Thursday, November 14, 2013

Taking Care of the Church Building

Before I throw away an old letter, I want to record one story from it, and I figured this would be the best place.
This is a picture of my great-grandparents and their family, taken in 1914. That would be Nels Peter Conrad Beckstrand and his wife Ida Lovisa Anderson Beckstrand and their seven children: Della, Vernard, Lillian, Ida, Elmer, Leonard and Olive. When our son was a deacon (in October 1998), my mother wrote him a letter which included the following:

"I am pleased to hear about your new calling as the Deacon's Quorum President. Soon you will move out of the quorum when your birthday comes, so do a good job while you can. I like reading the pioneer stories of the work that the deacons did to help the wards. Hopefully your members are being effective in watching out for the temporal needs of the ward. The deacons can help with the building upkeep. In the past, deacons kept the fires in the furnaces going, swept the building and walks, shoveled snow, and took care of the widows.

"Did you know that your great-great grandmother Beckstrand used to start the fires for the church building in Idaho? If they had several meetings going on the same day in different rooms she had more fireplaces or furnaces to keep going and to watch. She also washed the sacrament clothes and trays and cups. Remember, that was before the day of plastic and throw away paper. Winter time was especially a time of hard work. She was the custodian so was paid some money for the job."

Can you imagine how neat and clean our church buildings would be today if the deacons and other young men really fulfilled their responsibility like they did in the past?

I was going to add this as a story in Family Tree but found that another cousin had already added a much more complete biography for Ida Anderson Beckstrand. In that version, great-grandpa is the janitor, but I'm sure grandmother helped him. Here's the link so you can read it yourself: Ida Lovisa Anderson (click on the story box).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Notwithstanding My Weakness"

I was trying to figure out how to remember some quotes I read this morning, and figured this would at least be a good starting place. I've been reading a conference talk each morning, and today's was Elder Scott's "Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." He talked a bit about the difference between sins and weaknesses, and how the Atonement can help us overcome both. The specific suggestions he mentioned at the end (making temple covenants, sharing the gospel, fulfilling church callings and being attentive to family members) all had the "common theme: fill your life with service to others" which fit in perfectly with our seminary lesson on Mosiah 2 today.

Then I came home and read a blog post on Diapers and Divinity talking about the same subject. Maybe it's something I need to hear today! Stephanie quoted and linked to a talk given by Elder Neal A. Maxwell many, many years ago, entitled "Notwithstanding My Weakness." The whole talk is wonderful, but the one line I want to remember is this:

"Feet are made to move forward—not backward!"

If we're moving in the right direction, we're making progress, however small it may seem at the time.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Sites Less Traveled"

Here are some interesting websites to consider when doing family history research, taken from an old newspaper article and recorded here so I can throw away the yellowed clipping.
Signing the Mayflower Compact - You can read what it said by exploring "The Avalon Project."

It was one mile long.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Treasures in Heaven

This quote was shared in Relief Society last week and it really touched me. So, I'm recording it here so I can find it again someday.

"Treasures in heaven are the character, perfections, and attributes which men acquire by obedience to law. Thus, those who gain such attributes of godliness as knowledge, faith, justice, judgment, mercy, and truth, will find these same attributes restored to them again in immortality."  

--Elder Bruce R. McConkie 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Swiss Converts - 1850s

Wayne had great-something grandparents join the church in Switzerland in the 1850s. While trying to find more information on them, I came across this little history/biography of two men - Henry Hug and Jacob Tobler - who served missions in Switzerland about that time and then helped settle Santa Clara in southern Utah. It's quite fascinating, and I wanted to post the link here so I could find it again.

Heinrich Hug and Jacob Tobler: from Switzerland to Santa Clara

One of the more interesting aspects of the story is how two men with similar experiences reacted differently. One of them became disaffected with Brigham Young, left the church, and moved to Oregon.  The other stayed faithful and has generations of descendants who honor him. That's definitely something to ponder, particularly in how it relates to my own actions and testimony.

