Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Stolee Family in the Dakotas

This week I'm researching the Stolee family once again. I found them a few years ago, when a Stolee daughter married my great-uncle. It turns out that they were quite active in the Lutheran church, producing several pastors. This morning I discovered a birth/christening record that I hadn't known about before, and I wanted to document some of the fascinating information I've uncovered.

First, my records show that a few of Brynhjolf and Anna Stolee's children were born in North Dakota, yet today I discovered they were christened in a church in South Dakota. I thought maybe the two towns were just across the border, but when I plugged Spring Creek, South Dakota, and Emmons County, North Dakota into Google Maps, they were several hundred miles away. That just didn't make sense. After a bit of contemplating, I used Pollock, South Dakota, and discovered that's only about 25 miles from Emmons. Apparently Spring Creek is the name of the church and not the town!

Then I was curious as to what some of the words meant. Fortunately, I found some translation help on the internet. Hjemmedøbt means the child was christened at home.

So, here's the record showing Jakob was the son of Brynhjolf and Anna (the last line).

This is a new child to add to my family group sheet. Next up is to find record of his death, which I suspect is before 1900, because that census shows that Anna gave birth to four children, but only three were living at the time. I'm hoping the church records will help, and I'm copying the Table of Contents so I know at which page to start looking.
We'll see if I have success. Off to start looking!

Update: Still haven't found Jakob's death date, but I did find this wonderful picture which is attached to Michael J. Stolee in Although I these individuals aren't identified, I imagine they're cousins of some sort because Michael is Brynjholf's brother.

Patriarchal Blessings

I flipped through my grandfather's journal the other day and came across a copy of his dad's patriarchal blessing. As I read it, I thought it was pretty neat and had some cool things mentioned. Then I turned the page and read what my grandfather wrote about it. Here's what he had to say:

In the blessing it states that Dad would be called upon a mission to his native land. As Dad was born in Utah, it appears to me that the state of Utah is his native land, even though his parents were born in Denmark and Sweden. At any rate, Dad never filled a mission in the native lands of his parents during his life in mortality.

It also mentioned that Dad's greatest desire would be to work for the dead. One would naturally assume that searching out genealogy and working in the temples for the dead is what is meant. However, Dad never did take the initiative in seeking for the dead, nor did he ever do any temple work for the dead.

A question might be raised as to whether Dad did not take advantage of his opportunities, or if the patriarch became too zealous and promised things which should not have been promised. Then again, were these blessings intended for the time after Dad's departure from this life?

As I think back over the past, it appears to me that these blessings could have been Dad's in this life if he had so desired. As fine and as good a man as he was, he did not put forth any efforts towards accomplishing the work mentioned. This is an example and a lesson for us all. If the blessings and promises given us are to materialize, we must put forth a great deal of effort ourselves so as to bring these things to pass.

Grandfather is so wise. Patriarchal blessings are conditional upon our obedience. We can't just sit around and wait for the blessings and promises to materialize; we need to be actively working towards them. I hope I always remember that lesson!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Motherhood Talks

Mother's Day has just passed. However, I looked up some links to some of my favorite talks on mothers last week, and so I thought I'd put them all in one place to save me time next year! Here they are:

Jeffrey R. Holland: "Because She is A Mother"

Sheri L. Dew: "Are We Not All Mothers?"

Julie B. Beck: "Mothers Who Know"

Ezra Taft Benson: "To the Mothers in Zion"

Douglas L. Callister: "Our Refined Heavenly Home"

Gospel Topics Essays: "Our Mother in Heaven"

This following quote may be about temples, but our homes should be like temples, and that's what I think of - a peaceful, loving refuge - when I think of mothers.

“The moment we step into the house of the Lord, the atmosphere changes from the worldly to the heavenly, where respite from the normal activities of life is found, and where peace of mind and spirit is received. It is a refuge from the ills of life and a protection from the temptations that are contrary to our spiritual well-being.”  Elder David B. Haight

I looked up these talks again because I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting. The "what do I remember about my mother" event that I was drawn to this time was when three of my siblings were sealed to our family. That happened because she yearned to be a mother to more than just those children born to her. It was a beautifully special day, and my mother continues to be a great example to me. I don't have a picture of that particular day, but I did find some to share here - family pictures taken before the first adoption and after the last.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mother's Day Poetry - Part Two

This other poem was written by my mother to her mother-in-law. I loved finding a copy of it and being able to feel her thoughts at that time, and felt that since the tone was quite different than the other poem I found, that it deserved its own post. Mom wrote this while she was expecting her first child (me) and while my grandparents were serving a mission in Australia. Knowing that helps explain some of her thoughts.
Ethel Lillian Martin Beckstrand

To My Other Mom

I wish I were a poetess so that I could share
The joys and fears, and memories that my heart does bear.
I wish I could let you know somehow
The inner feelings that I have now.
But even though I lack these talents of my mother and your son,
I'll do my best to express my love, for it must be done.

Although already a mother on their day twenty-five years ago,
You were made especially happy as we both do know.
For you gave birth to your second son,
A babe who has proved that he was one
Of our Father's special children
Sent to you from Heaven.

As Mother's Day comes this year
I thank you for your work and love and each tear
That was given for him to make him so dear.
Be proud of him and love him still
For he is good and always will
Follow your example and teachings true
So that once again he will live with you.

I thank our parents for our happy start
And pray that we may always do our part
In making your lives happy too
As we successful achievements pursue.

My Father has blessed me more than I deserve I'm sure
For on Mother's Day this time next year
I too will be a mother
To a little son or daughter.

I am looking forward to my homemaking career
And I hope and pray I can only rear
My child as well as you have your son
So that one will say as I to you, "Your job's well done."

If a little girl is sent I'll try to see she's taught
The truth of the gospel and everything she ought
So that she can be more beautiful each day
And grow up to be like Grandmother in every wonderful way.
I hope I can help her love to work and learn the homemaking arts
So that a happy life she'll have when from me she departs.

If a little boy is sent I hope he's like his Dad,
Industrious, good, loving, and with a mom like Daddy had.

I don't know you very well, at the present time,
But I know what a good mom you are, having married one of your kind.
I hope to teach my baby to know and love you too
So that he'll await your homecoming as anxiously as I do.

I think you again for being a mother
To me and the man I loved more than another.
I thank you for willing to be
Grandmother to the child that'll be born to me.

Judith Anne White Beckstrand
28 April 1962

Mother's Day Poetry - Part One

While going through my "mothers" file in preparation for a talk last Sunday, I came across a couple of poems which I thought I'd record here, so that other family members might enjoy them as well. This first one Wayne wrote. It's obviously not about me, because I don't feed dogs for anyone!

My Mother

I love my mother, yes I do.
Through thick and thin, she's always true.
I love my mother; she's the best.
She really puts me to the test.
She makes me do a lot of chores,
But then she fixes me some s'mores.
My mother helps me make my bed,
And when she does, I play instead.
My mother drives me where I want;
She even lets me sit up front.
My dog she feeds; my clothes are washed;
The younger kids are also watched.
Although Dad helps, Mom does the rest.
I love my mother; she's the best.
9 May 2004