I’m a huge admirer of Mary Jones. I admire her integrity: She stood up to bitter antagonism from her entire family, I believed, when she joined the LDS church in 1849 and emigrated to Zion six months later from Wales. I admired how Mary not only accepted husband Abel Evans’ plural wives, but also shouldered the responsibility for three families, as she ran a simple boarding house and stable when Abel was called back to that second Welsh mission and died. I imagined Mary sticking it out in Lehi, unable to speak English, totally isolated from the family she had loved in Llangynog, Carmarthenshire.
That’s why I was ecstatic for Mary when I learned about her older sister, Ann!
Ann had joined the LDS church in Carmarthenshire in 1848, a year before Mary, along with her second husband, Thomas Williams, and then, twice widowed, she had emigrated in 1854 with her children and stepchildren on the Golconda, the same ship as Samuel Evans. Ann and her third husband, Daniel James, even lived in Lehi for a period, close to Abel and Mary. Abel performed the 1858 civil marriage in Lehi when Ann’s stepdaughter Elizabeth Williams married Henry McConnell. All of a sudden, Mary Jones wasn’t isolated. She had a sister who believed what she did and even lived nearby for a short time in Lehi. And I had new cousins: Williams, Francis, McConnell and James clan who’d settled in Idaho, Montana and Southern Utah! I thought, “Wow! We’ve got all these cousins working together on John and Elizabeth Jones’ family history. We can all work together!”
But, then, I learned on FamilySearch that each of the family branches had their own stories, and too often strikingly different genealogies.
There was also a differing strain coming from the family of Mary (Ann) Jones Thomas (B. 1853), a granddaughter of John Jones (b. 1782) through his son John (b. 1819). Mary (Ann) also had immigrated to Utah and died in Salt Lake in 1893.
Why were there so many discrepancies? Many differences seemed to originate about 100 years ago, about 100 years after our ancestors lived.
So, let’s fix it! Get it right! Original records are more accessible now, or more readable via computer enhancement.
Where did our “facts” originate? Did someone add that marriage because there was just nothing better in that parish, or did it really come from an indisputable source? Somebody, I keep telling myself, really has the family Bible!
I second Max Evans’ plea that we share information. Let’s post sources--firsthand ones are better; originals are better than transcriptions. Occasionally we may find a record that will put into question something we had believed as family gospel. (How easy is it to get the wrong Jones or Evans in Wales?)
Let’s find patterns that are logical in that particular family. Scrutinize the details: Do we recognize the witnesses at the wedding? Did the individual have the right profession? How could the bride or groom write their name when they never could before? Is that an abode we recognize from other family records? What was that person doing in a parish 40 miles away?
Let’s remember that someone isn’t our ancestor simply because we (or a majority of our family) always believed it. It’s not a vote. Our ancestor is who he or she really is--or they’re not. And they want to be found.
I’m so excited to help in this research and to meet you, cousins all.
Marilyn Evans Taylor