14 April 2007
Introduction to Speakers by Don Snow
Main Presentation: Harvey & Susan Easton Black – A New Property Database and Information About Early LDS Members in Nauvoo and Iowa
When you call their home and ask for Dr. Black they ask which one, they both have PhDs. They have been involved in compiling many different collections. Many of you are familiar with the Susan Easton Black Collection a big collection of Early LDS Information. There is a seven volume set of who owned the property in Nauvoo from 1839-1859. They just did a compliation of a Passport to Paradise, The Copenhagen Passenger List, Vol I & II. They have lots of other compliations. Harvey did one when we were in Nauvoo. If you go to the Seventies Hall there you will find Harvey’s collection of all the Seventies. They make a great team, they have done all kinds of databases together. They are going to talk today about a new property database, information about early LDS Members in Nauvoo and Iowa. They will be discussing recent projects that they have done and what is planned. Among other things they have indexed the “Frontier Guardian”, that is a newspaper that the Church printed back in Iowa, when the Mormons were coming across the plains. Lot of genealogical data in it, but most of us hadn’t even heard about it before. They are involved in the Winter Quarters Project at BYU, which has a nice website. There goal was to find out what people died of, sponsored by a medical group. Between the two of them they have authored 20 books and numerous articles. Susan is still teaching at BYU. Harvey is retired from BYU. Susan recieved the Karl G. Maeser Distringuished Facility Lecturer Award in 2000 and the Eliza R. Snow Fellow. She is also the past Associate Dean of General Education and Honors, and Director of the Church History and Religion Studies Center.
Harvey & Susan Easton Black – A New Property Database and Informatio About Early LDS Members in Nauvoo and Iowa – http://winterquarters.byu.edu, http://www.earlylds.com
I am the junior member of the team. I have only been doing this for 20 years. Susan has been involved for 30 plus years. She has lead the way and gotten me excited about it. We we were married I couldn’t help myself I was just swept in with the tide. For all of our married years I have been looking at these early records.
We are focused in our work on the mid-west pioneers. The pioneering years and Deseret. Our work focuses on those people who actually got in covered wagons and went from Pittsburgh to Nauvoo. They travelled around and settled in these about 200 identifiable settlements that were found along the banks of the Missouri as they waited to cross the plains. 90 to 110 of them they will identify from the Frontier Guardian. Around Nauvoo there were about 20 communities. Each one had little branches, records, and they had all kinds of information about the people we know and love. Some of these people were valiant and held in there and did wonderful things for a few years. Then for different reasons, often times the father of the family died, and the rest of the family diaspora. (a jewish term of the scattering) The gathering was to the Utah Valley, the diaspora, the scattering is used by the Community of Christ (RLDS). There communities are all over the mid-west. With interesting name like: Manti, Zodiac, Texas and places like that.
Having to give this talk made me think about my being a great-grandfather. Between Susan and I we have about 50 descendants. As we were thinking about this talk and about all the volumes you heard about I was talking to my daughter, who is the most kind of history orientated, she is actually a newspaper reporter. She is very involved with famly and she loves doing family things. I said, “Susanne, have you ever looked at any of these things we have done.” That is a humbling type of question to ask. She said, “Well Dad, No, isn’t it all done. I don’t really need to look at that stuff do I?” I said, “Susanne, we know we have just spent our life blood, we worked day and night, every time you don’t see me or Susan we are at the computer digging out this stuff.” She asked if some of our people were in there? I told her hardly any of them. Our people were in the last wagon, they were the people nobody paid attention too. They were the people that didn’t get on the branch lists. They were the people in the 1850 census in Pottawattamie that are not there. We both parted company, both of us feeling a little worse. I wondering how on earth do I do something that a great grandson Josh, that just became a deacon, turn his heart to his ancestors? Me as one of them, but in particular the hearts of the children to their fathers, the fathers I was thinking of was those people that were the spiritual lineage for his Aaronic priesthood. The other kind of fathers, the genetic fathers, the ones we usually think of as we trace our families. I think he knows my name but there are at least four other generations back before he gets to the fathers of the faith in this restoration. Does he know George Black, does he know anything about him, how could he? I’ve been doing this for 20 years, this is a challenge for me and you to turn our children’s hearts.
