What I Thought I Knew

This post was originally published at The Mom and Pop Shop in 2008. It is republished here at the request of Mom & Dad.

I know that William Jedediah Brimley is my grandfather. I know I never met him. He died in April 1943. I know that my grandmother is Margaret Kirk. I never met her. She died in 1930. In the 1880 census in Salt Lake they were both shown living with their families in the “5th Ward.” She was 13 and he 24. (It says 24, but our records would make him 23.) His occupation was listed as “teamster.” Aunt Janeen thinks he delivered groceries from their store in the wagon. In 1885 they married and in July 1891 they were sealed in the Manti Temple. My Dad was born in Manti in 1891, the fourth child. Aunt Janeen says they lived in Manti for one year. I also know that my Dad loved his father very much and that he practically worshiped his mother.


What I didn’t know is: on September 20, 1927 William Jedediah was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple to Elizabeth Helen Evans, who died in 1883 at the age of 19. Dad and I looked at the actual Temple record of this event yesterday at the Family History Library. We know the name of the officiator, the names of the witnesses, the name of the proxy who stood in for Elizabeth, and we know that William Jedediah stood for himself. What we don’t know is who this woman was and how she knew my grandfather.

Looking at the census records has told me some things. I know that in 1880 Elizabeth lived with her parents in Salt Lake, in the “4th Ward.” She worked as a servant for a family that lived in the “7th Ward.” There was a child in the home where she worked who had measles at the time of the census. I saw a lot of measles on the censuses and in those days it was often fatal. So…if these two were married when they were young, it was only for a short while. They may have been sweethearts and never had a chance to marry.
Aunt Janeen has spoken to some of William Jedediah’s grandchildren in Arizona and they never heard of such a thing.

So we have a mystery! The new Family Search has uncovered several mysteries, but this one is ours. Suddenly I care about this woman. And I care more about my grandmother, Margaret Kirk, whose husband had to get at least verbal permission from her to have this sealing performed. I am learning that this is one of the most important results of Family History. We get to know these people and we learn to care about them a great deal. Elizabeth Helen Evans is no relation to me, but she must have meant something to my grandfather!


One thought on “What I Thought I Knew

  1. Yes. Are all your secrets known?
    It does appear that this was grandpa’s first love. But why was it okay with Margaret that he be sealed to her. Couldn’t be sealed unless they had been married. Right? Or not right?

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