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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Utah Calling!



Any gathering of like minded people is certain to be a joyous affair.  The opportunity for genealogists to gather and meet up in Salt Lake City, Utah in February 2015 will be no different.  While some travelers may know one another, most will arrive among strangers.  Inevitably, however, strangers will connect and leave as friends.


Since I have had the good fortune to have experienced a week researching ancestors at the Family History Library, I know firsthand that it is a truly remarkable place. 
The library itself is situated directly across the street from Temple Square.  The Square is filled with incomparable gardens and the fragrance of whatever is in bloom.  The time spent wandering among the ponds, flowers, streams and statues will refresh even the most troubled soul.  Somehow, the mind, heart and soul become rested, cleared and renewed.

Many of those enjoying the gardens are present to experience the same refreshment.  Joining with others, gathering for conference meetings or for library research enables us to reach out among the living even as we each reach into the past to connect to those who came before us.  No matter who we are, we now lead our ancestral lines, traveling steadily onward until we too are led by those who come after us.  Yes, we are connected in our homes, our towns, our states, our lands.  

Eventually, through our sometimes tedious explorations, we may find our connections reach even deeper.  Researching the past can sometimes lead us to a name we may share with another researcher, a town we have in common, even a child on a passenger list that we had no former knowledge of.
Researchers connect in all sorts of ways.  Cousins find cousins, children find great grandparents, countries of family origins are found.

So, come to Utah!  I invite you to make the journey!  Bring your questions, research the answers, explore the resources available, connect with others who, like you, have an insatiable appetite to know their roots and above all......leave refreshed and more knowledgeable than when you came.  Leave inspired to continue your work.  Leave fired up to support the genealogical community and all of its endeavors.  Leave having explored, connected and refreshed!

https://www.fgsconference.org

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Land of the Latter Day Saints - Celebrate the Mormon Pioneers!

It's been 168 years since the first of Joseph Smith's saints set foot in the Great Utah Valley led by Brother Brigham Young.  In the years 1846 to 1869, greater than 70,000 Mormons traveled the dusty wagon tracks of the road west - the road known as The Mormon Pioneer Trail.  Some traveled in wagons, some walked beside them, some rode animals, others pushed hand carts across the some odd 1,300 miles.  The "Saints" as they were called, left journals, diaries, letters, art and artifacts behind to tell their tale.  Most importantly, they left behind their belief that we are indeed all one people united under the Heavenly Father.  As a result, and in an effort to ensure the reunification of families in the Heavenly Kingdom, Latter Day Saints have worked tirelessly to collect, collate, film, digitize and distribute ancestral documents throughout the world.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family History Library has the largest holdings of these microfilmed records, so it was a natural choice for my niece, Emily and my next genealogical adventure!
Salt Lake City and Temple Square became the destination for our travels in the summer of 2014.
We joined an Ancestor Seekers (www.ancestorseekers.com) tour for a week of research and exploration.  We arrived with a three page list of documents that we wanted to find that we had compliled earlier from the free LDS genealogical site, www.familysearch.org.




The Family History Library has "over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed records and more than 727,000 microfiche, containing the names of more than 3 billion deceased people.  It houses over 356,000 genealogical and local history books, over 4,500 periodicals, maps and atlases and more than 3,725 electronic databases and resources" *   Located across from Temple Square, the FHL is open to the public at no charge and it is estimated that 1,500 people visit every day.  To store and to safeguard the original microfilms and records, The Granite Mountain Records Vault was built in the early 1960's near Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Records in the massive collections date from the 17th Century to the middle 20th Century.
After being welcomed by a Baked Potato Buffet the night of our arrival in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, we set to work early the next morning.  We spent five days researching documents, breaking only for a quick lunch in the massive church office and administration building cafeteria.  Our nights were filled with tours of the amazing gardens,  the Tabernacle, and attendance at a rehearsal of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  





We even managed a side trip to the
 Pioneer Heritage Park built to commemorate the
 location where Brother Brigham made his famous
 "this is the place" declaration. 




 We drove out to see the Great Salt Lake firsthand and found it to be a vast and desolate spot.  Yet, what a vision of hope it must have been to those early, tired and worn pioneers as they came across the mountains and saw the valley below.


 How grateful I am to those brave and steadfast people who risked all to cross the plains not knowing what lay ahead but holding fast to their faith in God and answering the call:  "Come, Come Ye Saints, no toil nor trouble fear, but with joy, wend your way." *


* The Mormons: An Illustrated History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, edited by Roy A. Prete.  (Pg. 122).

