Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guest Posting: Oh, What a Puzzle

I've been resisting getting more involved in the field of genealogy, but with a recent call to serve as a Family History Consultant for my congregation, I've seen the writing on the wall and have started seriously considering some form of genealogical certification.

Anyway, here's a guest post at Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog, complete with discussion by readers:

Oh, What a Puzzle: What if Your Genealogy is “All Done”?

Puzzilla is a new resource for users of FamilySearch Family Tree. It shows an overview of the ancestral lines and is helpful in finding where work needs to be done.

Here is a follow-up article on my father's LDS-oriented family history blog, "Rejoice and be exceeding glad...":

Why can't I find any undone families in Puzzilla?

He specifies the difference between finding research that needs to be done, which Puzzilla can do, and temple work that needs to be done, which may be the ultimate purpose, but not what the application does.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

“I will open your graves, and cause you to come up”

For Good Friday tomorrow, this is “O sacred head, sore wounded” from Bach's St Matthew Passion. The original oratorio was written in German.

In the LDS tradition, we sing a version with words by Karen Lynn Davidson, “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown.” I am planning to attend an English-language performance of the oratorio with friends and whichever of my family care to attend the three-hour event.

Good Friday is a solemn time as we remember Christ and his atonement and crucifixion and also spend some time thinking of those who have gone on ahead, or as it says on the gravestone of Thomas and Mary Ann Bryant Parkinson:

There is a bright region above,
We long to reach its shore.
To join with the dear ones we love,
 Not lost but gone before. 

And then as Friday turns into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday, the solemn remembrances change into a time to rejoice and celebrate the resurrection of Christ and of all the dead:
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
So, for Easter Sunday, here is a performance of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” (The performance repeats twice, but is one of the more energetic recordings available online. This hymn should sound joyful, not solemn!)

Happy Easter!

The scripture in the title is from Ezekiel 37:12. The picture is from Flickr, courtesy of mjs_2009.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 14)

David Nathan Thomas
Part 1 (Introduction and Index)

Eventually, the power of those who opposed the colonizing missionaries/settlers was broken and peace was established. But the trials of wind, floods, harsh farming conditions and lawlessness had taken their toll and by 1894 only 20 of those colonization missionaries were left at St. Johns. [75] The mission calls to northern Arizona were of an undetermined length and many of the missionaries called to settle this hostile environment became discouraged, decided their missions were over and gradually moved away. 

Despite all the trials and tribulations, David and Adeline and their children, and Isaac and his family and others of that wagon train of November 1881 came to St. Johns and stayed. There they built homes and businesses, and there the children matured and married. [76] (Frances and Helen Gibbons have written a biography of Adeline Christensen Gibbons, Adeline Springthorpe Thomas’ granddaughter, which details some events and stories of St, Johns in the 1890s.)

 David established a blacksmith shop and when his daughter Frances Ann married in 1883, his son-in-law, Marinus Christensen, began to work in the blacksmith shop with David. After David died, Marinus continued to be the community’s blacksmith for more than twenty-five years. Frances or Aunt Fannie as most called her was known as an excellent cook and housekeeper and a good Latter-Day Saint. [77]

Marinus and Frances Thomas Christensen family

Isaac did not go into the blacksmith trade with his father. For a few years he lived in Egypt, a farming area about three miles north of St. Johns where he farmed and raised sheep and cattle. Later he became a mail carrier, hauling the mail from Holbrook to St. Johns. He sold the sheep and cattle, but continued to farm providing work for his family. [78]

David John Thomas

On December 31, 1887 David (Nathan) Thomas was ordained a High Priest. [79] That next year on August 14, 1888, David (Nathan) Thomas passed away and was buried in the St. Johns cemetery. Just seventeen months later his son, David John, died January 28, 1890 at the age of 25; family histories suggest he died of complications of pneumonia. 

Adeline Springthorpe Thomas

Sometime after March 12, 1890, when she signed the legal papers appointing her as administrix of her husband David’s estate, Adeline left St. Johns. [80] Perhaps Adeline had had enough and feeling her mission call was over, she moved back to the friends she had in Utah. There are no accounts of that journey to tell us if Manti was Adeline’s final destination. At that time she had two step-daughters, Margaret and Sarah Ann, who lived in Wales, which is about twenty miles from Manti. Did she journey to Manti to be near the Manti Temple which had just been dedicated May 17, 1888? Adeline had many in her family and David’s family for whom she would have wanted to do the temple work. Unfortunately, she died and was buried in Manti, April 16, 1891, with her dream unrealized. She is buried under the brow of the hill in the cemetery near the Manti Temple.  [81]

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 13)

Part 1 (Introduction and Index)

At St. Johns the group from Kingston faced many of the same trials settlers in the other communities of the Little Colorado River Basin faced: the isolation and remoteness from the support and commerce of the church in Utah, lack of adequate water supplies, difficulty in growing enough food to feed themselves, floods from the chaotic rivers, unfavorable weather, and the wind. 

