John Harvey Moyer
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a conference about genealogy and technology. It was called RootsTech. The conference was held in Salt Lake City, Utah and my dear friend and cohort in genealogy accompanied me on the trip. The theme for the conference had to do with discovering the advances in technology available to all levels of genealogists. Topics such as DNA, virtual cemeteries, bloggining, geocoding and variety of other subjects were explored! Envision computer experts and genealogists of the greatest kind!! Microsoft, Dell, Ancestry.com, Archives.com, Footnote.com were just some of the sponsors represented at the conference.
Before the conference began, we were alerted by e-mail that Maureen Taylor would be attending the conference. Maureen is also known as the Photo Detective. She is an expert in spotting pictures and telling you what time period they were taken. She gathers clues from poses, clothing, hairstyles and other information provided by you. My grandfather has a photo hanging in his home in Boise, Idaho that was taken of his great grandfather, John Harvey Moyer. Behind that photo is a photo of a woman that he has no clue to the woman’s identity. I tried to sign up to meet with Maureen on the same day I got the e-mail, but to my chagrin all of her spots on all three days of the conference had already filled up. Plus there was just the small detail, that I needed to ask my grandfather if I could borrow the picture, which was his heirloom, and take it down to Salt Lake with me.
So I decided I would call him and ask him if I could take a picture of the two photos. He agreed and I stopped by his house in Boise on my way out of town. So running late as usual, I visited my grandfather, took the pictures of the photos and mustered the courage to ask him if I might be able to take the originals to these pictures just for the weekend. These pictures are very unique. They have been encased in an oval frame with bubbled glass. They don’t just lay flat. From top to bottom, the pictures measure about two feet. The paper is not like photographic paper that we have today. It is more like cardboard and the edges of the pictures and peeling away and deteriorating quickly. Already short on time, I asked and my grandfather graciously agreed to let me borrow these precious photos for the weekend! I was elated.
Now all I had to do was hang out near the booth where the Photo Detective would be at and hopefully not miss too many of the really cool classes that were being offered. We arrived late on Wednesday night and got some sleep before arming ourselves with laptops and our genealogy pedigrees. I took along my gigantic photos in a white plastic garbage bag. Our hotel was across the street from the Salt Lake Convention Center and we walked the long corridors until we found all the genealogy gurus. You can spot them a mile away. They have a very unique style that can only be appreciated and loved once you delve into the world of genealogy. We found our perspective registration lines, received a really cool backpack, CD, and syllabus to get us started. Pam, my cohort, and I had already brought bags for our laptops so we were shuffling around our things in a way that would be convenient to carry all these belongings. Once settled, we headed for the escalator and headed for the vendor hall where we might find Maureen Taylor, the great Photo Detective. I was armed and ready with my photos in hand covered by the great white garbage bag!
You would never believe it, I still can’t believe it, but as we are heading down the stairs the first person I see coming in the opposite direction is none other than the one person I hope I get to visit with today! It was her, the Photo Detective. I was in shock and awe. I couldn’t help but stare. Pam knew right away by looking at my expression. There was no explanation needed. She headed for the registration booth for presenters. I couldn’t miss my chance. I followed her. They were having some trouble at the booth locating something for her. This was my big chance to ask if she might take a look at these most unusual and unique family heirlooms. The person at the booth asked if he could help me but I politely told him I was waiting for “her,” motioning to Maureen. She turned and being very gracious allowed me to explain how I tried to sign up to see her and that she was booked out for the entire conference on the first day of receiving the notice. She told me that it filled up in five hours!
She was interested in seeing my photos. We stepped aside and I pulled them out of my tall white kitchen garbage bag with the red pull string. I explained that the tall man with the white hair and moustache was my great great great grandfather, John Harvey Moyer. He was born in 1841. My research tells me that this man had three wives, Mahala Schull, Mary McGuym and Effie Barnhouse. My great great great grandmother would be Mary but I don’t know much about her. In fact, I am lucky that I know her name. I found it on a death certificate of one of her three daughters, Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally. Mahala is the mother of Oscar Edward Moyer and that information was obtained from his marriage certificate. Now, Effie is the interesting one because John married her when he was 75 and she was 16 years old. Talk about robbing the cradle, but if legend has it correctly, this man lived to be at least 100 and so that would mean that they had 25 years together! The marriage certificate gave me this information and the fact that they were married March 25, 1914 in Coucil Bluffs, Iowa.
So I quickly shared this information with Maureen. She was able to tell me right away that these pictures were taken at the same time and in the 1920s. The woman in the picture is sitting next to a mirror and Maureen commented that “it was a very nice pose because you could see the profile and features of both sides of her face.” The clothing she was wearing is what gave the time frame away. Maureen did say that the man was wearing clothing from an older time frame but because of his age, this is common for an older man not be up with the trends of the times. Maureen also mentioned that it looked like he had some kind of rash on his left hand. Also, Maureen felt like this was a married couple, in her expert opinion, I believe so too.
Effie Barnhouse Moyer
With this information and the history I feel like the picture is most likely Effie Barnhouse. My grandfather inherited this photo from his father who got it from his mother, Estella Irene Moyer. John Harvey Moyer is her father. Her mother was Mary McGuym who died before 1900 and Effie is John Harvey Moyer’s new wife. Interesting enough, Effie is about ten years younger than his daughters. Estella moved from McPaul, Iowa about the time she was 5 years old, according to her obituary. The family moved to Dayton, Washington and then eventually Idaho. John and the family are in Harpster, Idaho on the 1900 Federal Census. John is also living with his parents and lists that he is a widow. His youngest brother, George Moyer died in 1898 so George’s children are also living with John and his daughters and his parents. Later in that same year, George’s first son, Oscar comes from Nebraska to look for work and later his wife joins them with their six children. I am curious to know how comfortable it was to have that many people under one roof? No wonder my great great great grandmother, Estella, gets married to Owen Montgomery in 1902!
After I visited with Maureen Taylor, we visited the Exhibit Hall and booths with wonderful resources. While at the Familysearch.org booth, we saw a giant scanner used for copying books. They use this to make family histories and bibles available online. Because I still had my white garbage sack in hand, I asked if they would be able to scan something like the huge picture. He placed it on the scanner and my super terrific friend and cohort in genealogy, Pam, happened to have a card/disc from her video camera that she could save it for me. Thus, now you can see and view these two heirlooms for your own viewing pleasure.
Going to this wonderful Conference inspired me to start a blog. I’ve never blogged anything. In fact, my spell check is alerting me that it does not even recognize the word, BLOG. I am hopeful that I can connect with other people who are related to me thru this Moyer line. I hope that we can share photos like these and that we might also share stories behind them and keep their memories alive. I look forward to hearing from my cousins all over the world and sharing any information that I have.
There is a little bit of a mystery here and if anyone who is related to the Moyers could help me out, I’d be forever grateful. After moving to Idaho, John Harvey returns to McPaul, Iowa. In fact, that’s where he marries Effie in 1914. Rebecca married William Moses Donnally in Idaho and they move to Iowa also. A few months after giving birth to her youngest child, Della, Rebecca dies January 1919 in Iowa. The Donnally’s move back to Idaho. I’m not sure what happens to John and Effie Moyer after 1920. I don’t have a death date for either of them. I’m also wondering how this portrait ends up in my Great Great Great Grandmother’s house in Idaho. Did she go back to Iowa and visit? Or did John and Effie come west to Idaho to live permanently? On the 1920 census John and Effie had three children listed, Harold, Maggie and Carl Leroy. I would love to make the connection with them. There is a possibility that they or their children may still be living.