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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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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa Costello & His Guitar, aka Photo Heaven ❤️

COSTELLO, John playing his guitar, November 1960

John Costello, November 1960. Photo courtesy of Barbara Costello.

In May of this year, I shared my joy at finding 7 seconds of video of my great grandfather, John Costello.  In that post I shared that I have exactly 5 photos of my great grandfather.

Guess what?

That is not the case any longer!!

 

{Insert major genealogy happy dancing & celebrating right here.}

 

In July, my sister visited our grandaunt Barbara.  Barbara is the widow of Dan Costello.  Dan is the son of our great grandfather, John Costello.

Aunt Barbara sent my sister home with a lovely chalk drawing created by John’s wife, that I shared last week.  She also sent her home with a small, but very precious, bundle of photographs for me to scan and return.

This photo of Grandpa Costello was among them.  My heart is bursting with joy to see Grandpa Costello in – what I am guessing is his living room? – playing his guitar.  He didn’t like having his picture taken, so each photo is extra special.  Here is, as a 67 year old man, still playing his guitar.  Be still my heart.

❤️

 

Have you been blessed to have photos shared with you, photos you weren’t expecting to ever see?

 

 

ps – Thank you!! for all of the input and advice about my letter collection.  I really appreciate each of your comments, emails, and poll answers.  Between all of you and some conversations with family, I think I have made a tentative plan.  I think.  The part I know for sure is that I will not be sharing the letters here.  My goal is to be ready to begin sharing them with family in January.

As a side note, my sister talked me through every possible way of sharing, all of the issues to consider – both for those who are deceased and those who are living, plus the time required for each avenue.  In all of that discussing, she helped me have an interesting and very valuable a-ha moment.  There are letters missing.  I know this for sure.  There are also letters that have been edited by scissors or permanent marker – by Grandma.  That leads us to believe that she definitely destroyed many letters, leaving no trace, and that the ones that remain that were marked “destroy”, were either too special to her to destroy or she changed her mind about their fate.  We can’t know for certain, but it has impacted our position on how to handle those letters.  One thing all of this has caused me to reflect upon, is what my own wishes are for my personal items like journals and letters.  Hopefully I can make my wishes clear so one day my granddaughter will know exactly what I would have wanted her to do.

 

 


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Advice Please ❤️

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I have finished filing thousands of precious letters between my grandparents, as well as letters from my great grandparents, extended family, and friends to my Grandpa during WWII and my grandparent’s respective missions.

I have begun scanning and transcribing.  What a joy!

But I am struggling with a few decisions.

Should I post the letters here or on their own blog?  I haven’t counted the letters, but there are thousands.  If I post them here, how should I alter my posting schedule?

Should I include everything?  My Grandma wrote the word destroy on a few of the envelopes.  You see, she inadvertently “Dear John”ed my Grandpa and was extremely embarrassed by that.  It wasn’t something she talked about.  Ever.  But my Grandpa told me all about it.  How do I handle those letters with respect to both my Grandma’s feelings and honoring the truth of their story?  (I really don’t think she had a reason to be embarrassed, it all worked out just fine in the end.)

Then there are a few letters written by Grandpa’s friends that don’t exactly paint the letter writers in the best light.  Do I include those?

Oh boy!  So many decisions.

So, I have a little survey here with these questions.  Feel free to answer on the survey or in the comments or both.  I would love any feedback that might help me choose a path forward.

 

Thank you!

 

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandma and Her Fancy Dress

ELLIS, Mary Margaret, wearing black sequined dress in snow - smaller

This photo of my Grandma, Mary Margaret Ellis, comes from a bundle of negatives found in her collection.   She has an engagement ring on, so I am guessing this was taken sometime while my Grandpa was on his LDS mission in New Zealand.  I need to do a little digging to nail down those dates.

I love the details of her dress.  She made most of her own dresses.  I wonder if she made this one too?  It’s a little bit fancy, I wonder what it was for?  They got married in June so I don’t think it was for any wedding festivities.

 


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Family Reunion Bingo Games!

Reunion at Lagoon 1926

Isn’t this photo awesome?!  This Family Reunion photo was taken at Lagoon* in 1926.  The family gathered are the descendants of my 2nd great grandparents Frederick William Ellis and Susan Kaziah Davis.

My family still holds three different reunions today.  They look a little something like this.

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Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

I really love family reunions but one of the main challenges is getting everyone talking to each other.  It’s easy for the siblings and first cousins, but second cousins and cousins from different generations?  Not so easy.  Everyone experiences the same silly obstacle – they feel dumb asking people’s names.  We always have name-tags available but hardly anyone puts one on.

Well, last summer I was in charge of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson Family Reunion.  Rulon and Naomi are my great grandparents.  This reunion is held every summer in late July or early August and includes 4 generations of my family.  I love to see and visit with my Grandpa’s younger siblings.  His brothers remind me so much of my Grandpa that it takes my breath away for just a minute, in a good way.

But all those younger cousins, understandably, gravitate to their grandparents, parents, and first cousins.  I wanted to shake that up and get people interacting more and remembering our family members who are no longer with us.