We are working in that direction, to get these records so people don’t have to spend a year back in the land records office in Nauvoo, trying to sort out from dusty piles of records, was he involved in any way any of the things that were happening there? Why should this person have stuck with it when his neighbor was Lyman Wright and took off for Texas and established this Zodiac place. He had all kinds of strange neighbors that took off and created new versions of Mormonism all over the mid-west.
Susan and I have focused on Nauvoo and Council Bluffs. Kirtland is in progress and some of you know this and that the records are being perfected there. They even have a yearly event when people in the community that are descendants of the first members of the Church in Kirtland are invited there. Most of them know nothing about the Church.
Down in Far West they have some of our friends, mostly friends and groups that did not follow Brigham. I hate to call them apostates because they are our brethren, they are mormons in their own way and they are part of the family. I don’t know how your family is but of my 60 descendants some of them are friends to mormonism, they are not exactly 100 percent mormons. That is part of our challenge isn’t it, to get all of our family together.
Finally we get to Nauvoo, and that is where we have been spending the last 20 years. In Nauvoo we are trying and Susan has lead the way. For years and years and years nothing was known really about the early membership in the Church. There was no basic keeping of the records as we have been admonished to do. Susan reconstructed and worked on that. I came along and discovered that the place they asked me to be as a missionary, the Seventies Hall, we had an old purple hectograph copy of a list of names of people that were supposedly Seventies in Nauvoo. By the time I spent 2 or 3 more years on it we discovered that there was 35 quorums. That there were indeed lists some of which Milt and others by blood, sweat and tears dug out of the Church historians office. We reconstructed who they were and discovered that basically every body in Nauvoo, every man from age 18 to 45, also the age to serve military service in the militia, were seventies. They are on one of these lists. Anyone that has worked on lists like that knows it takes a lot of work to try to figure out what that name was. Its spelled way different from the way the person usually spelled it. We tried to found out when they were born, when they died, what happened to them, their family, did they stay with the Church. Did they go to the Nauvoo Legion, did they go to the temple. That is one of these books.
All this work, we created this collection or book and we were thrilled with it. A couple of years went by and we went back to Nauvoo and just checking on our offspring – the box. We asked were are those records? About three generations of people in the land records office had transpired since then, they said we think we put that in the vault were we keep things we don’t to lose and we don’t want to get messed up. That is where it is. Our dream was to have these records available so everybody, so my little grandson Josh, can someday turn his heart to these people. Not to be kept in a big vault. So at that point we started doing our little part of it. Luckily we found people like Don and Diane Snow. Today my grandson can go on his computer and find www.earlylds.com and find this record. He can find the land record description, the parents, the children. He can find everything that is in the land records office.
I was a little paranoid we know how quickly records can disappear, and get lost and forgotten. Susan insisted that it be published, so we got it on hard copy. She feels like it never happens until its on hard copy. We got it onto another website, some of it is on the http://winterquarters.byu.edu/. These are the people that got all the way up to that Missouri frontier. So it is on at least two websites. It’s rapidly becoming much more enriched. I sure Don and Diane Snow have shared with you the incredible amount of work it has taken to make this website. A beautiful and usable and valuable tool in trying to discover who were our Nauvoo ancestors.
Susan Easton Black
How it started for me. By the time I had come to BYU I had already done a family book. Which mean that when I was a young child my parents paid for piano lessons but it didn’t take. My parents paid for dancing, it didn’t take. What I really liked was books. I convinced my business father to literally pay for my sending for certificates to try and prove who my own ancestors were. In some cases I got back, on my Benyon line others had done a lot of work and was back to the 12th century. I wanted to verify that with pictures and testimonies. By the time I was coming to BYU I knew I had been promised in a patriarchal blessing that I would have great joy in genealogy. I had concluded by the time I was in my 20’s that my great joy had passed in life. I had wondered what would joy be like, because now I had already found the best part.