One of the resources the author used was a book called "One Hundred Years of Hugs: The Story of the Hug Family in Switzerland and America" which also sounds intriguing. I'm not sure if it's our actual ancestors, but I'm sure the experiences outlined will be similar. Unfortunately, the closest copy of the book to me is about 1,000 miles away in the Library of Congress. However, there's also a copy in the Harold B. Lee Library on the BYU campus. I'll have to remember to look for it the next time we're in Provo!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Another Revolutionary War Soldier

Richard Woolsey, from our children's dad's side, also fought in the Revolutionary War.  Once again the "stories" link in Family Tree has some fascinating information.  Here are just a few highlights:

1775/1776 Richard Woolsey - Enlisted at Newburgh, Orange County, New York in Capt John Montgomery, Col Lewis Dubois’ reg’t in 5th line in Gen Wooster’s Brigade

1776 Aug 27 Richard Woolsey - Battle of Long Island –1st major confrontation since the Declaration of Independence.

1776 Aug 29 Battle of Kings Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx

1776 Oct 28 Battle of White Plains – unfolded across Chatterton Hill  and Battle Hill  

1777 Oct  Garrisoned at Fort Montgomery, assigned to build and guard the fort.

Winter – 1778  Encamped in New Windsor, New York

You can read Richard's whole story here.

The story of Reuben Warriner is found here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Grandpa White!

Today would have been my grandfather's 101st birthday.  To honor his memory, I thought I'd share a little story that I discovered when cleaning out my kids' "boxes" last month.  This comes from a letter my mother wrote Weston the summer after he graduated from high school, when one of his part-time jobs was selling knives.

"I'm not a salesman, unless I already have a customer.  When my Dad, your great-grandpa, Arthur White, left home to "seek his fortune" he was in his later twenties.  He and two friends left Clearfield, Utah to "seek their fortune" in the big city of Los Angeles, California.  They had connections and a job in a canning factory before they left home.  When the canning season was over, they couldn't find work, so the two friends went back to Utah.  My dad says he was determined to prove to the folks back home that he could make it, so he stayed.  He got a job selling magazines.  Of course, that is not what he wanted to do.  

"However, while selling magazines, he saw a sign in a window advertising for a repair person.  I think it was on radios or something similar.  When he inquired about the job, the owner of the shop gave him an item and said if he could fix it, he was hired.  He fixed it!  The man even let him sleep in the little shop and I think he had a hot plate. I can't remember all of the story.

"So opportunities for work and other living conditions improved from there and sometime later he met my mother, Dorothy Wilson, on the boat to Catalina Island - on the dance floor.  He also sang with the stake Young Single Adults of that day who provided music and talks to different sacrament meetings in the area.  That group fellow-shipped my mother and her study of the gospel."

Eventually Arthur baptized Dorothy and they were married and started a family, but they never would have met if Grandpa hadn't been determined to make his own way in life.  What a great example of hard work and perseverance he left for his posterity.

Just in case you weren't aware of it, one of the new features of FamilyTree (the Church's new family history website) is the ability to add stories.  It's stories that really bring family history to life.  So, take the time to add them so all the cousins can know what you know!
To add or read stories you click on the "stories" tab which is to the far right of the default "details" tab under the individual's name.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sharing the Gospel

Ten years ago Steven gave a talk in Primary.  Before I throw his notes away, I figured I'd record it here.  We're so grateful he's working to share his testimony now as a full-time missionary.  And we're thankful that The Friend made preparing Primary talks so easy!

Elder M. Russell Ballard said:
“It is important that we each know for ourselves that Jesus is the Christ and that He has restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith the fulness of His everlasting gospel. As we press forward in His service, spiritual experiences will increase our faith, and we will find great joy. … And as we come to know and understand these true doctrines for ourselves, we will discover that there is also a great need for us to share our knowledge and beliefs with others while always maintaining their friendship and goodwill.”

The February Friend has a story about two friends, Tyler and Jonathan.  Tyler was a member of the church and Jonathan wasn't.  One day Jonathan came to Tyler's house to play.  When they got bored with the toys, Tyler had an idea.  He told Jonathan his family night lesson story about Joseph Smith's First Vision.  Even though Jonathan was only used to Bible prophets, he thought it was a neat story.

Jonathan asked, "Are you sure Joseph Smith was a prophet?”

“Sure, I’m sure.”

“But how do you know? I mean, if it’s not in the Bible, how do you know?”

Tyler hesitated. He knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but how could he explain it to Jonathan? “I just know,” he said.

Jonathan still had a frown on his face, and Tyler had a feeling that there was something else he should say. Then he knew what it was. “I know because I have a testimony.”

“Oh,” was all Jonathan said.

Tyler obeyed the commandment in D&C 88:81: "It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor."

