Saturday, April 28, 2012

Porter Family History

Are you doing family history research on the Porter line? Would it by chance involve Sanford Porter (1790 - 1873) who was born in Brimfield, Hampden, Massachusets? Sanfords parents were Nathan Porter and Susanna West.

Sanford Porter had 14 children: Chauncey Warriner, Malinda,Sarah Jane, John President, Nathan Tanner, Reuben, Sanford Jr, Nancy Aretha, William, Joseph and Hyrum Twins, Justin Theodore, Lucinda, and Lyman Wight Porter. 

I am interested in all of this family, but most interested in going upline from Sanford, and in his sons John President and Lyman Wight. They are both my great grandfathers. Figure that one out.

I have started a Porter Family Research blog. You find it by clicking here. All new Porter family research I do will be documented success of failure on that blog. I encourage you to let me know ifyou are posting on line about the Porter, Cragun, Bingham, or South Families. I will provide a link to your website from the research blog so others can find you.

Why should we duplicate each others work. Why shouldn't we collaborate. Why should our children be forced to repeat the research we have done. We shouldn't, you shouldn't, and they shouldn't.

Another Next Cool Thing Coming On FamilySearch.Org

1940 Nash
1940 Nash Advertisement
Family Search is currently gathering stories about people and places in late 1930's & early 1940's.

The concept is cool, stories that are submitted about an individual will be gathered together on http://familySearch.org/ Think of it, if all of my grandfathers stories are pulled together as 1 combined story, how great will that be for his ancestors.

The site isn't up yet but once it is, the stories that are submitted will be showcased on our map and on their own individual pages. If you submit a story you will be sent a link to it once it goes live. With that you can share it with your family and friends.

Currently we are looking for stories in the following Categories:

Who is in it: Tell us about the person you know that lived when the  1940 census was created. Submit a photo, scrapbook page, a story or create a Facebook page in their honor.

Provide persons first and last name, location, birth date, photos current or old, and the story long or short, we need all types.

How it was: Submit facts, images, and stories about what it was like to live in a particular area during the late 1930's and early 1940's.

Again, old photos and possibly scrapbook pages and images.

Where were they when..... Tell us but where you, or someone you know was, during a major event from the late 1930's or early 1940's. Where were you during Pearl Harbor? D-Day? Gandhi's Assassination?

Even journal entries and stories would be good.

Submit stories to oldfamilystories@familysearch.org

Who Took My Mother & Aunt To Electa Elizabeth Porter?

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Nancy Athena Porter and spouse, Thomas Perez Salinas
Nancy and Thomas Salinas
Not long before my grandmother, Nancy Athena Porter died her two children were taken to live with their grandmother: Electa Elizabeth Porter. She was only 44 years old.

The daughters were Bertha and Gloria.

Nancy and her husband Thomas Salinas were living in Burley, Idaho. Thomas was unable to give proper care to the girls. He spent much of his time running sheep crews in Montana and other places.

I know that one of Nancy's siblings came from Porterville, Utah to Burley not long before our grandmother passed away to live with Electa.

I am trying to determine which of her siblings this was. I am hoping that someday this article is found by a relative that might have buried somewhere in one of their family histories some details of this event. 
I know it must have been heart wrenching to all: Thomas, Nancy, Bertha, Gloria, and Nancy's brother or sister. I believe it was one of her brothers, and perhaps his wife that brought the girls back to Porterville. Gloria, who later married David Huff was only 4 years old and Bertha was a young teen of fourteen. Bertha later married Royal Cragun, Electa died in 1942, Bertha was married to Royal and Gloria came to live with them. 

So I ask, if you are a descendant or relative of Nancy's brothers or sisters: Marlow Rich Porter  (1877-1964),   Nellie Electa Porter  (1879-1881),  May Porter  (1882-1882), Bertha Mariah Porter  (1883-1965, Nathaniel Victor Porter  (1888-1959),   Joseph Irvin Porter  (1894-1974), or  Mary Viola Porter  (1897-1993) please be aware of my request and perhaps you might help me put more pieces of my grandmothers life's story together.

