Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Utah, We Love Thee" (Whatever You Mean)

Look it up. Nobody can explain the origin of the name "Utah." We think it comes from a Native American word but there are all kinds of theories. It could be Navajo or some variation of Ute or Paiute or Shoshone language. It may even be a Spanish term.

My quandary began when I was working through ancestry.com on some relatives I thought I knew pretty well. There is always something more to learn.

Wood Family Cemetery on a rainy Memorial Day

My Mother Was a DJ!

[Previously posted on Keepapitchinin.org]

My family has done pretty well saving old items of personal history. Bless my dear paternal grandmother who saved every letter she ever received and in her later years, returned them to the senders! Going through this and other material transcribing letters digitally into family history records, I found the most amazing thing. A card from 1955 with my mother's name on it:

Wright Pioneers!

[from my other blog 24 July 2014 - Pioneer Day (in Utah)]

So, I got an email message from Family Search listing all my Mormon Pioneer ancestors. There was one name there I'd never known. And I couldn't match her up with anyone in my line. The system may not yet be foolproof. There's no internet infallibility in our church (or any other IT system I've ever heard of).

Yet I was surprised because I really thought my Mom had told me that our Wright Family of Coalville, Utah, were not Pioneers, but had come on the train. But there was Thomas Wright (1830-1909) on the list! His wife Annie Dale Wright (1842-1911) appears in the same Daniel D. McArthur Company, 1868.

Whatever my Mom told me it was at least half right because 1868 was the year before the transcontinental railroad was completed. In 1868, the Mormons heading for Zion rode the train to the then end of the line at Benton, Wyoming, eleven miles east of Rawlins. They didn't have to walk so far but it was still far enough across the most challenging parts of Southwestern Wyoming. Here's the report of their trip from the Pioneer Overland Travel Database:

My Wife and I Are 10th Cousins!

[From my "other" blog 14 Sept. 2014]

The Relative Finder program developed by the BYU Family History people has given me a lot of great connections. It works for anyone who uses Family Search including many non-LDS people. Our good bishop set up a group to allow us to see our relationship to any person in our ward. Everybody is connected somehow with fewer degrees of separation than one might think. This does not directly lead to family names for Temple work, but it does cause a lot of excitement with fun and interesting connections made.

So it turns out that my wife and I are tenth cousins! The program puts it out in this format:

Matthew Bristow Wheelwright and the Golden Spike

Maybe he was there, maybe he wasn't, but he has not been officially identified in the famous picture:
The Golden Spike
It's been a life-long desire of mine to get out to the Golden Spike National Historic Site and I finally did. The problem is that it's not on the way to anywhere, except the Spiral Jetty, which is where the Utah Science Teachers were having an outing. My daughter invited me to go along with her family. And it was fun.
Two of my Grandsons with the Jupiter and the 119 at Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory Pass, Utah

Cherokee Nation Will Return

[From my "other" blog]

Clicking away to firm up my ancestry.com family tree, I came across a picture I hadn't seen before.

That is my 3rd Great Grandmother, Peninah Shropshire Cotten Wood (1827-1879). She was the mother of George C. Wood (1864-1923), and the grandmother of Addie May Wood (1880-1909). My mom has long taken pride in a claim to Native-American ancestry. Not wanting to judge by someone's looks as in the picture above, I can't help but think my mom is probably right.

Scouting Adventures on the Mormon Pioneer Trail

My daughter (the rescue party) at Echo, Utah on the Mormon Trail
Now it’s a total of three adventures I’ve taken unexpectedly from the East Fork of the Bear. The first was a few years back when I was up here with some Varsity (14-15 year old) Scouts. One kid, whose mother always fed him nutritiously at home, tended to gorge on forbidden items when out with the Scouts. Hot dogs and marshmallows aren’t so great coming back at 3 o’clock in the morning.

My own boy who was the Varsity Team Captain came to wake me in my tent. He told me that the guy had gotten sick and he took care of it the best he could. It was bitter cold that year, certainly below freezing because water was. My boy’s strategy of taking care of the other boy who woke up and said he was sick, was to advise him to puke into his sleeping bag. Not a bad strategy all things considered, especially considering the plan to keep using that tent along with the other boys not wanting to be puked on.

My Inner-Child Helps my Aunt Solve a Family History Issue

[from my "other" blog 4 June 2012]

There he is, that little guy! It's great to be the oldest grandchild at least on my Dad's side of the family. Christmas 1958 was apparently a major extravaganza that way.

I scanned this one at fairly high resolution mainly so I could see all my haul of toys (I remember the horse and the jack-in-the-box). Then I sent it to my Aunt with a couple of other photos not knowing it would solve a frustrating family history problem for her.