One Sunday evening, several months ago, I was playing around on FamilySearch, clicking back through my father, his father, his mother (or something like that), etc. After twists and turns—twists and turns I recorded so that I could get back there again—I discovered that I have ancestors from Jersey.[fn1]
Through my clicking, I learned that my great-great-great-grandmother was born in Jersey in 1838 and died in West Bountiful in 1912.
For most, this probably wouldn’t be remarkably meaningful. I didn’t do the work to get back these generations, and I have absolutely no knowledge of these ancestors’ lives.[fn2] But . . .
. . . but Jersey is a tax haven.[fn3] And I’m a professor of tax law, a researcher of tax law, and, frankly, pretty darn interested in most things tax. And so, learning that I’m descended from residents of what has now become a tax haven is just cool. Way cooler than pretend being descended from royalty.
And now I’m curious. I’m curious about when and how the Church moved into Jersey. I’m curious what life was like in Jersey (which, I assume, wasn’t a tax haven in the 19th century). And I’m curious what the Church was like in Jersey. My relationship to Jersey is more attenuated than the relationship that Ardis suggests careful family history research can develop, but, for one of the first times, I’ve found something fascinating about my family history.
And that’s a cool feeling.
[fn1] I suspect this is accurate, notwithstanding my run-in with royalty documented in my earlier post.
[fn2] Ardis pointed out on my earlier post that, through carefully learning about earlier generations, starting with our parents and moving back, we learn details about their lives that, in turn, help bind us closer to them (a paraphrase that hopefully does little damage to Ardis’s point). I found that paradigm-shifting in my view of the purpose behind genealogy and our current participation in proxy ordinances. That said, as I’ll explain shortly, this Jersey connection also piques my personal and historical curiosity.
[fn3] Albeit a tax haven about which I know very little. In the U.S., we generally use Bermuda or the Cayman Islands or maybe Ireland or Switzerland (though the latter two would dispute the label). Jersey is mostly a tax haven for London, from what I understand.