I have also been searching for a journal of either Nancy Athena Porter or her mother Electa. I have been told that these journals do exist but I cannot locate them.

PS: If you come across any information on my grandmothers life I would appreciate you letting me know. Thanks

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogging For Genealogy Purposes

Next week Kathleen and I will be teaching the first class in a four class series of blogging for genealogy. We have, as many know, taught hundreds of professionals how to successfully blog. The class will be taught in the Family History Library Lab on the 1st floor. The classroom will hold 29 students.

Blogging for genealogy is a terrific endeavor. It can bring families closer together. It can be a great asset for doing genealogy and family history research.

The first thing I will ask the class, and therefore I ask you to consider is, what would you want to accomplish were you to blog a genealogy - family history blog.

Now before you shut me out on this topic I have two things to say: 1- Blogging is easy 2- Not being a great writer is not a problem. Besides that it is fun, and content is everywhere every day.

We will have handouts at the class and I will post what we taught so the students can return here to review the content and perhaps to even the visitor to this blog that might be willing to do this on their own. Of course, if you want to travel to Salt Lake, email me and we do have 10 seats left. The first class starts Wednesday the 1st.

The following short power point illustrates that you can create a power point and publish it.

The power point is short, take a look and ask yourself why would you blog? In the class, I'll be asking.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Cragun House

I like this Victorian house. I could wish that it were mine. After all it is the Cragun House.

It was built by a Strange Cragun. I know we Craguns are all strange. My great grandfather is Simeon the son of Elisha. Simeon's brother Hiram named one of his son in a strange way. I mean gave im the name of Strange. Strange Nathaniel Cragun. I bet he went by Nate, right?

Strange was born in Boone County in 1857. He left Boone County for a short time as a young adult, but returned in 1881 to begin a career in education. He served as principal of Whitestown, Zionsville, and Lebanon schools. In 1891, he purchased a local newspaper, the Lebanon Patriot (later to become the Lebanon Reporter), and began a long career as a Boone County business and civic leader.

The house is historic looking. Actually it is historic and now the owned and maintained by the Boone County Historical Society, and serves as the headquarters for the Society. With most of it’s original furnishings, as well as other donated items of the period, the Cragun House is not only an elegant old home, it is a living history museum.

The home is available for tours and to use for events. It has been used for business meetings, civic group meetings, weddings, wedding and baby showers, Christmas parties, and recitals. Filled with Victorian charm and ambiance, the Cragun House is simply beautiful, and is perfect for many occasions. Imagine your event in this elegant setting. The house can comfortably accommodate groups up to 30 persons.

PS: Genealogy buffs, Boone County where Patrick lived is named after Daniel Boone. I wonder if old Pat and Daniel were hunting buddies.Daniel was 12 years older than Patrick and died 10 years later.

This is a link to the Boone County Historical Website: Click

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life Story of My Grandmother Blanche Bingham Cragun Smith

40


The Life  Story of

BLANCHE REBECCA (BINGHAM) Grundy/Cragun/Smith

Born 20 January 1886 Passed away 28 March 1964

And the brief history of 

Wilbert Simeon CRAGUN

This account was tape-recorded by Bertha SOUTH Cragun (wife of Blanche’s son, Royal W. Cragun) and given to another of her son’s (Howard Blaine CRAGUN).    I, Ruth WOOD Cragun (wife of Howard) am documenting it as it was previously typed. The quotation marks identify verbiage quoted in the recording. Additions of fact, by both Bertha and Ruth are made and are noted.  Individual Ordinance Summary #000-6648-8974 


“I was a happy child and so was my sisters and brothers. My mother (RUTH: Sarah Rebecca GUTHRIE Bingham) was a wonderful housekeeper and cook. The house was always full of good smelling food and was always clean. That was what made our home—a mother there to greet us with love.