Legend has it that a company of pioneers back in the 1880’s were making their way down to the Gila Valley with their wagons and ox teams. They camped one evening on the banks of the Little Colorado River about due east of where the town of St. Johns is presently situated. By morning the wind was blowing so hard they decided to hold up a few days until the gale subsided. You guessed it—the wind never stopped. They are still here. [72]

Monday, April 14, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 12)

Part 1 (Introduction and Index)

Many settlers regarded that portion of the trail from Sunset Crossing as the worst part of the journey. Here the trail led through an uninhabited desert. Water was the worst problem. Most of the time it was unavailable, and when it was, it was often bad tasting and dirty. In his diary, David K. Udall records the following:
We were hard put to make it from one watering place to the next. The women had to get very thirsty before they would drink the brackish, muddy water which often had wrigglers in it. But we let the mud settle and drained out the wrigglers, and it wasn’t so bad. [65]

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 11)

St. Johns, 1881-1888

Since the early 1850’s LDS Church leaders had sent missionary expeditions to the Native Americans living in northern Arizona. In 1872 the LDS Church had sponsored the construction of Lee’s Ferry at the mouth of the Paria River to provide a viable means for pioneer wagons and teams to cross the Colorado River. Attempts were made to colonize northeastern Arizona along the Little Colorado River, but the isolation and harsh conditions drove many of those earlier settlers away. However, Brigham Young thought it vital that northeastern Arizona be settled to solidify the eastern boundaries of the LDS church’s territory. [59] After President Young’s death in 1877, church leaders continued to push forward the idea that settlements in northeastern Arizona were necessary despite the negative reports received from those who had attempted to settle there.

In 1879 Erastus Snow made a tour of the Little Colorado River area and reported back that if a large number of families were called to the settlements already there, it would give permanence to the area. At the Panguitch stake conference March 23, 1881, David, his son Isaac, and his brother-in-law John Springthorpe were called to the Arizona mission. Later at the April General Conference, about seventy-five men from throughout most of the Utah Stakes were called to a mission to Arizona. Nine of those families were from Kingston, and one, Isaac Thomas, was from Kanosh. [60]

By now David had built three different homes in Utah, probably in Hatton, Kanosh, and Kingston; and he must have been tired of moving, maybe even feeling a little too old for pioneering. [61] He was sixty; so when he was asked by church leaders to move to St. Johns, Arizona, he asked that his son, Isaac be called too.

Monday, April 7, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 10)

Part 1 (Introduction and Index)

Kingston 1878-1881

In the early 1870s Thomas Rice King and members of his family had considerable control of land, businesses and influential positions in east Millard County.
This rankled some of their neighbors and after Mormon Apostle Lorenzo Snow publicly accused Thomas King of diverting waters of Chalk Creek in Fillmore for his own rather than the public use, Brigham Young issued a call for Thomas and Matilda to go to Circleville in Piute County and begin a branch of the Mormon United Order in that area. In the fall of 1876, Thomas (Edwin King) called his family—five sons and a daughter, all married and with families of their own—to a meeting and proposed that they take President Young’s advice and establish a family United Order in Circle Valley. [50]

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Map Resource: New York Public Library Map Warper

Are maps important for genealogy and family history? Yes, if you want to do anything more than use the census to assemble your family lines. (Actually, they could be important for that, as well.)

If you've lived in the United States for the past 50 years or so, you might have a mistaken sense of how static boundaries and borders can be. 

Contrary to a simplistic view of history, there were not always "Fifty Nifty United States," and as the states formed, streets and cities and county and state borders changed again and again. It can be important to know how these boundaries changed over time so you understand how to find your family records.

Here, thanks to a mention from Bruce at Amateur Mormon Historian, is a new resource from the New York Public Library: Map Warper.

Not only does the website have a great wealth of maps, it also allows volunteers to rectify them, or match them to a modern map. (The amazing phenomenon of crowd sourcing.) Many of the maps that have already been rectified are of the New York City area, and one of the maps would be helpful in finding out, for example, where John Tanner's oldest son lived and practiced medicine.

Elisha Bently Tanner's first listed place of business was at 132 Liberty in Manhattan. This map shows that this address is currently by the site of the World Trade Center, just steps from the South Pool and the 9/11 Memorial.

A Google Satellite Map of the area.

Also, if you are interested in maps, don't forget the amazing David Rumsey Historical Map Collection and its MapRank Search as well as the Newberry Library Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — April 25–28, 1884

John Taylor, President of the Church.

