As far as the Wadsworth genealogy goes, I believe we are dealing with some basic genealogical procedures. One of the reasons we publish what we discover about our families is so family members can read and enjoy their heritage. Another reason is to invite others to join the discussion, to make additions and corrections. This has been true for the 1983 Wadsworth book. Had it not been published we would never have known that Uncle James Wadsworth stopped off and stayed in Iowa, for no one would have made that connection and contacted us. There was certainly nothing on our side to indicate Uncle James had not completed his return journey to England. In fact, the whole kidnapping story seemed like a fairy tale at first. Then only some very secondary family legends and two other documents gave any indication that a kidnapping might have taken place: the 1860 census and the note from Bishop Willis which are in the book.
But because the book was written, some really great connections have been made – with you for one, with the Hutchinson and Eckles families, and with others. Great people with great information who were willing to share. The other innovation that has changed the whole face of genealogy is, of course, the Internet. Even had we had an inkling Uncle James did not return to England, where would we have looked for him? Until we could do major Internet searches, it would have been impossible to find him. So two of the new chapters added to the end of the revised book cover many new events for 1856 and 1857 even though Uncle James is not our direct ancestor. It’s such a great true story.
Another genealogy research issue we may be dealing with here is that of primary versus secondary sources. Primary sources, as you well know, are those created near the time and place of the event by someone deeply involved in the event. By this measure, Elder Edwards’ journal is as primary as it is possible to get, for he wrote the entries when and where they happened. Further, when he reported on the visit to “James Wadsworth” in England others were with him. He had witnesses. The paragraph from his journal mentioning this visit with ”James Wadsworth” is duplicated in the new section of the book, and the name is clearly James Wadsworth. We now know it is NOT Uncle James Wadsworth. I leave it to others to discover which James Wadsworth he visited.
On the other hand, the newspaper articles of 1856 and 1857 are secondary, NOT written near the time of the event by people closely involved, not only because they were reproduced several times but also because they are so biased. In the timeline I have created for 1856 and 1857, I have attempted mightily to sort out the events with their times and places. Whether it is possible to be completely correct from the content of the newspaper articles is doubtful. Still I’ve done my best as well as checked primary sources – the records of John Pulsipher and Dan Jones, for example, as well as wagon company records, Utah court records, etc.
Though I had looked for official records back in the early 1980s in the Utah Archives, neither I nor the archivist could find anything about the kidnapping. However, a few months ago, thanks to an Internet entry, Walter and I visited the Utah State Archives, located and copied the actual indictment Uncle James made against his nephew George. What a coup.
Now that I have all of my mother’s Wadsworth research materials from the professionals my parents hired as well as my own, I was able to determine with wills that the Anne Stead/Wadsworth family could not be ancestral. I also showed that the Haxworth line is not ancestral. But we have added more generations that appear to be correct than we have taken away. This information is in the book in the form of Research Reports, so that others can start where we left off rather than having to start at the beginning as we did.
Hopefully, the book, George Allen Wadsworth – Pilley to Panaca as revised and republished in its 30th year will continue to bring relatives together as well as to provide new-found data about the family.