 Mother made our mittens and coats and we had leggings but I don’t think she made them, but she may have. When we came home from school she always had a little lunch for us and if it was winter we could go out in the snow and play fox and geese or make butterflies. We came in wet and cold and hungry. My mother knew how to make a child, or a man, happy with good food. We had three good meals a day and lunch after school, which would be whatever we wanted. We all grew up happy. When I was a little girl I used to go with Aunt Mary Farr (Papa’s sister) and the other wife of Lorin Farr when they had to help me on the seat in the Ogden tabernacle.

There was 9 of us children. 6 girls and 3 boys:  I worried over my Mother long before I should. for I was always afraid she would die. When I was naughty Mother wouldn’t let me kiss her goodnight and that would break my heart. Mother could trust me with her babies and never worry. I was the oldest child. I remember my mother telling of me, and my brother when we were just little tots, that Grandpa gave me a wax doll. Beautiful doll, and quite a big one. At that time wax dolls was the best dolls made. Grandpa gave my brother (he was not 3 yet) a carpenter set and when spring came we went out to play and he was the Dr. and he was going to make my doll well. Mother said she heard screams and she ran out just in time to see my doll’s head fall over the chopping block.

 I guess I had bad luck with my dolls because when Ella was big enough to run around, while I was at school, she had another of my wax dolls and chewed the cheeks off of the doll. I was a blonde with reddish shades in my hair and it was curly. I had 16 curls about 12 to 14 inches long and freckles on my cheekbones and over my nose.

My first date was with a boy that was my cousin. He also was a great grandson of Lorin Farr, the first mayor of Ogden. Then soon after that I fell in love with Reuben B. Grundy, and 2 years later was married to him. Mother taught me housework so when I married I could keep house and take care of my children”. (RUTH: And I believe it was also because Blanche was a devoted daughter and her mother desperately needed added help with the children).

“We had a lovely son we named Reuben Bingham Grundy (later in life he used the name Cragun - his stepfather’s name). My husband Reuben left me for another woman. My cousin fixed up a divorce and in 1 month I was a widow, which at that time there wasn’t many divorces. The grief caused me to lose twin girls at about 3 months pregnancy. I always wanted twins. After the divorce I had to leave my baby sometimes, but most of the time I kept him with me while I did house work. On 6 Feb. 1906 I married Simeon Wilbert Cragun.”

(BERTHA:‘Wilby’, as he was called, had two children (by his previous marriage to Mary Ann Clifford) still living at home at the time of the marriage. He and his brothers operated a large fruit farm in Pleasant View and shipped fruit all over the United States. The Cragun Brothers Wholesale Fruit and Produce firm was started in 1887. Wilby had his own farm and it was here that Blanche and Wilby started their marriage. Blanche was now mother to Reuben and  Hazel and Levi, Mary Ann’s children). She worked hard on the farm and while in the Pleasant View Ward taught Relief Society for a short time and was also 2nd counselor in the Relief Society for a while. Wilby was active in community work and was called on often to administer to the sick. It was said that he had ‘the power of healing’. Hazel and Levi each married and started their families, then Blanche had a daughter, Viola, born here.

          Year after year the drought continued in Idaho and wheat was about 25 cents a bushel. The ‘great depression’ was also upon them and it became increasingly impossible to continue to live on the dry farm, so the family had to look for better support. Wilby's health was also failing  so, it was decided that they would move to Payette, Idaho where Blanche was able to operate a dining room in a hotel there. Land could be ‘homesteaded’ free of cost and Wilby wanted to see if he could make a go of farming in Idaho.

          While operating the dining room in Payette, the family became acquainted - and very good friends with - Kent Smith who was living at the hotel.  Viola was old enough to help and was a great assistance to Blanche in the dining room. The dining room in such a small town, with bad times and little money anywhere, wasn’t very good for rearing a family and they returned to Pocatello, where they hoped both of them could find employment. Blanche was able to get work, cleaning offices at the railroad depot and Wilby worked occasionally for the city and for the railroad. Kent later followed them to Pocatello where he lived in a one-room cabin near them.

