thegenealogygirl


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Ellis Album, Photo 3 – All Four Ellis Children

 

ELLIS, children of Claude & Blanche, WWII

The four children of Claude Albert Ellis & Blanche Octavia Huband.  Back, l-r:  Mary Margaret Ellis, Dale Huband Ellis, Beth Louise Ellis; front: Claudia Ellis.

I have so many questions when I look at this photo.  My Grandma is on the left.  She is wearing a corsage made of gardenias.  It appears to be three gardenias.  For their entire married lives, my Grandpa would buy her a double gardenia corsage for Mother’s Day.  In fact, it was such a habit, that the first Mother’s Day after my Grandpa died, the florist delivered a double gardenia corsage to my Grandma.  She called her boys to thank them who then called the florist to thank him.  They took care of it for the remaining Mother’s Days of her life.  When she passed, the florist made her one last double gardenia corsage.  Was the gardenia corsage in this photo from my Grandpa?  Did the tradition start before their first Mother’s Day as a married couple?

Uncle Dale was in the Navy during WWII.  Was this photo taken when he was on leave?  About to ship out?  There is nothing written on the back.  I know that his ship went down and the family spent some uncertain time – weeks? – hoping to hear from him.  In the end, he made it home safely.  Now that I look at this beautiful photograph, I want to know more!!  Hopefully, I find more details in the letters from this time period.

Isn’t Claudia so adorable?  She was born more than a decade after my Grandma, the next youngest sibling.

I love the way that photos cause me to ask questions I hadn’t thought about before.  Studying old photos can be a great way to prompt new research questions.

 

 

 

ps – I’ve been deep cleaning/organizing my office.  I found three more Ellis photo albums.  I may need to rename this series.  Maybe – Red Ellis Album…?  😯😍

 

 

Here are the first two pages of the album to give context for this photo:

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This post is part of a series sharing this wonderful old family photo album.  You can learn more about the album here.


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Treasures: Penitentiary Letter

 

 

These are my 2nd great-grandparents, Susan Kaziah Davis and Frederick William Ellis.  They were both born in England.  They each joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrated to America.  They made their way to Utah where they met.  In 1869, they were married in Salt Lake City.  They had ten children.  Their youngest son, Claude Albert Ellis, is my great-grandfather.  His daughter, Mary Margaret Ellis, is my grandmother.  In 1930, Frederick was a widower and is found living in the home of his son Claude.  This means that my Grandma spent some of her growing up years with her Grandpa Ellis living in her home.  She knew him well.  And, that is probably why I have so many Ellis family treasures.

Back to Frederick and Susan.  And Sarah.  In 1881, Frederick married Sarah Jane Barker.  Frederick was a polygamist.  He and Sarah had six children.  It wasn’t long after his marriage to Sarah that polygamy became a felony.  LDS polygamists were forced to make a choice.  Frederick was not willing to divorce Sarah.  And so, on two occasions, he spent time in the Utah Penitentiary.

Growing up, my Grandma only had happy, positive things to say about her grandparents.  She had a framed picture hanging on her wall of the Frederick William Ellis family.  At the time it was taken, Sarah was no longer living.  Front and center are Frederick and Susan, surrounded by 12 of the children from both wives.  (One had died, I’m not sure why the other three were not in the photo, maybe they lived too far away at the time it was taken.)  Grandma seemed to have no negative feelings about polygamy.  And since it was so close to her, generationally speaking, it had an impact on my perspective.  I just really didn’t think much about it.  It just was.  And now that I am older, I wish I had thought to ask my Grandma more questions about what polygamy was like for her grandparents.  But I did not ask.  And so I am left to try to glean what I can from the bits of their lives they left behind.

This letter, was among the treasures in my Grandma’s boxes.  It was written by Frederick to Susan on 1 January 1887.  It is 131 years old.  What a treasure!

 

 

Transcription:

Utah Penitentiary

Jan 1st 1887

Dear Susey,

I recived your letter yesterday and wase very glad to hear from you and to know you wase feeling better, I have been watching for a letter evry day for a week, Mother and Father sent me up a cake and a Pie and apples and candy for Christmas, I expect thay well come up and see me before thay go Back,

We had a concert on Christmas eve and we had a good time, being on of the committee you know what part I have to take, We have one evry week, I feal a little more at home now I have on my my new close, I do not feal

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so much like a black sheep thay say I look good in them

Bro Tracey Left here the other day and I expect he will call on you some day

I have got one of the school arithmetic now but I do not know wether I well go to school or not yet, as Bro Butler is in this Cell he his willing to tell me all I want to know

I have sent to Father to get me some Books and some over shoe’s and you can fix it with him when he comes home

I sent to you the other day for a few things I expect you have recived the letter before this

Pleas tell Fredy not to do anything to the hay Rack before I come home as I well be home in time then I well make a new one tell him

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to get some good strate stakes about 3 or 4 feet long to go around the rack if he has time

I would like the children to write to me at any time as it well be all the news I well get from home and tell them to be good children and I well see them again some day

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a happy new year remember me to the Bishop and tell him I well write to him some day this is about all I have to say at Present

Hoping this will find you all well

I Remane yours

Truly

F. W. Ellis

If I had my slippers I would like it

 

That last line may be my very favorite part.  There is something so gentle and understated about it as well as the fact that it just catches me off guard each time I read it and I usually laugh out loud a bit.

