Jean Catherine Morry

Jack and Jean at the time of their wedding

Jean Catherine Morry Born: 1 Aug. 1923 Ferryland, Nfld. Married: 23 Jan. 1946 Died: 13 Sept. 1996 Parowan, UT
Jack W. Funkhouser Born: 18 Jan. 1912 Hershey, NE Died: 12 Feb. 1992 Parowan, UT


Aunt Jean was the inspiration for this website, though she would not have known it, since it did not materialise until after her death unfortunately. She was the original Morry family historian, along with Dad Morry. Beginning in the early 1960s, they collaborated with one another, mainly by mail, but also through frequent visits by Dad Morry to her homes in California and later in Utah. By the 1970s, she had compiled and registered with the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon), which she had by then joined, an extensive family history of both the Morrys and the Mintys, the family lines of her father and mother. These lineages went back nine generations in Newfoundland and in Devon and Scotland, respectively. This was a remarkable achievement for the times, since she did not have access to any form of online information and was unable to personally travel to the repositories of the relevant information in Britain. To be sure, she was greatly assisted by the enormous database of information available in those days exclusively to Mormons, but which later became available to the general public.

Aunt Jean’s daughter, Karen Chapman, has been continuing the work of her mother, assisting me in many ways, including the provision of original documents and family heirlooms left to her by her mother. She and her husband Jerry continue their mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) abroad and home in the USA, where they are presently (2018-2019) working on bringing to digital form thousands of records in Pennsylvania.

On April 21st, 2019 Karen sent me a wonderful letter concerning her mother’s work that helps to pull back the curtain of time and to explain in clearer form how Aunt Jean undertook the early work that she did. Here is a partial transcript of that letter:

Reading some of the comments you made about my mother has prompted me to write a little about her and her experiences with Family History.

When the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on our door in southern California, my mom, being a kind and hospitable woman let them come in and talk.  She was raised Catholic, as you know, but it didn’t stick and she was not attending any church.  The nuns considered my Mom a trouble maker. She drilled holes in her catechism with her pencil and asked “impertinent “ questions which they couldn’t answer. Questions such as, why do babies need to be baptized and why are they alone now if they passed away before they were christened?  How can God be God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit at the same time?  Who was Christ praying to in the garden of Gethsemane? Himself?  Mom did not ask these questions to be impertinent, but because she wanted answers.

The missionaries were able to answer her questions and she started to read all she could get her hands on about the church.  She read the Book of Mormon along with the Bible. One of the teachings that made sense to Mom was the “great plan of happiness”.  In this plan she was taught that before coming to the earth we lived together with God in a pre-mortal existence.  We were spirit children of God.  We wanted to be like him and gain a mortal body and have mortal experiences.  In so doing we would of course make mistakes and since no unclean thing can live in God’s presence we would need to find a way to be forgiven of our sins.  God proposed a plan which would give us a savior to pay the price for us.  All we would have to do was repent of our sins and try to follow Christ’s teachings.  Satan offered to go to the earth and make sure everyone returned.  He was not in favor of agency.  We would not be able to decide how to live, we would have to follow what he said.  Christ came forward and offered himself as a sacrificial lamb to pay for the sins of the world. God accepted Christ as our Savior and Satan and 1/3 of all of the spirit children were expelled from heaven.

So far, this might sound like many of the other church’s teachings.  But, after we die what happens?

After we live out our lives here and try to follow the Savior and repent often of our wrong doings, we can return and live with Christ and our Heavenly Father.  In order to do this, we have to be baptized with the proper authority ( the same as in Christ’s original church) , receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those with priesthood authority.  Then going to the temple to be married and sealed to our families forever.  We will have the opportunity to always be with our loved ones.

The temple of God is the only place on earth where baptisms for those who were never able to be baptized by this authority can be performed.  We also marry and seal children by proxy to their fathers and mothers.

After the resurrection all will have the spirit and physical body joined together again.  All will have the opportunity to live with our families into eternity if we accept the sealings and other ordinances either done while alive or after this life through proxy baptisms and sealings. This is a very simplified explanation, but I hope it will suffice.

