Photograph Showcase: A Visit With Grandparents

PETERSON, Rulon, Janice, Ronald and Joseph Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Rulon Powell Peterson, Joseph Skeen; front l-r: Janice Peterson, Ronald Peterson.

PETERSON, Naomi, Marilyn, Janice, Petrina and Evan Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Naomi Skeen holding Marilyn Peterson, Jane Zina Petrina Folkman; Front: Janice Peterson; lying on the ground: Evan Folkman Skeen.

I found these two photos in my Grandmother’s collection.  Rulon and Naomi were the parents of Ronald, Janice, and Marilyn Peterson.  Joseph Skeen and Jane Zina Petrina Folkman were the parents of Naomi and Evan Folkman Skeen.

I am very curious about these groupings.  I wonder who came up with the combinations and what their reasons were?  Either way, I love seeing multi-generational photographs like these.  Such a treasure.



Photograph Showcase: Ronald & Melba

ronald and melba - smaller for FT

This darling photo was labeled simply, “Ronald & Melba”.  Ronald is my Grandpa.  His mother is Naomi Skeen.  Melba is Naomi’s sister, the sister just younger than her.  My Grandpa was the first grandchild in the Skeen family.  It would be 10 more years before Melba would marry and 22 more years before Melba would adopt her only child.  But in this moment shared between Melba, Ronald, and at least two others – the photographer and whomever Melba is smiling at – I just see a lot of joy and contentment.  I hope those feelings continued.  Waiting for children is difficult.  Especially when your sister has six of them before you are able to adopt one.


Who is Patricia?


Recently we spent our family night looking at photos of my Grandpa while he was serving an LDS mission in New Zealand.  We also looked at a shoe box of letters he kept from this time and everyone read one.  I read a letter written by his Grandpa & Grandma Skeen.  There was one thing that jumped right out at me:


“The welfare man came and took Patricia to a couple who have’nt any children.  Well it just made me sick still I think it is better for her she would’nt have half a chanch ove[r] to Ethels”

Do you know how many Ethels are related to Grandma Skeen?!  A lot.  I have been going through my tree trying to figure out the most likely prospects and every one I have considered has been ruled out so far with one exception.  Grandma Skeen has a sister-in-law named Ethel.  I know a little bit about her.  I am beginning to wonder if Patricia is her grandchild or something like that.  This letter was written in 1947, Ethel would have been 68 – maybe age and health would have prevented her from caring for Patricia?  But that seems unlikely too.  Ethel and her husband seemed very stable.  He was an attorney, they lived in the same place for decades.

So now I’m asking myself if:

  • I’ve missed an Ethel I should be looking at?
  • If Ethel wasn’t a relative but a mother of a child who is a relative – girlfriend of someone?
  • If Ethel is a neighbor?
  • Who might be alive that would remember what happened?

I think I’ve been watching too many episodes of Long, Lost Family because I’m just wondering if Patricia has been searching for her birth family and I have this little clue buried in a letter in a shoe box.

I love the thought process that leads to a discovery as much as I love the discovery itself!

Now how am I going to discover Patricia’s story…?


Tell Me A Story – “You have my mother’s eyes!”

Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story Challenge :

Choose a person.  Then do any or all of the following:

  • Make a list of the top ten stories about this person, a word or phrase will do.
  • Choose one story and tell a compelling, short version that will interest your family members in one minute or less.
  • Tell a more detailed version of that story including photos if you have them.

Notes:  You can read about my inspiration behind this challenge here.  I’ve decided to reverse the order in my post.  If you are reading this, you like stories so I’ll start with the full story, then the bite-sized story to hook my family members, then the list of ten stories.

This past summer I attended the annual Rulon & Naomi Peterson Family Reunion.  Rulon & Naomi are my great grandparents.  I usually attend the reunion so I’m quite familiar with my grandfather’s living siblings.  We see each other at weddings and we exchange Christmas Cards and the occasional phone call or email.  We definitely aren’t strangers.