I hope we can all be good friends and share the gospel just like Tyler.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, April 22, 2013


In preparation for today's seminary lesson, I re-read a talk by President Packer given in the April 2004 General Conference.  In it he shared a concept that I first heard (probably from him) at a seminary in-service meeting of some sort, and that is the definition of "inoculate."  Do you know what it means?

"In" means "to be within" and "oculate" means "eye to see."  President Packer taught that just as we can inoculate, or immunize, the physical body to protect it from disease, we can do the same with our spiritual bodies.  This takes place when we are confirmed.  The Holy Ghost becomes our "eye within" to protect us from sin.

In the same talk he also referenced the shield of faith, part of the "Armor of God" that Paul talks about in Ephesians.  President Packer stated, "This shield of faith is best fabricated in a cottage industry.  While the shield can be polished in classes in the Church and in activities, it is meant to be handcrafted in the home and fitted to each individual."  That's an timely reminder of the importance of teaching our children faith in the home, yet I also like the idea of "polishing" it, or receiving corroborating help, in our classes at church.

If you want to read the entire talk yourself, you can find it here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Evolution of Our Family Scripture Study

Cocoa asked me to share some ideas on how we did family scripture study for her "Establish a House" series.  I've re-posted it on my own blog so I can find it again, but go to hers HERE to read the comments which have some wonderful suggestions to make this work.
Prologue: Background
One day when I was in high school my parents announced that we were going to start having family scripture study every evening.  I don’t remember too much about the ensuing experience, other than that we used Gospel Principles as our study manual, and that with eight children, with varying degrees of cooperation, it was pretty much utter chaos. However, it did instill in me the desire to start family scripture study early with my own children, and not wait until they were teenagers.
Phase One: Crash and Burn
Fast forward several years.  By this time I was married to a wonderful man and we had four little boys.  The oldest had just started school and was learning to read and I felt that it was time to start family scripture study.  My husband wasn’t quite on board with the idea, however, he couldn't see how there would be time to fit it into our schedule.  After all, he was busy working full-time, taking MBA classes part-time, and serving as the ward Young Men’s President in his spare time.  He was right, so I decided that it’s just something I’d have to do.  I vividly remember one night when he was at school or Mutual, putting the baby to bed and gathering the other kids on the couch to read a chapter from the illustrated Book of Mormon Stories.  The two-year-old wandered off, and I decided to not chase him.  A couple of minutes later we heard a big CRASH!  Fortunately, he was okay but the contents on top of my dresser weren’t.  I remember being so frustrated!  I was trying to do the right thing, wasn’t I?  And then the answer came, “Be patient.  Let your husband take the lead for family scripture study.  It’s his priesthood responsibility.”  That may not be the answer for everyone, but it was the right one for us.  I had a wonderful, worthy, priesthood leader husband, and I needed to support him.  We were having weekly family home evening and daily family prayers and that was enough right then.  I still read scripture stories to the kids, but it was part of an individual bedtime story routine, not as family scripture study.
Phase Two: Build the Habit
Fast forward a few more years – to Mother’s Day 1992.  My husband was asked to speak in sacrament meeting, and as part of helping him to prepare, we read President Benson’s talk “To the Mothers in Zion.”  In that talk he stated, “Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. Individual scripture reading is important, but family scripture reading is vital.”   After discussion we decided it was time to start having family scripture study.  We presented our plan for family night and started Tuesday morning.  One of the unique things that I love about my husband is that he likes to do things in an orderly fashion.  With his encouragement, the family voted to start our reading with Genesis 1:1, and go through the books in order – first The Bible, then the Book of Mormon, then the Doctrine & Covenants, and finally the Pearl of Great Price.  We also decided that reading at breakfast time would fit our schedule the best.  So, that’s what we did.  A month later I wrote in my journal: “We did start reading the Bible at breakfast and I’ve noticed a difference in our home.  There is less teasing and quarreling, and I think that’s enough incentive to never stop reading the scriptures.  I’m so thankful the boys get along well with each other and that there’s love and harmony in our home.”
This phase continued for years.  At first, Dad did all the reading.  Once we completed the entire standard works (which took years), we read the Book of Mormon through a few times.  Once we listened to the tapes and followed along in our books.  Another time or two we each took turns reading a verse (oldest to youngest).  We even read it in Spanish once, as a way to feel closer to our missionary son.  As the kids grew older and started seminary (and Dad’s commute lengthened), we moved it from breakfast time to bed time. 
During this time I noticed a couple of things, in addition to the lower decibel level that the prophets’ promised.  One was that treating family scripture study as a “church meeting” really helped with reverence in sacrament meeting.  Each day our boys got a chance to practice sitting upright, while listening quietly and refraining from poking each other.  That made Sundays a lot easier.  Another was how it helped our children learn to read quickly.  Just before our daughter turned six, we moved from California to Florida (states with differing age rules).  Our daughter’s first grade teacher looked at her fall birth date and was concerned that she was placed incorrectly, because she was a full year younger than the other students in her class.  Then the teacher heard her read, and her response was “Don’t you dare take her from my class.”  When she shared that with me, I realized that her ability to read well was a direct result of reading the scriptures regularly from the day she was born.
I had “daily” instead of “regularly” in that last sentence, but took it out, because this wasn’t a daily thing.  We struggled and had weeks when we got out of the habit, particularly when schedule changes came along.  One that I remember in particular was when my husband started a new job in a city four hours away from where we lived.  We couldn’t move until we sold our house, which took several months, so during that time he wasn’t home from Sunday evening through Friday night.  I had learned my lesson about letting him take the lead for family scripture study, so we stopped.  After a few weeks, I noticed a bunch more bickering between the kids and it just seemed noisy and definitely not peaceful in our home.  The light bulb finally went off and I realized it was because we had stopped reading the scriptures together every day.  We saved the “real” Book of Mormon for when Dad was home on the weekends, but we pulled out the scripture stories again for during the week.  Within a few days, things were back to normal.

