Appealing Photograph Bears Unexpected Fruit in Family Tree

Contributed By By Stephen C. Young, for the Church News

  • 12 May 2014

Tiffany Fausett Michaelson visited local antique stores in Logan, Utah, to discover if any old and unknown photographs of an ancestor might exist. After visiting two local shops, one early 20th-century photograph did attract her attention.

Tiffany Fausett Michaelson is blessed with a charitable spirit. She demonstrated this recently in an unexpected way by freely giving of her time and means to bless someone she’s never met. A young wife, mother, and graduate of Utah State University, Tiffany’s own family roots can be traced on her father’s side all the way back to the earliest years of the Church in Caldwell County, Missouri, and Nauvoo, Illinois.

A recent newsletter article Tiffany read from the Logan LDS family history center revealed one approach in using the Internet to discover more about ancestors. It suggested typing in an ancestor’s name in the search feature on eBay to learn if anyone was selling an article or artifact once owned or connected in some way to an individual. Although this effort produced no results for Tiffany, the experience did prompt a related idea of visiting local antique stores in Logan, Utah, to discover if any old and unknown photographs of an ancestor might exist. After visiting two local shops, her ambition again proved fruitless. But one early 20th-century photograph did attract her attention.

It was the image of a young woman in period clothing whose face appealed to Tiffany. On the back of the photograph, in cursive writing, appeared the identification, “Eunice Peterson Ravsten.” Although she did not find a photo of one of her own forebears, Tiffany quickly decided, “If I can’t find my own, maybe I can help someone else,” and so she bought the small photo for $8.

At home, Tiffany logged onto FamilySearch.org and entered a search for Eunice in the Family Tree. Within seconds she found Eunice Viola Peterson (1902–1985), who was born locally at Clarkston and lived her entire life in Cache Valley.

Tiffany learned more about Eunice by reading the biographical story under the Memories tab. She felt impressed to contact the contributor, Devin Ashby, by clicking on his name and using the email contact information that appeared. She offered to give him the photograph of his great-grandmother. He didn’t own a copy of this particular photograph, so he was very appreciative to accept this thoughtful offer. Reflecting on the unexpected email from Tiffany, Devin related, “One thing I’ve learned from this experience is that the more you share, the more you will receive. Tiffany would have never located me had I not put my family photos online. We all need to upload the family photos and stories that matter to us so more of us can get connected.”