There is something so cool about holding a letter this old.  What a joy to be the current steward of this family treasure.

 

Happy Monday!  Do you have any old family letters?  If so, what is the oldest letter you have?

 

 

ps – If you are curious about polygamy in my tree, let me tell you a bit.  My Dad descends from all LDS pioneers.  In his part of my tree, I counted 19 pioneer men and only 4 were definitely polygamists and 2 might have been (more research is needed on those men).  Additionally, I have one female ancestor, Sarah Jane Marler, who was married to a man who was not a polygamist (from whom I descend) and then when he was killed she married his best friend who was already married.  Many people are under the impression that polygamy was practiced by all members of the LDS church.  That is not true.  Many LDS men were never polygamists.  The church issued what was known as the Manifesto in 1890, officially ending the practice of polygamy.  Of course, that wasn’t something that could be followed immediately.  But it did mean that no more men entered into the practice of polygamy.  I have heard that a few more marriages somehow happened, but generally speaking, no more polygamous marriages occurred after 1890.

 


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Treasures: Susan Kaziah Davis History

Susan Kaziah Davis

Susan Kaziah Davis is my 2nd great grandmother.  In 1915, at the age of 65, she wrote a brief sketch of her life.  This manuscript was passed down to her son Claude Albert Ellis, and to Claude’s daughter Mary Margaret Ellis, and to Margaret’s son Blake, and then to me.  Margaret is my grandmother and Blake is my uncle.

This brief sketch was used as the basis for a longer personal history written by Susan and her son Claude.  That history can be found here.

The full resolution scans for this handwritten sketch can be found here.  Smaller images of this sketch are presented here in order:

Transcription of Susan’s history:

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Ogden Utah

April 28th, 1915

A Brief Sketch of the life, & happenings of Susean K. Ellis, Wife of F. W. Ellis. and Daughter of Sarah E, & Edward G. Davis, Born Jan 28th, 1850, Bath Summerset England,

My Mother and Father joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, about the year 1849, just a short time preceeding my birth, I being born with my

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eye lids sealed together, but through the anointing with oil, and the faith of my mother, I was made to see,

I was blessed with a name by Bro Kendel.

My Father was made president of the Bath branch of the Church, and Counsel meetings were held at our home every monday evening,

Our doors alway’s remained open to welcome any of the servent’s

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of God,

When about twelve years of age, I went to work at the Corset factory, where my Father was engaged as a presser, and two of my sisters as seamstresses,

A year later after my Father’s death, my Mother had to begin work in order that we might obtain a living, We continued working at this factory for five years longer, “And were greatly favored, & respected by our head Maneager”

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When we decided to emigrate to Utah,

During our short stay in England as members of the Church, we rec’d great persecution from mob’s, which gathered to persecute the saints,

Many times my Father had to remain at the Poleace Station the greater part of the night, to avoid being mobed, and our windows were broken in with rocks from the hand’s of our enemies,

I was very sickly

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the greater part of my younger life, and when we decided to come to Utah, A great many people tried to perswade Mother to leave me in England with them, as they thought it impossible for me to stand the voyage across the water, and told mother that she would barry me in on the ocean, but through the faith, & ambition of my mother, & the goodness of the Lord, I was permitted to come to Zion,

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We sailed from England on the ship Colorado, Tues, july 14th, 1868, with a company of six hundred (600) saints, under the direction of William B, Preston,

After a voyage of about two week’s, we arrived in New York, July 28th, 1868, The Company continued on as far as Benton Neb, arriving Aug 7th, 1868,

We left Benton Aug 14th, 1868, for Utah, with an Ox team company, numbering 61 wagon’s, & 411 passengers, under direction of Capt. Daniel D. McArthur,

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arriving in Salt Lake valley in Sept 3 1868,

There were six deaths on the journey,  One being a young man by the name of Harry Popel, who was acciedently shot, “Also one birth”

Our journey accross the plain’s was very pleasant considering the mode of travel, The evenings were spent singing hyms, and listening to our brethern talk, We had not the hard-ships to indure which some companies had,