When Mom heard this doctrine she was overjoyed.  She had always loved hearing about her ancestors and had a deep love for them.  This was one of the things which helped her make up her mind to join the church.  She read the Book of Mormon and prayed about the truthfulness of it and felt a deep calm feeling that it was true. She attended church for a long time to see if it was right.  During this time Dad Morry told her that she would be denied a Christian burial and that Mormons had horns and other interesting things.

We joined the Restored Church of Christ in 1957.  After joining, Mom was very interested in procuring the temple blessings for her ancestors and started to learn more about how to do family history or genealogy as everyone called it then.  There was a lady in our congregation who knew about research who helped Mom get started filling our family group sheets.  Mom wrote to Dad Morry and any relative she could to get information.

There was no IGI [International Genealogical Index] at the time and everything one submitted to the temple had to be vetted in Salt Lake City by the Genealogical Committee of the Church.  Mom had to send her family group sheets in and the documentation to back them up.  Sometimes they were rejected, needing more info. Mom worked very hard to find the records.

One way she found records in England was through microfilm.  The Church had many, many parish registers and other church records already microfilmed.  Mom would pore over the films which were sent to her local library and write down everything that might be a Morry record.  She also hired researchers at the Devon Cornwall society to go to the churches for her.  Everything had to be vetted against original records to pass judgement and go to the temple for sealing.

Mom was pretty much self-taught in genealogical research.  She took a class (I think it was in Los Angeles) but I was young then. She had a very organized and particular way of storing her research notes and correspondence which she adhered to religiously.  She used some great books, “Genealogical Research in England and Wales” and other books.  I think books on how to research and experience are what led to her success.

When the IGI came out it was helpful for finding clues about possible ancestors because it was taken from those temple sealing records.  The deficiency was that the original source materials were not included. So a person could get an idea of where to search or what names to search, but not much else.

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is a huge archive and repository of records from all over the world.  It is free to the public to use.  Anyone of any religion or background can research there and there are even people to help you with your research if you get stuck.  Mom was able to make a “pilgrimage” there in the 1960’s.  She was so excited.  She and a friend took the train there and she spent a week frantically trying to look at everything she could.  I was very lucky and lived for a long time in Salt Lake City.  I could take the light rail there anytime I wanted and spend the day.  I did that every week.  What a great place to research.

By the way, the Granite Mountain stores the same materials that the church has available in the Family History Library.  The reason for the vault in the mountain is that they are able to permanently store all of these archival items at the perfect temperature and in a place that is secure and will house these records indefinitely.

I hope that I have cleared up a few of the things that you were not sure of about Mom’s research and membership in the church.

Thanks again Chris.

 


Two decades of research by me and other family members after her death in 1996 have not been able to drive back the mists of time much further into the past though, with the assistance of modern online databases and many research trips to both Newfoundland and Britain, the details that were somewhat inexact in Aunt Jean’s research have been perfected to a certain degree and expanded horizontally to include more family members and relations via marriage.

In addition to compiling a detailed family history, Aunt Jean was also responsible for preserving many irreplaceable family heirlooms in the form of original documents and letters, but also many family photographs going back to the earliest days of photography. In this she was assisted by Dad Morry, who recognised in her the best hope of having these precious mementoes preserved for future generations. Consequently, each time he visited his daughter he brought with him from Newfoundland large collections of such materials to leave with her for safekeeping. He also shared some of these kinds of artefacts with his other children outside of Newfoundland, but Aunt Jean was his main collaborator on family history and hence her collection was by far the most extensive. The collection is now safe in the hands of her daughter, Karen, who shares her mother’s interests in this regard and who has shared with me copies and sometimes the originals of these invaluable materials.