Also, as we were working on building the habit, I remember suggesting that if we skipped a day, we should read two chapters the next day.  My very wise husband reminded me that it doesn’t work that way.  If we skip a meal or two, we don’t eat twice as much the next time (even if some of us try), because over-eating isn’t good for us either.  Scriptures are spiritual nourishment.  If we forgot to read, we just repented and tried harder to remember the next day.

Phase Three: Add a Hymn
After a while, I thought it would be nice to add singing a hymn to our family scripture study and prayer, to make it more of a devotional time, but my dear husband wasn’t so sure.  Then one day he read the section in the Church Handbook of Instructions on music, which lead him to the preface of the hymn book: “Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together." Guess what we added to our family scripture study then?  It’s been wonderful.  Every night we sing a different hymn.  We started with hymn #1 and went all the way to #341. We’ve sung them in alphabetical order and by topics.  Now we’re going through the author/composer index.
At one point, after a stake conference in which our stake president encouraged each family to have daily scripture study, we evaluated how we were doing and realized that even though it had been a habit for years, there was still room for improvement, particularly on the weekends.  The tendency had been to go from school and work to dinner to entertainment to a very late bedtime, and no one wanted to take the time to read scriptures, although we did have family prayer.  We decided to move scriptures and prayer from after the “Friday/Saturday night movie” to before it.  That worked!

We’ve been working on this family tradition for over twenty years now, and yet there’s really only one specific night that I remember.  Even then, though, I have no idea what chapter we read.  All I remember now is that when Dad called for “Scriptures and Prayer” the oldest son at home didn’t show up in the living room.  His little sister was sent to remind him, but that didn't work.  I went to cajole him into joining the family, and that didn’t work either.  He was tired and in a bad mood and just wanted to sleep.  Fortunately, the Spirit prompted me to suggest we take the family to him.  He still didn’t participate, but the rest of us gathered around his bed, read our chapter, sang a short hymn, had prayer, and left him alone. Later I learned that was a very powerful lesson to him on the importance of family scripture study, and it was definitely the best way to handle the situation.  Fortunately, it was a one-time occurrence!
Phase Four: What's Next?
Now we’re empty-nesters, and we still have daily family scripture study.  And it's still evolving.  Just this week we decided to note if the hymn we sing could be classified as a prayer or not.  Sometimes I miss the challenge of trying to get active kids to settle down for just a few minutes, and I definitely miss the full octet for the hymn, but I’m grateful for the memories of the past.  I feel like we didn’t spend a lot of time “studying” the scriptures, and if I were doing it over again, I’d try to add some discussion time to the reading.  However, I’ve learned that it’s not so much what you learn intellectually that’s important.  What’s valuable is the sense of family unity that’s created as you spend time together, developing a greater love for each other and for the Savior and his gospel. 
I’m grateful to see our sons carry this family tradition into their own little families, and I’m open for suggestions on how to encourage them to keep this habit going, and to share my love of the scriptures with young grandchildren who live thousands of miles away!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Chiasma

One of my Easter traditions is re-reading this beautiful poem my father wrote.  Hope you enjoy it too.
Chiasma in the Spirit of the Easter Season

By Shelley M Beckstrand
April 15, 1987

 Jesus Christ, the first born son of our Father in Heaven
          The Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh
                   Was born of Mary,
                             To die.

