03 June 2013
Ivan Merriman Lewis - Journal Mission to Samoa 1934-1937
I came upon a website journal of Ivan Merriman Lewis. He was an Mormon missionary in Samoa that served from 1934 - 1937. I was reading some of his journal entries and looking at the photos. When I came across this photo.
The man in the yellow box is my grandma Mataniu's father Apiolefage Tuia. I remember my grandma having this photo in her things, though her photo was in black and white. She photo cropped her father out of this picture and blew it up to put on her wall. I don't remember asking her about the background of the photo but I do remember my auntie (her daughter) telling me that this photo was when Pres. McKay was planning to visit Sauniatu and the Saints wanted to prepare an umu for the celebration.
So, going back to the website, a journal entry of Ivan Lewis says,
There are two other entries on the website that talk about a "feast" but those entries seem not to fit the photo as the entry above does. Plus, this journal entry is next to the photo on the website. Don't know if that makes a difference.
So, who is right? My auntie or the journal entry? Gosh, sure wish I asked my grandma about the photo? I wonder why I didn't? Well, I'm not going to dwell on who is right or wrong. I'm just happy to see the photo of my great grandfather Apiolefaga. I would like to know who are the other men in the photo. If anyone knows please email me.
This is not the first time I've read through missionary journals looking for information on my family lines. I've had some success in finding family names and dates.
Even if you did not have Mormon ancestors these missionary journals talk of other locals they interacted with, they talk of villages, births, deaths, marriages and other events. Take a look at the years and places these Mormon missionaries served compare them with dates and villages of where your ancestors lived in Samoa they might mention something about them in their journals that could help in your research.
Here is the SGG blog on Mormon Missionaries Diaries - Samoan Mission