Monday, October 13, 2014

Hat Tip to Those Relatives Who Wrote Their Stories Down, Part 1

If you are lucky, you have a genealogist or two lurking in your family tree who has already done much of the heavy genealogical lifting for you.  I have three relatives whose written work helped me tremendously, each in their own way:



Today I'll cover May (Tibbetts) Jarvis.

[Smartphone image of May Tibbetts Jarvis, her portrait from 1916 in Indianapolis, Indiana, taken from my copy of "The Tibbetts Family, 1636-1940."]

May (Tibbetts) Jarvis (1864-1958), sister of my 2nd great grandmother Mary Jane (Tibbetts) Hartley and my 2nd great grand aunt, was the author/compiler of the enormous and detailed "Henry Tibbetts of Dover, New Hampshire and Some of His Descendants."

The book is available in a number of ways.

May placed a copy of the full two-volume work at the following libraries, where they can be referenced:


It is available online.  Ancestry.com members can access it here.  If you have access to databases via The University of California, San Diego (UCSD), you can view the work electronically through their subscription to HeritageQuest (actually this is probably viewable by anyone who can access HeritageQuest).  It is also available at Internet Archive and Open Library (although it may not be immediately available as you may have to wait in line to "borrow" it on those services).

The Genealogical Society of Utah microfilmed the DAR Library's copy in 1971, and those microfilm copies are available to view at the Family History Center and the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, both in Salt Lake City, Utah.

You can usually purchase a physical copy, and occasionally a CD version, on Amazon.com and eBay.

To get an idea of her style and presentation see this page describing herself:

[Section: Vol. II. 9th generation. Jarvis, May Tibbetts,. Henry Tibbetts of Dover, New Hampshire, and some of his descendants. San Diego, Calif.,: unknown, 1934-1939. Accessed from Ancestry.com on 12 Oct 2014.  NOTE: she had two sons, Van Buren Jarvis and George Tibbals Jarvis.]

May began her Tibbetts genealogical work in 1918.  She used the work of distant cousin Charles Wesley Tibbetts, Esq. (1846-1928), for much of the Tibbetts information (he lived his life in Dover, New Hampshire and Moody, Wells, Maine, and was thus close to where his Tibbetts ancestors had originally settled).  She also compiled tons of genealogical information on collateral lines outside of New England, and would make custom versions of this work to give to various relatives.  She traveled to places like Maine, New Hampshire, Indiana, Iowa, and California to gather information.  It is my understanding that her sister Olive Renah (Tibbetts) Puryear helped with the gathering and typing out of information for the work.  I have yet to list all the people who were principal informants (that's for a future blog post, apparently).

I inherited three versions of her work, each in one volume.  The first, called "The Tibbetts Family, 1636-1940," dedicated to "Dr. George Hartley" (my grandfather and May's grand nephew) which has the most amount of Tibbetts info of my copies (although not as much as the "official" version of this work). The second is entitled simply "The Hartley Family," which was likely done for her sister Mary Jane, whose husband was a Hartley.  (I have seen, but do not possess, another, larger, Hartley version, which has much more information on the extended Hartley clan.)  The third version, "The Tibbetts Family" is a much abridged lineage, made from a Glencoe Loose-Leaf Note book cover and filled with typed pages and photostat images, and just shows May Jarvis's direct Tibbetts lineage.

May had a "just the facts" approach to her subject, following the Register style (more on Register style).  It is a wonderful source of facts and dates on the Tibbetts and related families, names which include Jarvis, Messinger, Burnight, and Worrell (at least in my copies these names are included anyway, and there are many, many more I have not mentioned here).  As was common at the time, she would list the many accomplishments and positive attributes of her subjects, and tended to leave out the more unsavory aspects of the black sheep members of the family, including the folks who got divorced, went insane, or got in trouble with the law.  This is not the place to discover juicy gossip!

She does cover Hannah (Snow) Tibbetts' family, but I believe she traced up the wrong Snow tree on that one (see my post concerning Hannah Snow's disputed parentage).

A number of us Tibbetts descendants have faithfully used her work, including her own descendants, as you might notice if you look at some of the trees on Ancestry and on the open web.  May left many blank pages in her books (at least in my copies), no doubt to encourage later family historians to continue her work.  I will leave my pages blank, as the personal computer and cloud computing have replaced those blank pages.

There is one later Tibbetts/Hartley researcher who deserves a special mention, Richard "Dick" Stanley Dunlop (1931-2011), great grand nephew of May Tibbetts Jarvis, great grandson of Mary Jane (Tibbetts) Hartley, and my 2nd cousin 1x removed.  Following May Tibbetts Jarvis, he produced a number of updated versions of her work in the 1980's and 1990's.  Unlike May, he infused much chatty commentary and humor into his versions.  I don't think he ever officially published his works, but he did distribute a large stack of copies to various Tibbetts/Hartley relatives.  I plan to include a few of his selections from time to time.  To get a feel for his style you can read his obituary, which I am certain he wrote.





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