A Family Affair

On the ground floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the Mormons have a computer facility for genealogical research. Most Mormons have researched their lineage because they believe that they can bring salvation to their ancestors through prayer but, first, they have to know who to pray for; ergo, their interest in genealogy.

The main Family History Library, the largest such facility in the world, is actually a couple blocks away, but this facility is set up in this building for visitors to do quick family searches.

Dale and I sat down to look up her Stocks family and we discovered a surprise: in 1920, her grandfather, Gideon Jackson Stocks, Sr., and his wife and first-born child, Ijourie (who recently passed away), were the only whites in their census enumeration neighborhood of about 100 people and they had a black family living in their household at the time. We’re not sure quite how to interpret this fact, though one possibility is that the Stocks were significant slave-owners in generations past.

Then we decided to research Dale’s mother’s parents, Victor and Agnes (Lander) Johanson, who married and settled in Chicago in the early 1900s, having immigrated separately from Sweden in their 20s.

Oddly, we couldn’t find Dale’s mother, Jane Johanson, in the 1920 census, though we knew she had been born in Chicago on August 25, 1917. So, we researched the birth records in Chicago for that date. There was no Jane Johanson, but there was a Jane Lander, born to an Ada Lander, with no father’s name given! Ada Lander was Agnes Johanson’s sister!

Jane had told Dale that she had a suspicion that she had been adopted by Victor and Agnes; and it looks like she might have been right!

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