Friday 25. Weather fine Father Amelia & I went through the Temple John Taylor G Q Cannon & company was there. was a large company there. I felt better in health after going through the Temple that day.
I had a nice ride in the after part of the day.

Saturday 26. Weather warm we went to meeting John Taylor preached all the forenoon. showed us how men of God was tried anciently Christ was perfected by suffering
AM Cannon and several of the brethren spoke in the afternoon Priesthood met at night

Sunday 27. Weather Cold  G Q Cannon preached on celestial marriage in the Afternoon our Presiding Bishop & Moses Thacher. I enjoyed the Teaching very much it was the principles that we might expect God himself to teach

Monday 28. Weather dull  Father is sick has taken a bad cold I have put warm irons to his feet I hope he will soon get better) we ate supper at Em last night she is feeling better than she has been I have washed dishes knited etc and etc

John TaylorJohn Taylor (1808-1887) was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1880 to 1887.
G Q Cannon — Long-time Church leader George Q. Cannon (1827-1901) was First Counselor of the First Presidency in 1884.
Our Presiding BishopWilliam B. Preston (1830-1908) had just become Presiding Bishop on April 6, 1884. He was released shortly before his death in 1908.
Moses ThacherMoses Thatcher (1842-1909) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1879 until 1896, when he was relieved from his duties in the Quorum.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Research on the Origins of the Tanner Family

It's too bad that Blogger doesn't have an automatic way to show recent comments, since that means that readers miss some interesting conversations on old posts. I'll try and see if there's some way to do that, but in the meantime, don't miss Peggy's comments about the John Tanner family:

The Colonial Heritage of the John Tanner Family

Peggy has had extensive research done on the origins of the Tanner family and presents some interesting findings and questions about the family.

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — April 18-24, 1884

Friday 18. It rained part of the night paid ^B.^ Green for herding the cow [In margin: took tea for breakfast]
Father is 19 working on the bridge to day Amelia came and picked some greens brought me a piece of pork Brig took some hay from here to feed his animals

Saturday 19. Weather fine & bright spent the morning in bed my cold is very bad
Pa bought himself a pair of shoes I am kniting a little I do not think my cough is quite so ^bad^ as it was

Sunday 20. Went to meeting. ^Went out riding with Josy^ took Anne for a ride in evening Thomas & Em had supper with us had a letter from Charley & Maggie

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — April 13–17, 1884

Sunday 13. A M Weather fine Father has gone to sunday school ^Em & Thomas was here in evening^ Josey is home It is a calm peaceful day of rest we ought to feel grateful for the Sabath day as being typicial of the thousand years of peace ^& rest^ when Christ shall reign on the ^earth^ ^I went to meeting^

Monday 14. Weather fine I have fresh cold on my lungs Anne came in The cow put in the herd today. Josey and I went riding
had a letter from Heber last night 13th

Tusday 15. Anne came over to borrow flour  I loaned her a tin bucket full I went to the temple & help clean. Father drove me down in the buggy and fetched me home  I was so tired I made tea for my dinner. We have lost the cow

Wednesday 16. had no milk for breakfast took tea Father has gone on horseback to hunt the cow Weather dull threatning to rain  my cough is very severe lose my sleep at night rest well in the morning Father rode horseback found the cow ^at night^ [In margin: in the afternoon rained]

Thursday 17. Weather had a shower of rain I am not well do not want any breakfast Father is gone to mend the bridge that pray will help him in his taxes. We ^[indecipherable]^ had a hail storm it is quite cold spent the day kniting reading ctr [etc.] coughing & Ctr Ctr

Detail of the St. George Temple used under a Creative Commons license from Michael Whiffen at Flickr. (Click on the link to see his beautiful collection of photos.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

David Nathan Thomas (Part 9)

Nephi & Kanosh, 1862-1878, continued

Margaret thought that David and Adeline stayed in Nephi some two years. David and Adeline’s daughter, Frances Ann, was born on May 4, 1864, in Nephi. Although there is no record of her birth in the early Nephi records, later church records (in St. Johns) list her birthplace as Nephi. [42] According to those same St. Johns records, she was not blessed until 1871 in Kanosh. It may have been that David and Adeline went within a short time after Frances’ birth to Kanosh where the first group in Kanosh was organized as the Corn Creek Branch in 1861. The name was later changed to Kanosh Branch. 

This first Kanosh Branch was in the area known as Lower Corn Creek, also known as Petersburg and Hatton. Here the sedge (salt) grass, a delicacy for foraging animals, grew in abundance. Alfalfa, grains and grass grew well in the alkaline soil, but other crops did not do well there. [43]