Obediently suffering death,
          Now offering exaltation
                   To those who accept him as
                             Their Savior.

With sorrow
          He atoned for our sins.
                   Being wounded on the cross, his heart burst
                             Broken for our transgressions –
                             To heal us if we will repent by
                   Sacrificing a contrite spirit and a broken heart.
          We thus abandon our sins
For peace.

                             His children
                   Are those who serve him,
          Nurturing hope in eternal life,
Enduring faithful to the end.

                             We live
                   Born again
          Of the Spirit, children of Christ,
Sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

Friday, March 29, 2013

March Madness - New Testament Scripture Mastery Style

This year I decided it would be fun to bring some energy into seminary by doing a March Madness activity.  It actually turned out really well.  We had three teams - Red, Yellow and Blue - and kept points.  Most of the points were earned through the "New Testament Scripture Story Grab Bag" activity.
This idea came from the February 1999 Friend.  I had the pictures in my file, but you can find them at Sugar Doodle.  After drawing one of the pictures, each team got points for sharing a story related to the picture, a principle related to the story, and a relevant scripture mastery verse.  They got extra points for extra stories and scripture masteries.  Every 100 points the team would pull a slip from the "mad" bowl.  Some of those were questions worth additional points, but most of them were "switching" cards.  They didn't particularly like switching teams, but were good sports about it.  These activities were mainly used as fillers, either before or after the regular lesson.

The last several days of the month we worked on the Scripture Bracket Tournament.  As the teacher I came up with 64 different scriptures in the New Testament.  I used the scripture mastery verses, took some from a list of "scriptures quoted the quoted in general conference" that I had, and picked a few of my favorites to round it out.  I was able to divide them into four "regions" by author - Matthew, John, Paul, and Others.  Then the students ranked their favorite verses from each region to fill in our bracket.
When it was time for the tournament, which lasted several days, we would compare the two scriptures "competing" and ask the question, "Which of these two scriptures would bring me as a teenager the most help, comfort, peace or understanding?"  For most of the rounds, the winner was the majority favorite, although we did do a round or two in a debate format.  (One team would present reasons for why their scripture should be chosen, another team did the same, and the third team made the decision.)  

Guess what the winning scripture was?  If I had filled out a fantasy bracket, I would have sorely lost!!

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

March was a wonderful month in seminary.  We had fun.  We felt the Spirit.  And we know some scriptures that we can turn to when we need help and guidance.

And you can find the prizes that were handed out at the end here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mayflower Descendants

According to this, we're related to Dick Van Dyke and Richard Gere. George Soule is our common Mayflower ancestor.  I wonder how distantly.  Anyway, isn't this a cool picture?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Young Women Class Handouts

Last month my amazing daughter-in-law shared what she does for her Young Women each week, and it was such a great idea, I asked if I could Pin it.  She said I could, but that it wouldn't do any good because her blog's private.  Oops!  So she gave me permission to write about it on my own non-private blog.

Here's what she wrote:

When I was called to teach Young Women last June, I started browsing Pinterest for all sorts of YW ideas, especially since I am also the Personal Progress Advisor. I wanted to find a way for the girls to remember at least a little bit of what they learned that 
1, didn't take too much time, 
2, didn't take too much money, and 
3, was something I could do consistently. 
I couldn't find anything online that fit my criteria. So I wanted to share what I decided on because I feel like it was complete inspiration and revelation. 
Every week I pick what I feel is the most meaningful quote that goes with what our lesson is on. All I bought was a small spool of ribbon, a 12x12 cardstock pad (a very cute one, of course, so they all coordinate), and some binder rings. It takes me about 20 minutes each week to do a set. The cards measure 4" x 2 3/8", which is one 12x12 sheet cut into 15 rectangles (that's about how many I need when we have a lot of visitors). No more random handouts littering your scriptures! And now each girl has a whole stack of quotes to look back on (or at least something visual to remember part of the lesson by) to use for spiritual thoughts or spiritual pick-me-ups.

