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 ( 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,

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. 


  1. Hi love your blog, just letting you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award, apologies if you have already been nominated. cheers Di.

    1. absolutely lovely! I appreciate your nomination so much! Yes, Elise Wormuth had already nominated me but I truly do appreciate another " nod". Thank you! Please do follow my travels and feel free to comment.