Very fortunate for me I had an opportunite in 1981 to move from the department in which I was in in the academic field at BYU to also an academic field, religious education. When I moved into our religious education area there were just incredible professors in Church history. Each professor it seemed to me had been assigned some area of the United States were the latter-day saints had lived, to focus their career on. A personal favorite Milt Backman had Kirtland. He and Keith Perkins were working in that area. Larry Porter he had New York. Don Kanis seemed pretty interested in Vermont. LeMar Barrett, Missouri. Everybody had kind of carved out what they were hoping to do research and had done wonderful things in it. So the question was what would I do. You know when you are the only women everybody is pretty sure you take notes.
I kind of struggled for a little while. I don’t know what I would of done if I didn’t have such a great friend as Milt Backman.
So then there came a time in 1981, just as I am coming in, I had only been in for a few months. There was an invitation that went out to all people interested in Church history from the pros like Leonard Errington and others down to people like me that were just starting to put my toes in the water. The invitation was to come to the church history office and was issued by Earl Olsen. Some of you may remember him. The purpose of it wasn’t told to at least me. When we arrived there we were told that many people were coming to the family history area and they wanted to know about their ancestors. Their ancestors wasn’t Parley P. Pratt, or it wasn’t Joseph Smith, or it wasn’t Brigham Young. That people in the know of church history could talk about forever. It was kind of the Joe Blows, the people like me. Earl wanted to know if anyone had seen the membership list. We several spoke up and said they had seen a branch list here, something else there, and something else here. It all sounded really wonderful but it had never been pulled together. So then the question was, who would like to pull it together. This Brother Olsen he was so serious about it that he invited people to one stand up tell who they were and if they would be interested in pulling it together. As I recall I was the only woman in the room and I had worn pink, if you want to stand out that will do it. I was sitting in the back row and someone said they liked my perfume and someone else asked if was there to take notes, so I was kind of the last seat like some of you in the back. Anyway people would stand up and then say their name and most everyone seemed to know somebody. After they said their name then they would talk about what wonderful things they were doing and they would be happy to open up their files to somebody that would like to pull it together.
Everybody kind of passed the buck a little bit and finally I am sitting in the back, I remember growing up in a home where talking about pioneers was almost like you had stepped on holy ground. My grandmother, I love these pioneers, she would tell me stories even of mine own ancestors and their sacrifice, and their struggles. The one I remember the most was of her telling me of a young girl names Sarah Ann, who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley wearing gunny sacks on her feet. She would say would you do that and I would say “Heavens no what if somebody saw me!” Then she would say oh there is such a difference between you and your great-grandmother Sarah Ann, she had faith and you don’t.
With a multitude of stories like that as everyone said no, when it came my turn to say who I was, well I said I would do it. I’ve learned in life that you don’t be a quitter when times get tough. Actually that’s when you get up and you start moving it. You know my younger brother a few weeks ago introduced me as a speaker down in New Port. He said, You know I didn’t really think she was bright when she grew up, I’’m actually not really bright I am just have an ability to hang in there and to not give up.
We are now going to talk to you about some of things we pulled together. The first thing was a book about my ancestors. I am forever grateful for my father he put up $5,000, when $5,000 was $5,000 bucks. I said “Dad, there is a reason you are in business because you are going to help me with this mania.”
The first series was a compililation of 50 books, 48,000 pages and it is called “Memberships of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830 to 1848. Now at the time that I started this there were not computers. There were the archives way back so for 10 years every Friday I went to the archives to gather what information I could. You will notice if you have used it that there are secondary sources, some are primary sources, I’m just learning how to do it. You know you have to cut your teeth on something. I wish it wasn’t my biggest project because then it would of been better. You have to begin somewhere.
