Do you have a family scrapbook, photo album or Bible in your possession? If so, have you documented how you obtained ownership of the item(s)? While most of the photo albums, funeral books and family Bibles were passed down to me by my grandmothers, I am encountering an issue where I need to document the provenance of a photocopy.
While I use FamilySearch’s watch feature to monitor changes to many of the James Crawford families I’ve researched along with my ancestors, most of the changes are for the addition of sources and memories or for cleaning up dates and places. Thus, I only check these changes about once a month. A recent check found that the family of Ozias (KHPF-QW9) and Mary (Kennedy) Wells (9V31-KKM) had a child named Thurston (9NPK-FY6) added. Since my Wells line goes thru Thurston Kennedy Wells (LZF8-V2M) that placed two sons named Thurston in the family of Ozias and Mary Wells.
When I first saw this, my immediate thought was — they were wrong to add this other Thurston to the family. However, my second thought was wondering what sourcing I had to connect my Thurston Wells ancestor to the family of Ozias and Mary Wells. Since I had already done some research on this other Thurston Wells, I knew enough about him to understand why one would want to place him in the family of Ozias and Mary Wells.
Thurston Wells was born in New York about 1819, resided in Erie County, New York in 1850 and then lived in Lapeer county, Michigan.
Ozias and Mary Wells were married in 1818 in Madison county, New York. After Ozias’ death in 1832, Mary and some of her children moved to Michigan, settling in Calhoun County, Micigan.
Since Thurston (9NPK-FY6) and Mary Wells are both in New York and then Michigan one might think they are connected, especially after realizing that Thurston Kennedy Wells spent a lot of time in Iowa and Kansas.
Thus, the question: what proof do I have that Thurston Kennedy Wells is the son of Ozias and Mary Wells? While I likely have multiple sources linking Thurston K. Wells of Kansas to Mary Wells of Michigan or to other children of Mary, the first source uncovered when looking for documentation of a relationship was a photocopy of pages tucked into the family Bible.
The ‘Family Record’ pages of the Bible includes information about WELLS and MENTZER family members.
Many of the Family Record entries support the Bible being owned by someone in Kansas. At this time, I believe this family Bible was in the possession of Thurston Kennedy Wells who died in Woodson County Kansas and passed down to his daughter, Annie Wells Mentzer. From Annie, the Bible was passed down to her daughter, Cecile Mentzer Beine and then to Annie’s granddaughter, Doris Beine Ryan.
With the Ozias Wells family information tucked into this Bible, I think the provenance of the Bible is a strong argument for Thurston K. Wells of Kansas being the son of Ozias and Mary Wells of Michigan.
While the Bible record had been added to FamilySearch as a memory for Ozias Wells, the other family members were not tagged in it. Since I feel that this record supports the Kansas Thurston, I will work to get everyone tagged. I will also go thru my other documentation and add sources and memories to FamilySearch to support my belief that Thurston K. Wells is a son of Ozias and Mary Wells. Then I will add a discussion note to the profiles for Ozias and Mary Wells questioning whether the other Thurston belongs in the family. While I don’t believe he does, I need to make my case before making any changes to the family structure.