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We were meet in Salt Lake City by Sister Irish, who took us to her home, that we might rest for a few days,

I went to work at the “Salt Lake House” as Chambermaid, with Mr Little, as owner, After two months service I went to live with a family by name of Foalsome, staying with them about four month’s, I then went to live with a family by name of George Alder, for two month’s, Here I took sick with Typhoid feaver,

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and Erysipelas, and was under the care of Sister Polly Felt, for seven weeks I was very sick, but rec’d the best of care,

While in the City I took an active part in the seventeenth ward choir, under direction of F. W. Ellis,

In July 1869, I accompanied Bros James Ward, F. W. Ellis, & Miss Marry an Ellis, to North Ogden, and made my home with Bro. & Sis Ellis, at Plesant weiv [Pleasant View],

I also lived a short time with Sister Lizia Brown,

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On the 6th, of sept 1869, three month’s later, I was married to T. W. Ellis [Frederick William Ellis], in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, by Bro Daniel H, Well’s,

I joined the Relief Society in 1869, shortly after arriving in North Ogden, and with a number of other’s we used to walk from Plesant view, to North Ogden each week to our meeting, & choir practise, I acted as a visiting teacher until just about four years ago,

My Husband was asked to take charge of

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the coaperative store, which then stood on the East corner of the old Dudman lot,

This necessitated our moving to North Ogden, which we did, and lived in one log room just behind the store, “which was used partly for a granery” Until four month’s after our first baby was born, When we moved to where we now live,

In 1881, My Husband was married to Sarah Jane, Barker, Both Family’s lived

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together until the persecution started, and my Husband then built another home at Plesant view,

My Husband was taken to the Penitentiary Dec 13th, 1886, where he served a term of six month’s, and then again later, the 13th, Dec 1890, he was made to serve two month’s more, This was a hard trial for me, having such poor health at that time, and a large family to take care of,

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In 1893, My Husband recd a call to the Australian Mission, which he accepted, and left Nov 6th, He was gone for 2 1/2 years, during which time we did every thing possible to support him, & ourselves,

Two of My boy’s also have filled mission’s of late, My oldest son “Freddie” spent two years in the Western States mission, and my youngest son “Claude” spent two year’s in

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the Eastern States Mission, The oldest son, “William” of the second Family spent 4 1/2 years in the Japanese Mission,

I am happy to state that I have been priveleged to go through the temple a number of times, and do work in behalf of our dead relative’s,

I am the Mother of ten (10) Children, six boy’s, & four Girls, all “but one” of which are living at the present time, and all but

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two have made their home’s in the Idaho Country,

I am now (65) years of age, and am enjoying better health than when a girl alout the age of 18 year’s,

 

There is something extra special about reading a sketch of someone’s life in their own handwriting.  Even though there are more detailed histories of her, this one is my favorite.  I feel like the items she chose to include on these brief 15 pages must have been the very dearest to her heart or the most painful.

I am grateful for Susan and her life.  I’m grateful for the fine son she raised who grew up to be the father of my own beloved Grandmother.  I’m thankful that this treasure found its way to me.  And lastly, I am thankful for the technology that has allowed me to preserve and share this family treasure.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you have a meaningful genealogy experience today!

 


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A Special Christmas Gift & the Lesson FamilySearch Taught Me

A Special Christmas Gift

Every year for Christmas I try to give my parents and siblings a meaningful family history gift.  Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s not.  What it always is, is a work of the heart.

This past Christmas, the gift was fairly simple, but definitely meaningful.  And because it was created based on a family treasure found in my grandmother’s archives, I gave this particular gift to my children, my parents and siblings, my uncles and cousins, and my grandmother’s only living sibling.

So what was this special token of our shared heritage?

A slim, 23 page book.

The first 15 pages were a carefully scanned copy of a handwritten personal history recorded by my 2nd great grandmother Susan Kaziah Davis.

Susan is my Grandma’s Grandma.  Susan was born in 1850 in Bath, Somerset, England to Edward George Davis and Sarah Esther Mudd.  Edward and Sarah had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1849.  They continued to live in England for several years.  After Edward’s death in 1863, Sarah and the children worked hard to earn enough money for passage to America and the journey to Utah.  They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the 3rd of September, 1868, having travelled by wagon train.  This makes Sarah, Susan, and the other children Mormon Pioneers.

At the age of 65, Susan wrote a 15 page personal history.  Later, Susan and her son Claude, my great grandfather, used this handwritten history to write a more complete history of Susan’s life.

The original 15 pages are handwritten by Susan in her beautiful penmanship.  I have that original handwritten history and wanted my whole family to be able to enjoy it.