The impact of it was absolutely a huge experience. Nothing better than in the process I was on volume S when I found Harvey. Maybe it’s because Joseph Smith was saying she needs help. When I started dating Harvey I was kind of like, ok, here’s a nother one. Then I asked him about himself and he said he was president of his family history organization for his family. Suddenly I found myself going from one end of the couch to the other. I just didn’t know there was a man out there single like that. So it’s been a real happy life.
What can you find in the Memberships? People that joined the Church and knew the prophet Josesph Smith. In this process it was a great blessing, it was before the time that you were told that you only submit work for your own ancestors. Getting wind of it George Durrant, a great man head of the genealogical part, one time I had an office next to George. I just loved it because every day when I would see George and say “How you doing George?” He would go, my best day yet! One day I called him up and told him I found all these people but what is the chances that they joined the Church say 1830 in Palmyra and they lived long enough to seal themselves to their parents in 1877 in Salt Lake? We talked about it and he then gave permission for religious education to go as a facility at BYU to make sure that all their temple work was done. Of all the ones I did that one had the biggest impact in my life, one I found Harvey in the mist of the process, and two, I now have thousands and thousands of friends in the next life. So when the Lord starts say to me, Hey you really messed up, I can go whistle and tell them I need their help. I am hoping that they will rise up.
I realized in the process, as Harvey has indicated, we can now look at our own family and say that not everybody related to us was at church last week. Perhaps you can say the same thing, I hope you cannot. If I was to say the greatest sarrow in life thats it. But I decided to say, ok, I love the people too that don’t always stay faithful and where did they go? The impact was a seven volume set called “Early Members of the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. It was so interesting to found out how these people literally made the decision to leave the Church. So many of them left Nauvoo, but actually stopped in Iowa. Part of it was that they heard were Brigham Young ended up, it wasn’t the green pastures of Oregon, Vancouver, or California, you know there is gold in them there hills, it was out in the desert but by a great salt lake. Have you ever seen Iowa, everything grows in Iowa. They had large tracks of land and they chose to stay. So if you are looking for some of your ancestors in the mid-west and wonder where they ended up that might be a place you might like to look.
The list goes on and on it’s pretty crazy actually. I wanted to speak about some people have said to me, as the years came and went. Some will say I know you found my ancestors, but most instead of saying thank you will say, I want to correct something on page 76 in volume 26. There is no way I am going back, by the time it hit computer it was DOS. At least you have something. I know everyone likes to correct now what everyone thinks is the pro, but I good with it. People began to ask what about the people that came before them? In other words we can name Joe Blow but what about his father and his children, what about his ancestors? By this point Harvey is hooked we did something called “Anotated Records, Baptims for the Dead and Nauvoo. I had been saying to people “You know I actually do know how you can find their fathers and their grandfathers and so forth.” These people were kind of like the people in Hawaii, they actually knew the names of their parents, and their grandparents, and their great-grandparents. I would always say “The secret is in the River.”
The people in Nauvoo spent so much time doing baptisms for the dead. It was not an unsual day to have Joseph Smith out in the river, and people lined on the banks of the river to go in to do the baptism work for those who had gone before. Then a hundred yards from him, here’s Parley P. Pratt, and a hundred yards from him, Wilford Woodruff, and people lined up. What you will find in this baptismal book is that Emma Smith went into the river and she did the baptismal work for her father Isaac Hale and for her mother Elizabeth Hale. You will also find where you can see a redundancy in baptismal work. Have you ever wondered who is the first man that had his baptism work done again and again and again? Where did it begin? The answer is it began in the Mississippi River. Who’s the man that had his work done so many times, and the answer is George Washington. The people would call him, their friend George Washington, even though it’s not the same time period. You are going to find one man actually knew back 32 generations. He says he is doing the work for his great-grandfather, now his great-great-grandfather and he actually knew that. If you have pioneer ancestry that goes back to Nauvoo you will definetly want to check on that.