Royal remembers Kent bringing he and Glenn a baseball bat to play with. One time he showed Royal a picture that he treasured of a beautiful woman – Kent’s mother – with black hair and snapping eyes. His mother had died at the time Kent was born. One time, while Kent was at work, their little house burned down and his precious picture, and all of his belongings were lost.  

Kent was an electrician, but much of the time he had to take whatever jobs he could find. He worked on the American Falls Dam when they constructed that. Reuben, now a teenager, worked on cars and owned one. Kent offered to help the family with groceries if Reub would drive them to American Falls, where he was working. They went over and enjoyed a little outing with Kent, in spite of some very rough roads they had to travel to get there. When the dam was

finished Kent treated the entire family to the big celebration the town had commemorating the completion. Howard was born by then and my, how Kent loved that baby.

He became so fond of him that no matter where they went from then on, Kent kept in touch and tried to be near to help whenever he could. The family went to Shelly, Idaho and helped Kent open an electric shop where he did contracting. This venture didn’t work out and Kent was deeply in debt to supply houses. He told them he could not pay but that if they would hire him, he would work out all of his bills and he did this.  The wholesalers were in Salt Lake so he moved there and paid off every cent.  

          About 1915, Wilby decided to turn the farm over to his son, Levi, and move to Idaho and take up dry farming. In order to homestead the farm in Arbon Valley, they had to live on the farm part of each school year. This made it difficult for the children to attend at both the Spring and Fall terms of school. There was year after year of crop failure and living there was very primitive. At first, there was only a dug-out in the hillside, then a large tent and finally a small home. End of Bertha’s comments) 

          “We lived in a place called Pauline, Idaho. We got our first car there. We lived in a place close to the mountain. Church was way across the valley, so we didn’t get to it very often. We went to the city in the winters, as the snow would get so deep the children couldn’t get to school. Sometimes it was American Falls or Pocatello, sometimes we got to go to Ogden. We were there the winter my little Vera died. How terrible not to have her! She was 6 years old when she died. My Father in Heaven has answered my prayers in raising my children. Many times I was alone on the dry farm – 120 acres – and just about all the men were away working, so us mothers were alone a lot. I never felt alone because I always had a prayer in my heart for God to keep us safe. I had sick children all alone and Father in Heaven answered my prayers, also when I had any of my grand children. Sometimes they would take very sick, no phone so I couldn’t get the elders, so God knew and answered my prayers. I know He is the living God and Jesus Christ lives. I had 6 children. My little Vera went to school from Sept. to March – then in 2 weeks she was dead (typhoid). My oldest child was Reuben, then next a daughter, Ella Viola, next Vera, then a son, Royal and a son Glenn and then Howard Blaine – the baby of the family”.



           

      






Monday, April 23, 2012

Training The Rookie Genealogist Wrap Up

Rookie TriIt has been an exhausting two weeks for our rookie. I am proud of all she was able to inhale. She finished with a burst of speed.

She has a great assignment. She is going to serve at the Family History Library in the new Hosting Zone. She will be in the heart of where people come from miles around for their research and part of the support team. The week we arrived here on our  mission a large group from Japan were here for their annual genealogy research. The Salt Lake City Family History Library has no equals anyhere. I encourage you to plan a visit some day.
Our new missionary isn't an expert now. Two weeks can give a good foundation but there is always a new challenge in genealogy. However, our rookie has a lot of new tools. She did go four generations further on one line that was a dead end.

Just so you know where she was when we started: she had ranked herself as a 0 to 1 level on a scale of 0 to 5 on almost every category including computer savvy. Her daughter had loaded her entire 5 generations plus more on PAF. PAF is a free family tree type program. We teach that program in our training. She and her daughter had visited areas and cemeteries of her ancestors. She came with a spirit of excitement about family history.

