Family history moments: Records preserved

Life is rich, full and quirky. When records are kept over the years, amazing coincidences reveal themselves. In 1820, my great-great-grandfather, John Henry Dixon, was captain of a party of families from near London who immigrated to near Grahamstown on the southern coast of the Cape Province, South Africa. Among these traveling companions and friends was the family of John Vice.

About 111 years later, my uncle Clarence Dixon Taylor, a great-grandson of John Henry Dixon, was serving a mission in South Africa. In 1931, as mission secretary, he witnessed the convert baptism of Edwin Joseph Jakins. In 1935, Edwin Jakins' son, Richard, married Eileen Vivienne Vice, a great-grandaughter of John Vice.

I also had the privilege of serving a mission in the Union of South Africa in the late 1940s. I worked for a time near Johannesburg in the Transvaal, where I met a wonderful and staunch member of the Church, Deryck Vice (brother of Eileen), and enjoyed great hospitality from him and his family. I hadn't the least notion about the Dixon-Vice connection of almost 130 years prior.

Several years ago, a wonderful family — emigrants from South Africa — Darrell and Gina Jakins and their children moved into our ward in Provo, Utah. It was not long before we found we had a connection. Deryck Vice, who I knew in a suburb of Johannesburg, was the great-uncle of Darrell Jakins.

Darell's late father, Duane, had collected family papers which, an examination showed, contained the baptismal certificate of Edwin Joseph Jakins, Darrell's great-grandfather. This was an exciting find for Darrell and for me too when he dropped in to see me recently. The certificate was signed by Elder Clarence Dixon Taylor, mission secretary, in July 1931. Unbeknownst to Edwin Joseph Jakins and to Clarence Taylor, great-grandson of John Henry Dixon (my great-great-grandfather) was that when Clarence signed the certificate, he was witnessing the baptism of a man whose son would marry a descendent of John Vice, one of the members of John Henry Dixon's 1820 party.

So here we are, Darrell Jakins, born in Durban, South Africa, and John Taylor, born in Provo, Utah, lineal descendants of John Vice and John Henry Dixon, 1820 settlers, now 10,000 miles from Africa and almost 200 years later, practically next-door neighbors.

This pleasant relationship could not be known of had not the Vice, Jakins, Dixon and Taylor families collected and preserved important records. — John Arthur Taylor, Provo, Utah

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