A new set, with seven volumes, called Property Transactions in Nauvoo. If you where to say, why would I do that. Some of you have been to Nauvoo, I think there is salvation without seeing Nauvoo, but maybe not. In other words I really like Nauvoo. In the Lands and Records office a lot of people go there and they just can’t wait to find out where their ancestors lived. As you go into that office you get those great missionaries and they’ve got these little squares as the town was plotted out. Suddenly they mark square 152 and you go to stand on that site only to find that another person is standing on the site, and another person is on the same site, and they are all saying my ancestors name was this but their names are all different.
I concluded there was a great woman named Wowena Miller who was the secretary to this Nauvoo Restoration Inc. She had done some beginning work on like 3x5 cards. She had gone through and identified much of that property tranactions. She didn’t have a computer, she was doing a lot by hand and then she would come back and type them on these cards, obviously with some errors. Since I was better since my first 50 volumes. Harvey and I are at Carthage Court House, our lives pass before us as we mention now Carthage Court House. The result is you can in these volumes and it is now searchable, but now literally trace your ancestor who lived here first at a starter home in Nauvoo, then they lived here, and their farm was out here, and they had investment property.
You can literally with these books look at your favorite date, one you will remember like the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, June 27, 1844, with these books in searching them you could develop the town. You would know exactly where everybody lived, what property they owned when Joseph died. If you favorite date in May 4, 1842 the first day the endowment is given in this dispensation, you could put everybody where they lived. They would say oh that’s Joseph property, oh that’s just a part. Wait till you see in here. Some of you might be interested that when you look into these property books you will able to say, here’s my ancestor, but when they left Nauvoo did they sell their property, was it sold in a sherriff sale, or did they give it to Emma Smith, because they knew she was remaining behind, did they give it to Emma Smith in memory of Joseph for $1.00. Wouldn’t you be interested to know that? Wouldn’t you be interested in the buy and sell? That would be in these books.
When I was trying to persuade Susan to be interested, May 4th was our day. She said everything of important in our family happens on a church history day. So I asked her to marry me on Valentines it wasn’t until May 4th she said now I can answer. She said because this is Elijah day when all these important things happened. She told me since you are older than me I don’t want to be left alone, you have to out live me. So I am buy books like “Healthy at 100”. My favorite icon is Moses and I have pictures of him in my office. Guess what age Moses was when he was called on his ministry? He was 80 when he was called. I just turned 80, and he spent the next 40 years writting. He lead the children of Israel and did all kinds of wonderful things.
Susan is talking about all these things that are blessing the lives of research people. People that are already addicted. People that come in volunteerly to your family history center. Nobody has to push them in the door. They already love this stuff. But what about little Josh, I mentioned earlier. Maybe he would love it if he knew about it or knew anything at all. What if somebody told him you now have the Aaronic Priesthood and somebody on your priesthood lineage was named Martin Harris. Anyone here that has any priesthood ordinance done we trace our line directly back to Martin Harris. What an amazing semi-crazy person he was most of his life. He belonged to all kinds of different groups. The Parrish Group 1837, that tried to kill Brigham Young. The Strang Group 1844, he was killed on Beaver Island after he had been crowned. Joseph Smith’s surviving family followed him for a while. The Whitmer Group 1847, David Whitmer who was his fellow testifier of the Book of Mormon, he went to Richmond and got involved with them. Gladden Bishop, 1851, who we hardly ever hear of, but he had a little group. Martin Harris, why should my little grandchild care about Martin Harris? He is on his line of authority. He has got to turn his heart to this person. Quess what my wife is doing right now? She is writting a great book on Martin Harris so that maybe his heart sometime someday will turn. To this man that went through all kinds of interesting things, who was a very human being, but was a great chosen soul in the kingdom and did very key important things. Turning Josh’s heart to his spiritual fathers, one of the many reasons why you and I and all of us are engaged in this work.