Here are the highlights of what I plan on repeating next month with another trainee missionary:
  1.  As I mention above, use a Family Tree software. If you are a beginner start with PAF, it's free.
  2.  Don't do any research without a research log at your side, taking notes on everything you do.
  3.  Get organized now: Use the system I published here: click Some may resist as I did, but oh what a difference it makes. Oh how much time I wasted duplicating research before doing this and using research logs.
  4.  Make a personal commitment to attend a minimum of 1 genealogy conference or workshop a year. We go to everyone we can. In the six months we have been on our mission we have attend 8. Each has been invaluable.
  5.  Start your research on every person with these 3 sites: Family Search Ancestry.com & FindaGrave.com Ancestry is not cheap, but it is my favorite site.
  6.  Become a regular at a local LDS family history center. Paid sites licenses such as Ancestry.com are usable under the church licenses.
  7.  Start connecting with others with same research interests. Ancestry.com is a great place for that. FamilyTree and the add on software SharingTime (Currently $15.00 per year) are even better. Some can access new.family.search now and use SharingTime. New.familysearch will become FamilyTree.
  8.  Download Jing at http://jingproject.com Jing is free and is perfect for making a photo out of anything you see on your screen. Photo's are an important part of family history.
  9. Block out a regular time to do online research. Several years ago for me this was Sunday. I would usually spend about 4 hours doing genealogy.
  10. Visit this site, study it, click its links for other sites. Aside from publishing occasionally articles about my ancestors and a few examples of my sick humor I post important articles and links for those who are interested in good genealogy research ideas.
  11. Get on or get ready for FamilyTree. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints members can get on it now. By the end of the year anyone can. I'll announce that when it happens. FamilyTree is written about several times here and I encourage you to read these articles. 
  12. Use Webinars as a learning tool. You can pick your topic and times. Genea Webinars is currently the best site I have found that aggregates and announces Webinars. Its link is in the right sidebar of this blog.
These are a summary. More detail is given to this topic in these links about training the rookie.
 Training The Rookie in Genealogy
 Training The Rookie in Genealogy - Day 2
 Training The Rookie Genealogist - Day 3
 Training The Rookie - Day 4
 Training The Rookie Genealogist - Days 5 & 6
 Training The Rookie Genealogist - Wrap up
 




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Since Parking Is Tight & I Am Old, I Had To Have Parking Instructions

Hey Cragun Family - Let's Collaborate on Patrick

If you are a Cragun, you probably can trace your family tree back to Patrick Cragun. We hear he was born in Dublin Ireland in  1745. It seems he had 14 children with one wife. This map depicts areas we think he lived and had children, mostly in Tennessee. What would be cool is to either verify his life or find new information. Perhaps you can help.
His life history is mostly gathered by verbal stories that have been written down by others. He seems to have been a colorful patriot. We hear he was in the Boston Tea Party and was arrested 4 times for civil disobedience. I guess he thought the British weren't the civil ones.

Lets go beyond the two accounts we have of Patrick. Dig out  you mommas journals. Let's share with each other about our immigrant grandfather and his many capers.

Patrick died in Whitestown, Boone County, Indiana, United Stats.

As I research Patrick I will post new things I find to this post. If you have things to add, leave a comment or email me at larry@cragun.net and I will let you share your great knowledge with the world. Let's not let each other duplicate each others work.

We have a couple of versions of his wife's name: Rose Hannah Alley and Rose Mary Alley.

I'd also be interested in if you find documents that show how Cragun was spelled in his area of the world.

Click here for the story that much the Patrick Cragun folk lore comes from.

PS: It may be true, lets find out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Family Tree: Now Access for Members, Soon for all

UPDATE: August  1, 2010: This is the link for members to sign up: You must be logged in to new.familysearch.org.
http://broadcast.lds.org/eLearning/fhd/Community/en/FamilySearch/FamilyTree/pdf/familyTreeAccess.pdf
4/24: It's Back: Family Tree signups for members is here:  https://help.familysearch.org/help/viewdocument?documentId=113041&sliceId=SAL_Public&userQuery=access+family+tree

Not a Mormon? That's OK, just hang in there - by the end of the year it's access for all!

4/22: I just noticed they have suspended new sign ups for members for FamilyTree. I will update this article as new signups are enabled. This is a beta status and not yet fully ready to go.

