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Who’s the Daddy of Josephine (Part 2)? Joseph Smith or Windsor Lyon?

We’re continuing our discussion with Dr. Ugo Perego.  Last year at the Mormon History Association meetings he made a lot of news when he announced the official test results of his test on paternity of Josephine Lyon.  Sylvia was married to Windsor Lyon but sealed to Joseph Smith, and there has been some question as to whose daughter she really was.  Was it Windsor or was it Joseph?

Ugo:  It was a difficult test to do.  It was a difficult question to answer.  Josephine is a girl, so you have the strongest historical case because Josephine’s mother made a confession made a confession on her death bed….

[Josephine] does not have the Y-Chromosome with Joseph Smith.  That’s all I had to play with.  I only had a very accurate Y-Chromosome profile and I used it to answer six cases of sons.  Five of them were published.  One of them is not published; actually there are two of them that are not published but one of them is a little bit iffy.  I don’t know if it will get published or not.  Don Bradley was the one that was working with me then.  We kind of dropped the ball on it, and now I’m doing another one, the one I was [talking about] yesterday.  They are all sons, Orson Hyde, you know the one I told you?  They are all sons, Y-Chromosome.

GT:  Can you briefly mention who these sons are?

Then we have Mosiah Hancock; Mosiah, Oliver [Buell], Moroni [Pratt], Orrison [Smith], and the fifth one is?  I can’t remember the fifth one. [It was Zebulon Jacobs. [1]]

GT:  That’s good.

Ugo:  But they’ve both been published.  One was published in the John Whitmer Journal,[2] and the other one was published in the Journal of Mormon History[3]; three cases in one and two cases in the other, single articles, two articles you get five of them.

Problems with the Test

But when it came to testing a possible daughter, Dr. Perego ran into some big problems when testing Josephine.

I had 120 descendants of Josephine that gave a DNA sample and their genealogy.  I knew how they were connected.  Josephine had a lot of children and I had many different lines represented, very beautiful results of family.  It would make a great genetics study, but not technology to do it.  We were stuck at the Y-Chromosome and mitochondrial DNA at that time.

Then when the technology finally started coming around, all the sudden the data was sold to Ancestry.com and I was given word at that time by some individuals that were involved with that process that I could still access that information, that data that was moved.  Because these are samples that were collected and frozen but not the genetic data has been produced so you still need to run the data.  It’s not as if I have the data saved on a hard drive.  We didn’t have the technology to run and process that data yet.  So all at once, I lost all the samples that I had, all of it, 10 years of work of collecting these samples.

GT:  Because the company was sold.

Ugo:  The company was sold.

GT:  Oh that must have been heartbreaking.

Ugo:  It was.  So at that time, two things happened.  I lost control of the data.  It was given to Ancestry.  Very soon I understood that it was going to be very difficult.  I tried a lot of different approaches to get the data back.  In the meantime, I’m no longer working with Sorenson.  Sorenson Company doesn’t exist anymore.  I do not have access to a lab through them anymore, and I’m relocating to Italy, so I had a start anew everything with my family in a different country.  It’s been probably 2, 3, or 4 years that I absolutely did not even touch this case study anymore.  I mean I had no data, right?  What do I do with it?

At that time, Josephine’s family approached me, and I have a letter from one of the daughters because she was writing me.  I feel bad because she was writing me emails at that time and I wasn’t very quick in answering them because I didn’t know what to tell her.

There’s not much I really can do, so finally she actually wrote me a letter to Italy, and I got this letter, and she’s like, “we really want to know, what is it going to take?  Can we talk about it?  What is it going to take about money, samples?  Who’s going to run them if we get the samples?  Can you be our researcher for this?”  So at that time I became their personal researcher.  I gave my free time, my expertise and they paid for the testing.  I told them we’re going to build it, what we didn’t have.

GT:  You had to rebuild what you didn’t have.

Ugo:  Exactly.  Who’s still alive?  Who of the oldest descendants are still alive?  Can we get the DNA from them?  I pulled out my old genealogy, my old chart and asked, who do you have from this line?  3 guys from there, 3 guys from there.

(Don’t forget to listen to our previous paternity test!)  Check out our conversation…..