Harvey Black is creating a historical fiction about George Black. Will that “turn heart of Josh” to first baptized genetic “father”? George Black came from Ireland to Nauvoo and lived on the outskirts of town on the Skunk River. He helped to build the one and only ship in Nauvoo the Maid of Iowa. He was in the Nauvoo temple and Brigham Young was his mission president when he was there. He dearly loved the prophet and was asked on one occasion to row the prophet to safety because the mob was closing in. He saved money and bought a little lot on Mulhullen. They had the perfect spot to be on the front line of the Battle of Nauvoo. How do we turn the hearts of the children with their fathers. Maybe if I could sit down with little Josh and talk to him about this person who he has no idea who he is maybe he would start feeling something that he doesn’t feel now.
There was a person in my life by the name of Louie Smith, I grew up in Wyoming. In Wyoming we had kind of creative programs in the Church. I was about Josh’s age, 12, and Louie Smith didn’t have any children but something he loved family. He loved genealogy. He wanted to get all of us young kids excited about it. We had these Books of Rememberances. We just thought those were the most wonderful things we ever heard about. Especially because Louie was so excited about it. So he got us writing little journal things, writing little family histories. I wrote to a great uncle down to the Manti temple who had some family records. My heart, something happened. I didn’t continue for the next about 60 years until I met Susan, but the spark was there, and the excitement was there. My heart somehow because of Louie was turned. Maybe somebody could do something like my project for Josh. We are trying to work somewhat with World Vital Records. They are trying to combine maps with genealogical data. It is really fun for me, I don’t know if you are a map person, to kind of see where the thing is.
I have another little grandson that comes over and what he wants to do is get on the computer. He would rather do that then play blocks or read books or play ping pong. When I was trying to work on the computer he wanted me to get off so he could play. One of the fun things he has is a little simulation, and he loves that, it is a pioneer village. I thought that is great if we were to simulate his ancestors we could add somethings that would grab the younger generation and get them involved in what is exciting about what happened 100 or 500 years ago. There is a a whole list of things and the Church is doing somethings to make it so much more accessible, more fun, more options, pictures, biographies, we can submit things and make all these sites a lot more exciting then they already are. We can help with the conversion and light the fire.
You are dealing mostly with people that are converted to doing genealogy. The people in St. George come into the family history centers and need help, but they are already converted. I’m talking about my 60 descendants who aren’t converted. Maybe somehow some of us can be inventive and creative and come up with ways.
What Susan and I have been mostly working with is how do they find it? It used to be not to long ago, at least in my life spand, you would have to spend weeks, months, years trying to search out these records. Our collection of works in these boxes is some of the foot work so you can find it more readily. You can get a little more information than you might of otherwise got.
Great and noble souls like Don and Diane Snow have made a huge investment in time and energy, and a lot of time money, many times at their own expense, created the www.earlylds.com website out of Nauvoo. I don’t know where they get the money to keep it going. Some how somebody lends them a little this and somebody lends them a little of that, and they spend day and night and make these things beautiful.
Is hard copy so important? There is something about great about books. Electronic copy are awesome you can do random search. With Susan’s volumes you can do random searches with a little CD that is available through Ancestry. (LDS Vital Records Library) The excitment for me is the internet.
Susan and I have both spent time in Latin America. Our hearts go out to those people that now form more than half the membership of the Church. How are any of them ever going to get to these records? They aren’t, unless they go down to the family history center in their little ward in Chile and get on the internet and find Martin Harris, who is there spirital ancestor. Those of you that have spent time working with those in Latin America know why I feel a very special love and special concern. Of all these volumes that we have been talking about not one of them is in spanish. Not one of them is in Portuguese. Half the membership of the Church can’t read one word of any of this. Yet these people are their spiritual ancestors too.