It is not being promoted, but I noticed in training a rookie this week that she could access FamilyTree by merely going to FamilySearch.org and logging in. Here is a brief picture story of what  you will see at this time. It is in beta and some features come and go in the process. But enjoy it as it is. Start adding documents by linking to them. The easiest way for most is to load them into a picture sharing site such as Flickr.


http://familysearch.org/

Sign in

< Family Tree should be in the upper left.
Check out your Tree


                                              Clicking the name opens it up.                                       
You can now add sources via a link from a place the document is loaded.

See the latest changes - eventually undo an error another has made
Add lots of other info
Use discussions to collaborate and explain.

For Those On The 1940 Census - A Real Comedy Flashback

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

1940 Census Initiative Is Rocking!

Can you imagine, 4.2 million names were indexed last Sunday alone. Those of you that are participating are averageing 4 million names per day. Those involved come from all sorts of demographics - from individuals to genealogy societies.

If we can keep the current pace the entire census will be searchable around mid August. Family Search goal was by October. Just think,
132 million people were living in the 48 Continental United States in 1940.
The dark states on the map are either done or close to being completed. Kansas and Oregon are 99% done. Delaware, Colorado, Virginia and New Hampshire are completed. California is 14%, Florida 44%, and Texas is 9% done.

Tens of millions of people living in the United States in 1940 are still living today, making this a record set that connects people with recent family records.

Many of these individuals are part of what has been called the greatest generation.
These are people who:

  • Survived the Great Depression
  • Fought in the Second World War
  • Innovated technology (TV, Microwave)
  • Sacrificed in the name of freedom
  • Practiced thrift and compassion
  • Understood hard work and industry

The people in the 1940 census deserve to have their records preserved and made available online.

Click here to learn more and for the article I wrote in March.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Be Ye Therefore Organized

This article has been updated with important easier to implement instructions. View that article of June 9, 2012 by clicking here. This system has been streamlined by Barry Ewell. He now offers a PDF and has an easy to follow video. The information below is still relevant.

This system will put your research in such an organized state that you will not believe you did it.

It will not only benefit your efforts, but will be in such great shape that someone else can easily pick up where you left off.  They will think you were amazing.

Successful genealogy research depends upon being able to find information again which you already have. To do so you need a simple system for organizing paper copies of family group records, pedigree charts, documents, notes, and research logs and helps.

The steps given below for setting up a filing system were developed and refined over several years. While this system is not the only way to organize family history information, it is inexpensive, simple to use, easy to set up, and has proven helpful to many people who have used it. Don't think you have to do all the steps outlined below in one day. Pace yourself.


These are the steps the system will take you through.
Introduction
What You Are Looking For
Step 1. Gather supplies for your filing system.
Step 2. File your family pedigree charts.
Step 3. Print a copy of the Circled 5-Generation Pedigree Chart.
Step 4. Separate the lines of your 4 grandparents by color.
Step 5. Put 16 hanging files into your box.
Step 6. Label the colored hanging file folders with your family surnames.
Step 7. Put a highlighted copy of your 5-generation pedigree chart in each of the colored folders.
Step 8. Set up a file for each family on your 5-generation pedigree chart.
Step 9. File the manila folders.
Step 10. Put these items in each family folder.
Step 11. Set up other useful files.
Step 12. Expand to other boxes as needed.

Andre Bocellie and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

It's Sunday, If you can't visit Temple Square today - enjoy this - it's awesome.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Training The Rookie Genealogist Days 5 & 6

The last two days have been exhausting, for both of us I am sure. But it has been rewarding. These two days have been days of cleaning up files, double checking if her tree had the right people in it.

We have been looking for and found some documentation. We found a birth certificate posted on a memorial in http://findagrave.com/ We found a marriage certificate in http://ancestry.com/ Ancestry led us to public marriage records. We copied these documents off our screen with jing. You download this cool tool at http://jingproject.com/ It's free.