Isn't that just an awesome idea?  And it reminded me of something one of my visiting teachers did years ago. Whenever she came across a quote she wanted to remember, she wrote it on a 3x5 card.  She also referenced it to a scripture.  Then she punched a hole in the corner of the card and kept them on a ring in "scripture" order (i.e. Genesis at the beginning and Articles of Faith at the end).  Her stack was a good six inches thick!

I was inspired to do the same, and started my ring of quotes.  However, it became just "one more thing to do" and I didn't keep up with it.  It's still a great idea, and I think I might start adding to it again.  This week I actually even found it where I had stashed it!  (When I was checking a drawer for index cards to make a Family Almanac as a gift for the bridal shower I attended, there it was!)
Mine's not quite as pretty - maybe I'll add a ribbon to the ring! - but it does contain some of my most favorite quotes, and they're all in one place.  It's definitely a wonderful source to go to when a spiritual pick-me-up is needed!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Kathleen B. Hug

Every Sunday Wayne tries to input one family from the book "Descendants of Johannes Hug, Jr." into our genealogy program and the Church's NewFamilySearch website.  Today it was the family of Oscar Albert Hug who is his second cousin once removed on his mother's side.  As we entered the family's information we noticed we were missing a death date for one of them, so we did some sleuthing.  I found here obituary here, which included this lovely picture.  Wayne says she looks like his grandma.  Isn't she beautiful?

And she was so accomplished!  If you have a moment, read her obituary:

Kathleen Beverly Hoffman
1921 - 2011
Kathleen B. Hoffman, age 90 of Hot Springs Village, AR, died Tuesday, December 27, 2011, in Centerview, MO. She was born on Monday, November 28, 1921, in Highland, IL, the daughter of Oscar A. and Katherine M. (nee Nagel) Hug. On Thursday, March 23, 1944, she married Russell D. Hoffman who passed away on November 21, 2011. Kathleen was born and grew up in Highland, graduating from Highland High School in 1940. She attended MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL for 2 years, where she was on the equestrian team. She left college to marry Russell Hoffman. While growing up, Kathleen's parents purchased a horse, Captain Kidd, fulfilling her longtime dream to have a horse. The 2 took part in area horse shows, winning many honors. Kidd could also perform tricks, and Kathleen and her horse performed at county fairs, horse shows, and parades, including the Highland Centennial in 1937. She was a member of the Queen's Court during the Centennial. Kathleen and her husband, an officer in the Navy Air Corps during World War II, lived in Hollister, CA, and Fallon, NV, where the Navy had an air base. She returned to Highland with her husband in March 1946 and lived there until they moved to Hot Springs Village, AR, in 1998. In 1960 Kathleen organized and became the leader of the first 4-H horse club in the state of Illinois, in addition to a mounted drill team that performed at county fairs and the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. She taught her three daughters to ride horses, and they went on to earn national recognition for their abilities. She also raised thoroughbred and American Saddlebred horses for many years. Kathleen worked as an artist for Art Textile Corp., and Highland News Leader where she did ads and page layout work. She was a talented artist, equestrian, dancer, gardener and bridge player. Visitation will be held from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Wednesday, December 28, 2011, at Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland, IL. No service will be held. Interment will be at Highland City Cemetery in Highland, IL. Memorial contributions may be made to Highland Animal Shelter or Alzheimer's Association. 

Note: I think it was neat that she lived in Hollister, California.  That's where I lived when I was in high school!  (although it was long after 1946 so I never would have known her)  And she was living in Hot Springs when we went there for our family vacation.  It's too bad we didn't know we had a relative living there then.

History of New Haven County

I want to be able to find this book again, so I'm posting it here.

The History of New Haven County, Connecticut (Volume 2)
by John L. Rockey

On page 202 it mentions that one of my great-great-great grandfathers was admitted into the Madison Lodge in 1860.  I imagine that I would find reading the history kind of interesting.  Maybe some of you might also.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Alice M. Lewis

The other day I was sitting on the couch watching television with Wayne, and since I really wasn't interested in the movie, I decided to do some web-surfing while keeping him company.  (I feel badly that he likes horror movies and I don't, but I have no desire to change that characteristic. Is that awful of me?)  Anyway, it's always fun to look for names from the family tree, and this time I plugged "Maria A. Lee" into Google, and was surprised to be directed to a blog post I wrote a few years ago: "The Fun that is Family History."