I used a local printshop that I trust to create the scan.  They scanned it in black and white and printed it on a creamy colored cardstock that was similar to the color of the original paper.  I created 8 additional pages that were added after the history.  The print shop printed them up and bound them with a small spiral binding at the top.  Here is one of the books.

Susan Kaziah Davis book

I tried to keep it almost as simple as I found it.  I added my extra pages after Susan’s own writing.  I wanted my family to be able to discover her life from her own writing, just like I had, when I found this treasure.

In the 8 additional pages, I included a letter from me, a few photos of Susan (reprints of scans), a photo of Susan’s mother Sarah, a lovely family group sheet for Susan, her husband and children, and one for Sarah, Edward and their children.  I also created a relationship chart so that each recipient would know how they are related to Susan.  Here are the 8 pages, in the order found in the book, with names of living people edited out except for mine.

I was very happy with this small gift I was able to share with my family.

The next step for me was a more permanent preservation effort for the handwritten history.

I instantly thought of the free FamilySearch book scanning service at RootsTech.  I had used this service at RootsTech in 2016 and was very happy with the quality of the scan.  The item I scanned that year was a Family Record book kept by Susan’s husband Frederick William Ellis.  Here are two sample pages from that scan:

The book can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog here.  The actual images of the book can be found here.

The scans turned out great!  I was very pleased and thought this was a great way to preserve something for my extended family with little work on my part.  The book is 86 pages long and while I certainly could have scanned them, this saved me lots of time.

Because of my previous experience with the FamilySearch Book Scanning service at RootsTech, I decided Susan’s handwritten history would be one of two books I had scanned at RootsTech 2017.

When I picked up my precious manuscript from the book scanning booth I very nearly walked over to a different booth that accepts donations of family items about early Mormon Pioneers.  I almost donated this small history so it could be preserved and available for all of Susan’s descendants to view in person at the Church History Library.  I had already recreated a physical copy for my family.  I had already had a nice scan created by FamilySearch.  Donating it would ensure it’s preservation.  But some nagging feeling caused me to keep on walking.

After I returned home from RootsTech, I checked for my book to show up in the catalog several times.  Eventually I quit checking and forgot about it until last week when I checked again.  I was very puzzled when I couldn’t find it.  I tried a bunch of tricks and I just wasn’t tracking it down.  So I got extra creative and finally – there it was.  The catalog name isn’t the best – A Brief sketch of the Life & Happenings of Susean (Susan) K. Ellis.  The catalog entry can be found here.  And the images of the scans can be found here.

Here is the first page from that scan:

FS scan of SKD history

I was sooooo disappointed in this scan!  They scanned it in black and white.  And at a low resolution.

Can I just say how glad I am that I did not donate Susan’s precious manuscript?!

After discovering this huge disappointment, I decided to scan the small treasure myself last week.  I used a flatbed scanner and scanned each page at a very high resolution and saved them as a .tiff file.

Here is the first page at about one fourth the size of my scan and saved as a .jpeg.  It looks so much better than the FS scan!

SKD history page 1

So what is the lesson?

 

I don’t know why I experienced such drastic quality differences with the FamilySearch Book Scanning service, but I did.  In the future, I will not waste my time having them scan something so small.  And I will definitely NEVER assume their scan has me covered and donate an item before making sure the scan is the quality I expect.

FamilySearch has earned my trust time and again.  I almost let that well deserved trust cause me to donate an item before it had been properly scanned.  I would have been heartbroken at my unnecessary loss.

I still trust FamilySearch and love their generous, inclusive, and vast efforts to help all people learn about their family’s history.

But I have now learned that my trust has a very important limit.  Everything I consider donating will be properly scanned and saved to various locations before I even talk about making that donation.

 

 

Have you ever used the FamilySearch Book Scanning service?  If so, what was your experience like?

 

Do you like to give family history gifts to your family?  If so, what types of gifts have you given?

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope you are able to properly preserve and share a family treasure very soon!

 

 

ps – I will post my scans and a transcription of Susan’s history in an upcoming post for my extended family to find and enjoy.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Ellis Family

Claude and Blanche Ellis Family

back l-r: Beth Louise Ellis, Claudia Ellis, Mary Margaret Ellis; front l-r: Claude Albert Ellis, Blanche Octavia Huband, Dale Huband Ellis

I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the taking of this photo but it’s a lovely shot of my great grandparents and their children, including my grandmother – Mary Margaret Ellis.


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Photograph Showcase: Claude & Blanche

These are my great grandparents Claude Albert Ellis and Blanche Octavia Huband.  The photos have no dates but are the nicest young adult portraits of each of them.  I imagine his photo might have been taken just before his service as an LDS missionary.  Maybe hers is a graduation photo?  I love them both!