So, I made two bingo games that required asking people questions.  I had good prizes too.  There were lots of little party favor type prizes for Bingos like stretchy frogs, bouncy balls, suckers, lip balm, packs of gum, etc.  Then I had a few big prizes for the first 5 or so people who earned a blackout – a cool water gun, two $10 gift cards for lunch, and a few other items I’ve forgotten.  In all I spent about $90 from the budget.  And every penny was worth it.

This was the easy Bingo game:

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

As soon as I explained the game to the first children to arrive, they instantly starting running around asking everyone the answers.  The adults who were trying to remember things, had to talk to each other about it too.  Lots of good family conversations were going on.  After several kiddos exhausted this Bingo board, they moved on to the harder game.  This one was about our deeper family history.  This entire side of my family are LDS, so you will notice that reflected in both games.

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

I really loved the conversations that both Bingo games generated.  We heard some family stories and facts that I had never heard before – and that is saying something!  There was an awesome feeling during this whole reunion as we had dinner and talked, and filled in our Bingo cards.  Our focus was on our family members and we all felt their love and presence with us that night.

After dinner I wrapped things up by sharing that I had recently come into possession of a large collection of family letters including a box of letters written by Naomi.  This is a special treasure for all of us because she died very young, with one child still at home, and left no journals or personal history.  But those five years of letters she wrote to my Grandpa include so much of her heart and life.  I read this little story from one of her letters:

From a letter dated Friday, October 13, 1944, written by Naomi Peterson to Ronald Peterson:

“I must tell you about Janice and Marilyn.  We went in to Lienhardt’s to get the candy last night and when we came home Marilyn’s new robe was over the back of the chair by the telephone.  It looked wet and on further examination I found a pool of water under the chair.  This morning Janice stated to laugh saying she had never seem anything so funny in her life.  Marilyn had filled the bath tub for her bath.  She and Janice were standing by the mirror.  Marilyn says things just to make Janice angry – rather smart you remember.  Janice gave her a disgusted push and sat Marilyn in the tub robe and all.  Her feet were hanging out and her head against the soap dish.  Janice said she went in very gracefully.  Marilyn says there is going to be a big splash one of these times.”

What a treasure.  It was a joy to see everyone’s eyes light up as I told them about the letters and shared this story.  It was a great reunion with a very simple set of activities.

 

If you have a family reunion coming up, I wholeheartedly suggest you consider making your own version of Family Bingo.  Everyone loved it and they were used again at a smaller reunion for one of my Great Uncles and his family.  I also emailed copies to everyone who couldn’t attend including answers for the second Bingo card.

 

If you would like to use my docs as a starting point to make your own, here they are:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

And if you are related to me and are curious about the answers, here is the copy with answers:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingo

 

I will just add one more tip – I did not put a limit on the number of prizes.  I also didn’t worry a lot about the prizes.  The kids knew I had created the game, they would come to me and show me their card and I would send them over to choose their prize.  Some kids made a serious haul, but it kept the conversations going all night.  Plenty of adults and teenagers played too – and took prizes.  I made sure I had a Costco sized bag of High-Chews as backup in case we ran low on prizes, we did use the High-Chews and got very close to running out of everything.

 

Have you ever been in charge of a Family Reunion?  What activities have you enjoyed at Family Reunions?

 

 

*Lagoon is an amusement park here in Utah that started out as a place for bowling, dancing, and eating.  The first thrill ride was added in 1899.

 

Family Reunion Bingo Games

 


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Major Milestone Right Here!

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Last week I filed and filed and filed letters.  Do you know what a treat it is to open letter after letter and see your grandparents handwriting?  To touch the pages they touched?  To hear their sweet and enduring love for each other?  It was completely joyful for me.

I am soooooo happy to say that I filed every single letter for the 5 1/2 years they wrote to each other!  Ten Hollinger boxes filled with letters.

(Of course, I still have the letters from the 1960s when my Grandpa was in graduate school.  But we won’t even think about those yet.)

As soon as I finish scanning Aunt Vera’s scrapbook – these letters are next on deck for scanning.  I think they deserve their own blog.  Maybe this fall.  😉

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These four boxes were mostly full on Wednesday when I started.  They look so beautiful empty, I might just leave them on my table for a day to enjoy their tender place in my heart.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you conquer a special genealogy project sometime this year – it is an incredible feeling!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandma Margaret and her Violin

ELLIS, Margaret playing her violin - smaller

This beautiful photo of my Grandma was found amongst a bundle of negatives from her collection.  Because it was a negative, there is no information about the photograph.  I know that it is my Grandmother, Mary Margaret Ellis.  She played the violin and the piano.  She also had a beautiful singing voice.  I love seeing her here as a young, and clearly dedicated, musician.  Isn’t she darling?

What a treasure!

 

ps – I will be in letter sorting heaven for the next few days while most of my family is on a boys only adventure.  Would it be rude to put a Do Not Disturb sign on my front door?  😉

 

*Post updated with photo turned to the correct direction.  Grandma was right handed and her sister noticed that the original posting had the photo backwards.