When I checked for the Alice mentioned in my story, I realized that I had never followed through on finding her ten children and adding them to NewFamilySearch.  So guess what kept me occupied while the ogre was terrorizing the town lost in time?
Alice M <i>Lewis</i> Simpson
In fact, just while I was writing this I went back to see if I could fill in a few more blanks, and I found more information.  I had concluded from the 1900 census data that Alice and William had two children that were born and then died before 1900, and I was able to find information for one of them.  Walter George Simpson was born on 4 October 1890 and was buried on 28 March 1892.  Some day in the future, I'm sure we'll find the information for the missing child.  After all, we want the whole family to be complete!

Updated - Baby Willie was found!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fanny Haywood

When we went to the temple this month, I thought it would be nice to prepare a bit in advance and learn what I could about the person I'd be doing the work for. It's always nice to at least start the year out by trying to be better, right?  Anyway, Fanny was the next card and when we found her a couple of years ago, it was as Mrs. Charles C. Dicks, we didn't know her maiden name.  However, that day when I did a search on her name I found them in the 1900 Census:

1900 U.S. Federal Census - Hamden, New Haven, Connecticut (page 73)
Charles Dicks, 62, August 1837, md 17 years, born England, immigrate 1873, 2nd marriage
Fanny Dicks, 43, May 1857, md 17 years, born England, immigrate 1881, 1st marriage, 2-2 children 
Mary E. Dicks, dau, 26, Oct 1873, single, born Conn.
Alfred C. Dicks, son, 4, Sept 1895, single, born Conn.
Earle M. Dicks, grandson, 3, May 1897, born Conn.
Arthur Dicks, grandson, 1, Sept 1898, born Conn.
Elyer Haywood, mother-in-law, 76, June 1824, 1-1 child, widow, born England

Look at that!  Her mother is living with them, so now we know her maiden name.  Just in case I didn't have time to reprint the card, I looked at the one behind it as well.  Elsie Maria Mathews is Fanny's daughter-in-law, who was born in Connecticut in 1885.  I was able to reprint the card, so Fanny's work got done, but I was with some friends and one of them did Elsie's work at the same time.  Going to the temple is always a special experience; taking a family name just makes it more meaningful.  And I was surprised (although I shouldn't have been) that taking some time to prepare and really think about what I was doing and the person for whom I was doing it really made a huge difference in how I felt while I was there.  I need to remember to do that always.
Now it's time to see if we can find more information on Fanny's mother.  Have you ever heard of the given name Elyer?  That's a new one for me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Katharina Reichert

Over the past little while we've had some success doing family history work, and I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle some of the things that we've learned.  Hopefully it will inspire you to give it a try!

Wayne received a phone call from his brother asking if we could have a combined family night to try and help his son find some family names to take to the temple on their next youth baptism trip.  It would have been easier if we lived a bit closer, but thanks to technology we were able to bridge the 1300 miles without traveling!

Since I wanted this to be successful, I decided I should do some advance planning, and I started by staring at our lovely genealogy chart.  

I had to get a bit closer, and I decided to focus on Wayne's Dad's side since we've been working on his Mom's side for the past couple of years.
This is a nine-generation chart, and thanks to the efforts of our aunts and great-aunts, a lot of it has been filled in.  However, I noticed one gap in the 8th generation and that's where I decided to start.  (Yes, the chart is fading and needs to be re-done, but it still works for now.)
The "dead-end" was at Katharina Reichert, Wayne's great-great-great grandmother on the Youkstetter side.  Family records state she was born in Germany in 1796.  I plugged that information into the search field at and found a link showing her marriage to Johann Friedrich Speidel in 1823.  That was exciting!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to whoever indexed the Germany marriage records!  Even more exciting was the fact that her parents were listed:
     bride's father's name:     Gottlieb Friederich Reichert
     bride's mother's name:     Margaretha Barbara Schwab

In addition, I discovered the marriage records for several more of Friedrich's brothers and sisters, with the parents of their spouses listed.  A couple of them were already in NewFamilySearch, but several weren't, and so during our family night that evening, we repeated the search process and our nephew entered the new information while we walked him through the steps.  It was a productive two hours, and he reached his goal of finding family names to take to the temple.  (Okay, so some of them are in-laws of in-laws, but I love all of my in-laws and consider them family.  Besides, we're ALL going to be linked together before this is finished.)

Of course, now we have two new "dead-ends" so the work isn't done yet, but it's so gratifying to feel like we're making progress!