The Assisted Conversion
Grandparents: Search FUN
e.g. Virtual neighbors [Nauvoo land records]
e.g. Find Nauvoo family [all Nauvoo databases] earlylds.com
Parents: Stories FUN
e.g. Daughters of the Utah Pioneers files for over 100,000 pioneers
Kids: Games FUN
To be created e.g. simulated pioneering
I am convinced to do something. Maybe some of you here are talented or gifted in this area. We can do things that will grab the people who are not here today and get them involved and interested. One of the things we are trying to do, a long term project, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers files. If you had the time and the resources and not afraid of the traffic, you could go up there by the state capital and if you are a descendant of one of those folks you can look at that file that is in the DUP office and you can find all kinds of exciting things. All the way from pictures to obituaries, little histories. WPA projects.
Back in the 1930s people went around and collected stories of the pioneers and put them in these folders. I think Josh might get interested in that. He might like to see the little historical on them. He might not get very excited about the born, died, mother and father part, but he might really get excited about the little story that is there. How is he going to get into the DUP file? We are hoping that it is going to be scanned. At least they are motivated to do that, because they had someone break in there recently and take some of their early copies of the Book of Mormon. They realize how vulnerable those files are. That a fire or any kind of damage those files would be gone forever. So they are going to be scanned.
What is the next step? People have to give permission it’s a long term project. But maybe it would be made available, it could be searchable, it could be available on a website. How can they make money? They just make the few pennies that they need to keep that place going by xeroxing and charging you .15 cents a page. They could do the website thing by allowing a few advertisers to appear on the same page and they could get some money for every access to the page. Then the sweet ladies that are up there instead of xeroxing they could be doing archival things and saving the stuff and making it available for years to come.
Here is some of the stuff we have been working on:
1. Branch/Ward rosters
-Greater Nauvoo [-20 units]
@Greater Winter Quarters [-50 units]
3. Quorums and Relief Society
@Seventy [35 units]
#Nauvoo Relief Society
4. Emigrant – Wagon train
#Mormon Overland Rosters
-Times and Seasons
- Neighbor, Wasp
2. Land Records
3. Military militia
4. Government Petitions
5. Immigrant –Ship lists
1. Family Group sheets
2. Family Histories
The items in bold we have worked on. Everyone of them Susan has used as a source for her 50 volumes plus works. Some other folks have done some exciting things. The Nauvoo Relief Society is searchable online about several hundred of the first members of the Relief Society. The Immigration list you can find that online. Some of it is in her book on Scandinavian saints. Times and Seasons is on the Nauvoo Databank. It is in the local area at larger family history centers. Some of it is on www.earlylds.com. Some of these records are getting in some of it is in process of still being created.
Susan Easton Black
The Frontier Guardian is a major project. You realize for Harvey and me, Nauvoo has been everything. I actually had someone that viewed it say to me “You know Susan, I think most of the Church thinks that the saints were in Nauvoo and the next season they were out in Utah.” Everybody forgets Iowa. With that I got a little bit of an assignment to see what we could do to discover what is up with Iowa.
So you realize that Brigham Young, 1847, he is coming into the Salt Lake Valley. But he is sending word back to the people, well even he does come back himself to the people in Iowa. He is saying hold up in other words we’ve gone out to a desert, we’ve got thistles, sago lillies, but we need to be able to get food to feed the thousands of people that would come. The result was, we literally had a presence longer in Iowa than we had a presence in Kirtland, in Missouri, an Illinois. What kept Iowa together was were you keep informed. Who’s to head out now, what should you plant, what do you need for your wagon. They literally set up, we now identified a hundred and two little communties. You realize they are all farmers. So they can’t crowd in together. So they go up and down the Missouri River and then heading along what we call today Highway 2.
