New Evidence on Donner Party

+19 votes

Jacob Donner is my 4th great grandfather.  My 3rd great grandfather, his son George, was rescued by the first relief party and survived.  I realize that this is American history but for me, it is more than that.  It is my family.  I think his profile is well done. However, I do take slight offense to this sourced fact at the end of his bio...

"It is reported taut when the Second Relief arrived, Jacob's children were eatting his organs and his wife was boiling his tongue".  It is not the typos that offend me.  I realize that this statement is supported by "The Second Relief" and "What I Saw in California".  However, new evidence (or lack thereof) through archaeological and dna investigations at the Alder Creek site calls into question the narrative that has been presented in books and newspapers.   

I am proud of my grandfather's and not ashamed of what they did to survive.  I just thought that it is a little cavalier and insensitive to end his bio with that sensational "factoid".  Especially in light of new evidence which calls into question the extent of the cannibalism that actually occurred.

This profile is protected.  Is it possible to add some new sources and information from these new discoveries?




WikiTree profile: Jacob Donner
in Genealogy Help by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
reshown by Caryl Ruckert

1 Answer

+14 votes
Best answer
Project protection does not prevent you from editing the profile. And I think you should request to be added to the Trusted List.

The biography section would benefit from expansion. I'd like to see more information about the family's migration and the travails they underwent (the writeup sort of implies that everybody knows that part of the biography). And after that gruesome description of the situation that was reported when the survivors were found, it would be worthwhile to have some discussion of the modern archaeological work done to determine what really happened.  One source that I thought could be helpful in writing additional material to add is

Be sure to cite sources for anything you add!
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
selected by Caryl Ruckert
Thanks Ellen.  I am fairly new to wikitree.  I did not know that I could edit a protected profile.  I will ask to be on the trusted list.  I think your suggestions are great!  I would love to collaborate with others on this.

The story of the Donner's is something I have known about my whole life.  The family has handed the story of their survival down through the generations.  I know that my great grandmother (George's granddaughter) told that my mother that George and his sister Mary Donner Houghton were horrified to have to live in the shadow of the tabloid press articles of the time and some of the outright lies that were printed.  Please forgive me if I come across too strongly on how my grandparents are remembered.  I don't deny the history but think the bio could benefit from what you suggested. :)
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