*Come, Come Ye Saints....text Wm. Clayton,                                                                                           English Folk Song. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One Lovely Blog! Ask me if I'm excited.....

Many thanks today to Elise Ann Wormuth, author of Living in the Past for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award!  It is indeed an honor to be considered worthy of such recognition and I am most appreciative.  There are only a few expectations of me at this point, that I recognize Elise, that I reveal 7 things about myself, and that I nominate up to 15 fellow bloggers - which I am more than happy to do.

1.  I am retired and as such, finally have the time to research and investigate the details of my family origins, ancestors, occupations and beliefs.  
2.  I have two sons whom show little interest in their genealogy at the time but whom will most likely become more interested as they age, much as I did.
3.  I have my deceased father in law to thank for my obsession with genealogy as he worked tirelessly on his own in a time when there were no computers, programs such as Ancestry.com, FTM, or any of the others.  His work was done strictly with letters, phone calls and personal visits.  I honor him for the work he did on his family and credit him with the interest he invoked in me for finding my own.
4.  I am married to a true "Renaissance man" who tolerates my hours at the computer with a good nature, an interest in my findings, and a willingness to submit his own DNA for scrutiny.
5.  I believe that the mailman is like Santa Claus and any day he brings a document is like Christmas!
6.  I have great hope that the work I do on my genealogy will be found valuable to the generations to come in my family.
7.  I am thankful to all fellow bloggers and to the various genealogical Facebook pages which have been of tremendous interest and help to me.  I have learned so much from others and am grateful for all the quick responses to questions I have asked on so many group pages.  Last of all, I will be eternally grateful to the LDS community for so willingly opening their doors to all of us and sharing their amazing library of documents.

In return for my nomination, I would like to nominate the following blogs for the One Lovely Blog award.  

Diane Hall author of Michigan Family Trails
Shawnee Cannon author of Classic Mormon Mom
Derek Davey author of Genealogy - Southeast Michigan
Laura author of Mellon Blogs
Julie Goucher author of Angler's Rest - The Book of Me written By You

Thanks again to Elise!  My research is also in Germany as yours is.  May the genealogy gods go with you in your work.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Family Pioneer - #1 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge

Johannes Jakob Stobener could accurately be known as our family pioneer as he arrived in the U.S. 
earlier than any of our other immigrant ancestors.  Jacob, as he was known, was born on the 8th of March in 1820.  He was from a large family who were living in Vordenweidenthal, Sudliche Weinstrasse, in the Rheinland-Pfalz of Germany.  He was the son of Johannes Jakob Stobner, born in 1776 and Maria Barbara Veiock, born in 1779.  The couple had six children; Johannes Heinrich born in 1803, Johannes Markus born in 1805, Elizabeth born in 1810, Katharina born in 1815, our Johannes Jakob and Johannes Michael born in 1824.
In those days, homes, farms and goods were willed to the eldest son in a family and the rest of the children were left without.  As a result, in many families, once parents had died, the younger children were virtually "cast out" on their own.  Jacob, not the eldest, immigrated to the United States, arriving in New York on the 2 of May in 1851.  He was 31 years of age.  
Jacob had already married Anna Marie Christoffel who had been born in Rheinpfalz, Germany on the 11th of March in 1819.  Anna Marie listed her occupation as "cook".  Not the first in the family and certainly, not the last.

Jacob applied for and received his Naturalization Papers on the 17th of February, 1855.  No Naturalization Papers were necessary for Anna Marie as wives became citizens simply by being married.   Jacob and his bride, Anna Marie, and their daughter, Elisabeth (born in Germany in 1846) established a home in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania where, according to the 1870 U.S. census, Jacob worked as a boiler maker and Anna Marie kept house in their little home on Fell Street.  The couple had two more children; another Elisabeth and Anna Marie later known as simply "Mary".

There is a record of Jacob having registered for the Civil War Draft between 1863 and 1865. Whether or not he fought in battle, I do not know.

Jacob died on the 5th of March, 1897 after having written a will leaving all of his earthly possessions to Anna Marie.  The obituary from the Wilkes-Barre Times referred to him as a "highly respected old citizen".

Jacob was 77 years of age when he died of "general debility".  Survived by Anna Marie and three daughters, he was buried in the City Cemetery.  He had been a member of the German Lutheran Kripplein Christi Church.