So they established a newspaper. The leader of the newspaper was Orsen Hyde, 1849. He owns that newspaper until 1852. In this newspaper it lists literally thousands and thousands of names. It lists ever emigrant train that is on it’s way to California, to Oregon. This Council Bluffs becomes a pretty much a trail head. It’s been very exciting to find out about this. Soon BYU studies will publish a DVD of this Frontier Guardian. It will be annotated, were it will tell you something about the people, about the places.
In addition we have got a website out there. It’s called Winter Quarters at http://winterquarters.byu.edu/. If you ancestors say died in Winter Quarters you can go right to the person, you can learn about the disease that took their life, you can also find where they are buried and at which plot at Winter Quarters. In addition it has a map that shows you all of these many, many communities and has a little dot by its name. Say you want to know where you ancestor stayed after they left Nauvoo, because actually they didn’t end up west in 1847. You could punch on a little dot that says Harrisburg, Iowa or the Bluffs and any of these other of names of communties and suddenly it would come up with a description of the community. The original founders, what were the stores in town, what were the illnesses that took lives, and then would also then list ancestry.
We’re trying to make a bigger deal about Iowa. If you were to still say is it fun? Not this morning. I would say most days it is still fun. It’s odd for me when I’m in the middle of a project you can just hardly talk about it. When it’s over and you give yourself a break and you get in touch with people again then all of a sudden you go hey that was really great, what’s next.
The latest book that has come out that is a genealogical resource is called Legacy of Sacrific, the Missionaries to Scandinavian from 1872 to 1894. If you have Scandinavian ancestry its the one to go with the one that shows the 14,000 people that crossed on a boat from Copenhagen to Hull, England. These are the missionaries that were their shepards or guides.
For Harvey and I we actually like being in the trenches. We actually love research. It’s crazy that we can actually find each other. I just can’t tell you how many people don’t like it, including family members as he has revealed. We’ve like it. There is an old saying “What should you do before you die?” There are three things that will cause you to be remembered. One is you plant a tree, so we are always planting trees, I think you can still see the house but I don’t know, we just got another tree the other day. We like trees. The other thing is the birth a child. It’s sounds like we’ve done more than our share. The other one is to write a book. We have tried to do all three in our lives we hope we are not just reduced to books. There still is something out there for us.
We hope that these books will be of benefit to you as you help others. I think Harvey is very strong on we’ve got to figure out a way to really capture the hearts of people. Not just us, we’ve already have our heart into it. It’s our prayer that perhaps you’ll think of a way. We’ve thought and thought and we can tell the story just how do you grab someone else with it. Think for us, that is our latest thought.
You realize you are much loved, if you were to say to me has your patriachial blessing come true? Has great joy extended beyond what I did as a child for my own ancestors? I’ve had incredible joy in this life. If you were to say, have I missed some sunsets and sunrises? I think I have been up for every sunrise, but actually a lot of sunsets the beauty I’ve missed. I love Utah we just need an ocean here. Then it would be perfect. There are all kinds of things I think you miss when you become book people. But, there is something really sacred, something really wonderful about uncovering somebody that lived in the past that would of been forgotten. So that part has brought incredible joy.
We thank you for who you are. I especially thank the Snows for asking us. You know they are about to leave on a mission. Going to England to continue to spread the good word. Their whole lives they have both been professors and they have been people that love people, living and dead. They have done much to assist us in getting out from where we live this information to the world. I am very grateful, thank you.
Accessibility of their volumes
They mostly write for libraries. You can contact the Religious Studies Center at BYU. Property transactions are at the Church History Dept at BYU, also on World Vital Records. The Annotated Baptismal Records is throught the Genealogical Center at BYU. All of these books you can get at BYU, some on WorldVitalRecords.com and some on the Family History Suite CD put out by Ancestry.com years ago. Don still sees them at the DI for $2.00. Ancestry.com gave the CDs out years ago for free. You can call Ancestry and unlock them. The Family History Library in Salt Lake also has them available on hard copy.
This presentation is available on DVDs #112 for UVPAFUG members to borrow or purchase.