

  1. Yes! My husband and I both have family trees that echo your own. My dad is the 1st generation Mormon, though. I have researched his side for 25 years, but largely left my Pioneer heritage alone because so many other family members are working on it. My husband’s side is 3/4 1st or 2nd generation Mormon and we have concentrated on those lines much more. What changed things for us was not a photo, but a lack of photos in our personal collection of those Mormon ancestors. We had also shared so many stories of the ancestors we had researched with our children, but when they asked about their Mormon heritage this year, I had very little I could tell them. So, we’ve spent a significant amount of time as a family this year seeking out that part of our heritage, learning the “faith of our fathers”. It really has been a faith-building experience, and a portion of our tree we will not neglect going forward.

  2. I researched the families that I thought would be easiest to find out about. Started off just getting names of people. Well that was short lived. Then I went to see an aunt I hadn’t seen since I was a child and she gave me, all the goods so to speak! She had pictures, she had stories that were written down, she had stories written down by family members at reunions! AND she let me take the entire caboodle to be photo copied. From then on I was hooked and it has become a passion! That was my fathers side of the family. After that I was not shy about interviewing people or trekking to find my roots! It is like a puzzle or giant maze! One thing leads to another. I have researched my family that were all named after Indians, starting with Pocohontas. One little thing, we are not Indians. I have researched an entire family named numbers, 1,2,3, ect. I have researched families with at least one child in the family named Greenberry. Loved that family! I have researched a family with all Marys; Mary Anne, Mary Margaret, etc. And a family with several twins in it, all named John and John A, Robert and Robert A. No name, for the initials, just the initials. So I have had a great deal of a learning curve and fun with my family history!

    1. My original is a copy made from a negative made from the original so it’s really hard to tell. I don’t know the correct terminology but I think it’s one of those enhanced photographs where the photo is taken and then an artist “enhances” the photo to darken up the lines. I’ve seen a few like this from this time period. I should learn more about them…

  3. I sometimes wonder what my descendants will think of the fact that I’ve done all this research. Will they feel there is nothing for them to do? Will I have deprived them of all the rewards of doing it themselves? Your experience makes me realize there will always be more to learn. (I had no information about any of my ancestors—including almost nothing about my grandparents, so I had to start pretty much from scratch.)

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