[1] Digital version can be found at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=mormonhistory Retrieved Sept 3, 2017

[2] A summary can be found here:  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695226318/DNA-tests-rule-out-2-as-Smith-descendants.html

[3] Digital version can be found at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=mormonhistory Retrieved Sept 3, 2017


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Who’s the Daddy (Part 1)? Joseph or Parley Paternity?

We started this conversation by talking about the paternity of Josephine Lyon.  It turns out that Dr. Ugo Perego is also testing other potential children of Joseph Smith.  We’ll talk about the historical relationship between Joseph Smith, Orson Hyde, and Marinda Johnson, as well as Parley Pratt and Mary Ann Frost.  What are the results of the Joseph-Parley paternity test?

Ugo:  Mary Ann Frost was the second wife of Parley P. Pratt. He was born December 1844, Moroni Pratt, which placed him 9 months within the death of Joseph Smith.  Mary Ann Frost was sealed to Joseph Smith, was never sealed to Parley.  In fact Mary Ann Frost is recorded as one of the first females, if not the first group that received the temple ordinances in the Red Brick Store.  She was there when Joseph Smith introduced the first temple endowment.  Eventually she was sealed to Joseph and children were born.  The first one, Moroni was linked to Joseph Smith as a possibility.  I think Fawn Brodie mentions that as a possibility in her book.

I found a document while I was researching this when I was doing this project that had Parley P. Pratt’s statement that every child he would have with Mary Ann would be Joseph’s in the eternity.  Are you with me?  So every child he would have with Mary Ann Frost would have been Joseph’s in the eternity.  It sounds to me very much like the Levirate marriage where the man dies, his wife is still alive, we’re talking about spiritual wife here because we are talking about celestial marriage, the next of kin, which would be brother Pratt to Joseph, spiritually is raising a posterity in eternity for Joseph.

GT:  Hmmm. That is very interesting interpretation.

Ugo:  That’s what he said.  That’s what Parley said.  It’s not my words.

GT:  Parley said that?

Ugo:  Parley said that.

GT:  So let me make sure I’m clear on the thing.  So you said that Frost, what was her first name?

Ugo:  Mary Ann Frost.

GT:  Mary Ann Frost was sealed to Joseph but that was after…

Ugo interrupts:  but married to Parley.

GT:  Was she married to Parley before she was sealed to Joseph?

Ugo:  Yes.

GT:  That just seems so strange.

Ugo:  She was married to Parley for time, but to Joseph for eternity.

GT:  See I think most people would be so surprised to hear that they would have a polygamist marriage that would be not for eternity.  I mean when you read D&C 132, that’s what it seems like and so it seems so strange.

Ugo:  We still don’t know a lot of things about it.  If you are very negative about the whole thing, you’re always going to look for the dirtiest reasons why there were these things:  polyandry, promiscuity, sexual interest, control over women, whatever you want to bring up.

But if you are more on the, well let’s see.  If they are really trying to establish some celestial order on the earth; Who are we?  We are all children of Heavenly Father.  It doesn’t matter how we are connected as long as we are connected to him at the end, right

Ugo also makes some interesting points regarding potentially polyandrous relationships.

Ugo:  We have to wonder, what was the nature of a woman being alive and having some certain documented tie, a union, or marriage to more than one man?  We are trying to speculate and guess what was the nature and the practice and the environment and the sexuality that surrounded this union.  Was it the same?  Was it different from husband to another husband?  We are left with wondering on this issue.

Besides, the fact that we don’t have children of Joseph Smith from polygamous relationships does not tell us anything about his sexual interactions with this woman.  We all know that you don’t have a child every time you have intercourse.  But it does bring up some interesting alternative answers when you see that there are absolutely no children.  Brigham Young had no problem having children with all his wives, or Joseph F. Smith, or anyone else, so why not Joseph?

Was he too persecuted, too busy?  He had to act secretly so he didn’t have as many opportunities?  Stress level was high?

If you listen to the podcast or watch the video below, you can find out the results of the Paternity test on Moroni Pratt.  Was he Pratt’s son, or Joseph’s?  Don’t forget to check out or episode on DNA 101 and 150 year old paternity tests!)  Check out our conversation…..