Thursday, July 16, 2009
My experience so far in learning about my ancestors and the need for family history has been amazing. I have a teacher who is super passionate about it, so it makes learning a little more fun.
I've included some posts about some of my ancestors and some posts that were previously published on my other blog, that I felt pertained to family and ancestors.
Please feel free to comment and share your own stories about your forays into the world of genealogy, we learn by sharing with one another.
John Menzies MacFarlane was born in 1833 in
Upon arrival in
MacFarlane and Charles L. Walker, another well-respected composer, initially tried writing “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains” together with
Despite the beautiful lyrics that Charles L. Walker had written, MacFarlane was having a very difficult time finding the right music for the song (Larson 482).
He prayed and prayed and waited and wrote and wrote trying to find the perfect tune for this song. It wasn’t until the night after an unsuccessful day of writing, while MacFarlane and his wife, Ann, were asleep, that he woke up with the workings of a song on his mind. Revelation had finally come. He got up to write it down and his wife asked him what he was doing, he replied that the song had come to him and that he needed to record it. Ann, wanting to go back to sleep, tried to persuade him to come back to bed and write the song down in the morning, but he would not be deterred . So she too got up to help MacFarlane write down his song by holding up the light so he could see. In Andrew Larson’s book I Was Called to Dixie, it says of Ann,
She stood at his shoulder, holding the...light, first in one hand, then in the other, supporting with one hand and arm the other arm which held the primitive candle, her elbow supported by her hand until fatigue compelled her to shift the burden to the other limb (483).
In this matter they did continue for several hours, into the early morning, until the roosters crowed and the song was completed.
Macfarlane, “…played over the accompaniment, at first with extreme care, listening for any concealed awkwardness or flaw in the music. It satisfied him” (Larson 484). Upon completion he realized that little of what Charles L. Walker’s had written was left in the song. Despite this, MacFarlane felt that his friend should receive some of the credit for the piece. After hearing the song, Walker told him, “ that he could not, in honesty, claim any part of the song…he could not feel right about taking any of the credit for the song which was so clearly the work of one individual”(Larson 484).
The song was a success and it is rare these days to see a Christmas program where this song is not played. Its themes are universal, and not just Latter-Day Saint. Because of John Menzies MacFarlane’s exercise of faith in the Lord and turning to him in prayer, he was able to receive revelation to write a song that is beloved my many people throughout the world.
Larson, Andrew K. I Was Called to
Parhsnall, Ardis E. "John Menzies Macfarlane: Far, Far Away and Not So Long Ago." Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog. 14 Dec. 2008. 01 Apr. 2009
Anna Kirstina was just 16 years old when she heard the missionaries preaching the Gospel on the street corner of her
She could not, and continued to sneak out and listen to the words of the Gospel. The Book of Mormon and the plan of salvation described therein touched her heart. Eventually she was baptized. Anna had long, dark, thick hair that she wore in a braid, it was still wet when she returned home. Her father noticed her damp hair and demanded to know how it had gotten that way. Anna was forced to admit that she had disobeyed him and had indeed been baptized. Her father threw her out of the house with just what she had on, she was forbidden to have any contact with her family.
Because her father was a wealthy and prominent member of the town, everywhere she went to work no one would hire her. He had told them not to. She finally found work as a house maid for one of the other Mormon families in the area. Eventually she saved enough money to buy material and started making her own underwear and clothes.
In her journal she wrote about, walking down the street with four of the children from the family she worked for when she saw her mother straight ahead. She mentions the great joy she felt at seeing her. Anna, said “Oh, Mamma!’ and was crushed when her mother ignored her and just kept walking.
Soon all the Mormons in her town were leaving to make the journey to
Her life was never easy; her husband’s first wife continued to hate her and even blamed Anna for the accidental death of one of the children. She was married to a man almost thirty years her senior. She literally sacrificed everything she had in the world to have the Gospel in her life. Despite her hard life, she was always happy, with a smile on her face. Anna was very much in love with the Gospel and was incredibly grateful to have found it, that sentiment influenced her outlook on life.
When she was ninety six years old, with all her grandkids gathered around her she would tell the story of her baptisms and say that it was worth every sacrifice to have the Gospel in her life.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I am taking a family history class this semester, and today we learned about doing research on our ancestors. So I typed in a few names and got a couple of hits. I found 2 really cool things though. They're not hard to find, and I'm sure many in my family have seen or already know this stuff but I thought it was crazy!!
Any who, I looked up Oris R Wallwork, my great-grandfather and there he was on a census record! Along with his brother and sister-in-law. It's so cool to see his name in print!
It also gives you the occupation and various other details. Referring back to the title of this post, sweets have always been a big thing in my family. We love chocolate, pie, cake, ice cream, cookies and especially carmel corn. Seriously though, my family is famous for its treats. I don't know if my love for sugar is bigger than the next guy, but sweetness is one of my favorite tastes.
It turns out, that right there in print, nestled between the unemployed and a book keeper is Oris. As a sugar boiler. We literally have sugar in our blood! How insane is that!? I love it! I'm finding out the craziest stuff about my heritage in this class and I'm loving it!
My 2nd cool find is the World War 1 draft card registration from my great-grandfather on my mom's side. Nephi Spendlove Workman registered for the draft at age 21. He had blue eyes and brown hair. He worked for his father, Nephi Johnson Workman, and was not disabled in any way. I can just imagine him filling out this form, just like we have to fill out forms today. It's crazy!!! This guy is my family, and I found a little piece of him. :)
As a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho, I have the amazing opportunity to take a Church History class. When I first added this course it was because I had dropped my insane online World Civilizations class and I needed to replace the credits with a class that didn't screw up my schedule too much.
Church History was that class.
I didn't go into this class thinking about the people I would be learning about. The people whose very existence are the reason for my own. These incredible pioneers. These saints on earth.
As I was reading my assigned chapter for next class I was hit hard with the spirit. It threw me off at first. I'm ashamed to say that I am out of practice and was not expecting to feel much of anything. But after reading of a 10 year-old girl's feet being amputated because they were frozen, and the heartbreak of a father who had to leave behind an infant in a grave on the plains, only to return for the body to find that the wolves had gotten there first, I was humbled.
All day today I have been complaining about how much I hate the snow and slush that seeps into my shoes while I sat in a heated car that takes me wherever I need to go. The early pioneers didn't have cars, and many didn't even have shoes for the slush to seep into. They were entirely at the mercy of the elements and had to rely on themselves to get where they were going.
I'd like to say that from now on I'll never forget what luxury I have, but the likelihood is that I will. Just for tonight though, I want to honor those that have come before us and helped build up this incredible Gospel. In comparison to their sacrifices, nothing I will ever do can possibly compare.You are better than I can hope to be, If I ever have a quarter as much faith as you did to leave your home and travel across the frozen plains to a place sight unseen, I will be blessed beyond measure. I love you and thank you.