My Grandpa’s youngest brother is Wayne.  I see Uncle Wayne a few times a year and we always talk for a few minutes.  He loves to tell me stories about my Grandpa and I love to hear them.

This past summer Uncle Wayne and I were early arrivals at the reunion.  We were each helping with some last minute arranging and started to chat when he grabbed both of my hands, looked very intently into my eyes and said tearfully, “You have my mother’s eyes.  I had never noticed.  She was a wonderful mother.  Thank you for reminding me of her.”

My great grandmother is so dearly beloved by everyone in our family, including me, and this moment with Uncle Wayne made me feel a new connection with her.  I’m so glad that he told me that.  I will treasure that brief, but poignant conversation all my life.  It was a bridging between generations.

One Minute Story

My Uncle Wayne once told me that I have his mother’s (my great grandmother’s) eyes.

Top Ten Stories List for Naomi (well, in her case eight):

  • Picking Cherries
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Divinity and the Great Depression
  • Zucchini Bread
  • Letter to Grandpa
  • Selling Eggs
  • “You have my mother’s eyes.”
  • Nao-ma


Note:  I wasn’t ready to move on to a new subject for this weeks story so chose another story from my list about Naomi.  That is the beauty of making the list!


Ancestor Story – Lyman Stoddard Skeen – 52 Ancestors

Lyman Stoddard Skeen

Lyman Stoddard Skeen is my 3rd great grandfather.  He was born 18 December 1850 in Keg Creek, Pottawatomie, Iowa to Joseph Skeen and Maria Amanda Dolby.  Joseph and Maria were both born in Pennsylvania.  In 1839 they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  After their baptism they took their young family and moved several times with the other members of their new church eventually settling in present day Lehi, Utah.  Lyman was born during their westward migration.

At the tender age of four, Lyman’s mother died.  Eight months later his father remarried Rhoda Sanford.  In March of 1859 the Skeen family moved to Plain City, Weber, Utah where Lyman would live the remainder of his life.  He was a farmer and also worked in the construction of both irrigation canals and railroads.  He gave much of his time to public service.

Lyman married Electa Philomelia Dixon in Salt Lake City in the year 1870.  Together they had eleven children.  Electa died in 1891 and in 1892 Lyman married Annie Skelton.  Lyman and Annie had eight children.  That’s 19 children in all folks – 19!  I descend from Lyman and Electa’s son Joseph Skeen.

Lyman died at mid-day, the 4th of April 1933 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.


Ancestor Story – Naomi Skeen – 52 Ancestors

Naomi Skeen PetersonNaomi Skeen Peterson


Naomi Skeen is my great grandmother.  She is the beloved mother of my grandfather that I have written about here and here.  Naomi’s life was far too short.  Her heart gave out when she was just 52 years old.

My dad was almost 5 at the time of her death.  He has one short but precious memory of her.  He recalls being at her house when the cherries were ripe.  He asked if he could pick some and she said that he could and that she would like some too.  She helped him rig a bucket and rope and then climb into the tree to pick cherries.  He remembers that she was very kind, loving, and gentle.

I spent this afternoon {the day before publication of this post} scanning in some memories about Naomi written by her children, siblings and niece.  I uploaded them to FamilySearch and my private tree on ancestry.  As I read through the tender words of her loved ones, I was once again struck by what a lovely person Naomi was.  I was washed over with a feeling of gratitude that I descend from this amazing woman.  I am so proud to be her great granddaughter.  She is one of my heroes.  I hope that I can live up to her example in some small measure.  One day, when I pass from this life and see my family members who have passed before me, I look forward to meeting her.  I’m not in any hurry, but it’s definitely a moment I look forward to.


The stories I digitized today:

There were two additional stories I worked with written by her daughters Janice & Marilyn.  They are longer so I put them together as pdf files.  FamilySearch is a bit slow today so I wasn’t able to tag them and attach them to Naomi yet.