The Early Years in Ferryland

Jean was the fifth of nine children born to Howard Leopold Morry and his Scottish war bride, Fredris Minty Powdrell Minty. Her first Christian name represented antecedents in the Minty family, Jean or Jane, a common substitute in Scotland being extremely common in her maternal line, and her second was similarly representative of the Morry family, principally her grandmother, though the name Catherine was also found amongst her Minty ancestors.

The out-of-focus photo above is included here because it is a very important family heirloom. It is the only known photo of the entire Morry family up that time, that included daughter Priscilla, who died at 2 years of age in 1932. Therefore this photo would have been taken most likely in the summer of 1931. Jean would be the first on the left in the front, with Catherine and Elsie beside her, Tom, Bill and Reg behind, and Dad Morry with Phyl and Mom Morry with Priscilla in her arms. Howard did not come along until 1934. This is the earliest known photo of Jean.

Elsie and Jean swimming in Ferryland with Cousins, ca 1934

Catherine Jean and Elsie, ca 1934

The War Years

Aunt Jean was only sixteen when war broke out and, like millions of other young people in those days, was deprived of the innocent enjoyment of her adolescent years to a large extent. Still, being in a remote part of Newfoundland, which was in itself a remote part of the British Empire at the time, at least initially there were still moments of simple enjoyment with family.

Haying with Dad Morry, Phyl and Howard Jr., ca 1939

Trouting with Dad Morry and Howard, ca 1940

After completing her high school in Ferryland, Jean and her sister Catherine had to travel to St. John’s to attend business college and take higher education. During that time, they stayed with their eldest sister, Phyllis at her house at Springdale St. That house was purchased with the financial assistance of Dad Morry, since neither Phyllis nor her husband, Bert Mercer, had much savings after their return from a two year posting at a Hudson’s Bay Post in St. Augustin, Québec, on the Labrador border. Here is a photo of Jean and Dad Morry with Phyllis, Bert and their second son, Blaine, in front of this house. And another of my father, Jean’s brother Tom, with a friend, Ted Wilson, taken in the same area of St. John’s. And finally, one of Jean’s sister Elsie with Jean and Phyllis holding her daughter, Fredris.

By the time that these latter photos were taken the war was in full swing and St. John’s and indeed all of Newfoundland had become an armed camp with bases for British, Canadian and US forces spread throughout the island and even in Labrador. Although the reason for their being there in the first place was a tragedy in the making, there were many happy times as local Newfoundlanders tried to cheer the troops and make them feel welcome. It was at this time that Jean met a handsome American Quartermaster named Jack Funkhouser. They are seen in the photo below on the right along with my parents on the left, an English sailor, Howard Junior, Mom Morry, a friend, Fred Smallwood, and sister Phyllis with her son Blaine in the front.

As the war was coming to an end and Jack and Jean were thinking of marrying the decision had to be made where to live. But in effect that decision was made for them by a narrow-minded parish priest in Ferryland who personally spread rumours about the couple. Jack had been married before enlisting and divorce was still not recognised by the Catholic church, so any second marriage would be looked upon by the more bigoted of the clergy as “living in sin”. So Jean made the decision to emigrate to the US with Jack.

Post War Years

Jack and Jean were married in Las Vegas on January 23, 1946, just after the war ended and Jack received his discharge from service.

At the beginning, they lived in Chino, California. All three of their children, Karen, Morry and Fredris, were born in California.

But later, when Jean converted to the Mormon faith, the family moved to the Salt lake City, Utah, area and there Jack and Jean remained for the rest of their lives.

 

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4-160D Edwards St.
Rockland, ON, K4K 1H9
1-613-219-9193

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You are visiting the website of the Morry family of Newfoundland, ex Devon

Our Purpose

We hope that this site will serve as a link and a gathering place for the scattered remnants of the Morry Family, whose ancestor, Matthew Morry, came from Stoke Gabriel via Dartmouth Devon, England, to Newfoundland to make a living in the fishing trade some time before Sept. 1784. At that time we know he was granted land for a fishing room in Caplin Bay (now Calvert) near Ferryland, a tiny fishing village on Newfoundland’s Southern Shore that we, his descendants, think of as our family seat.

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