She and her daughter opened a Flicker account. That is free too. We Jinged a photo of an ancestor that was posted on find a grave and  her daughter uploaded it in their new Flickr account. We will link to the photo and other items when she gets her FamilyTree account within http://familysearch.org/

It became obvious that you need to be organized when doing research. I have been gathering sample forms and using different ones as an experiment on which is the best. I am concluding that I will use more than one type and keep a file folder on each ancestor. Here is the link to those I prefer at this time: http://larrycragunfamily.blogspot.com/p/research-forms.html It can be found in the right side bar under research forms.

I have been anxiously awaiting Barry Ewell to bring me into his beta of MyGenShare.com. In taking a few classes from Barry I am convinced he is on the forefront of effective research. He speaks about how to be organized and how critical it is in not wasting valuable research time.

This is a quote from Barry Ewell about his opinion on how to organize: "Choose an organization system that genealogists use. There are several popular genealogy organization systems. Research the systems and use the one that fits your style and one you will actually use.

Recommendation: I have evaluated and started (and then subsequently abandoned) several filing systems. I took a class from Mary E. V. Hill on a filing system and I reorganized my genealogy using her color coding filing system. It is extremely flexible—the more ancestors you find, the more expandable and flexible the system becomes. It can be multi-generational and strictly linear at the same time. The system is simple to set up, simple to maintain, well organized, and inexpensive. The system is easy to understand for the researcher and the mildly interested relatives alike. I can find anything in just a few seconds.
Here is, besides using and filing Research logs, the main things my trainee learned these past two days:
Following the above process creams the 80% of the information that is most available. Family Search and Find A Grave are free sites. You can visit your nearest LDS Family History Center or Library and access Ancestry using their license.

Learn how to go deeper in Family Search and Ancestry than just putting in your search. There are advanced tools that sometimes perform miracles for you in both. This is another reason to spend some time at an LDS Family History Center - they have willing volunteers that can help you learn these features.

We have less than a full week of training left. She gets her zone assignment on Friday morning. I am anxious to find out which of our 20 zones she goes to. I found out yesterday that those missionaries who are assigned to the Salt Lake City Family History Library will now go through an extra 8 days of training from a new zone they are creating. I might like to be transferred to that zone.

For you members of our church just note: this is an awesome mission. There is a neat spirit here. If you put forth the effort you can really learn how to do family history. The service you provide goes to those who really appreciate it. You feel like you can taste what the celestial kingdom is like.

Patrick Cragun - He's Your Grandpa? - Here's The Questions

The stories that are published about Patrick Cragun are stories told by our ancestors. Two sources lead to all of the stories I can find.

I am trying to take research to another level. I want to have more facts as I prepare something our Cragun children can enjoy and be proud of. It seems our Patrick was the brave sort. Here is a link to the story as we have it so far - just click:

Do you know? Did Patrick really run away from being an indentured servant and catch a ship like the one I post here?  Was Patrick Cragun really in the Boston Tea Party? Do you know if he was really born in Dublin, Ireland? Who were his grandparents? What was his mothers name? And are we sure about his wifes name, Rose Hannah Alley? What about her family, are there details you might have? Do you know more about his life in America? Do you live near Boone County, Indiana where we he died? Let's collaberate.

PS: This is my 100th article since starting this blog on February 8th. It's been fun. Google searches are finding me. I encourage you to do this too. Let me know if you do so I can link to your blog. As we find each other on line, as we build a network of similar interests or relationships, we provide efficiency in finding new facts as we provide time for others to join us in our family history research.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Training The Rookie - Day 4

Rookies Pioniers - UVVYesterdays Story gains legs. My rookie genealogist came to training today having made an interesting decision.

She felt she was being inspired to to write the story of the grandmothers life I wrote about yesterday. She had never been told this story: about the children being split up because the mother was alone, they lived 240 miles from each other, she was a servant according to a census, and even that she was married to another man the next year.

This decision is great news, stories are important.

http://findAgrave.com/ was a big part of our day today. This is a valuable free site. It turns out that two thirds of her first 5 generations of ancestors have some form of memorial in find a grave. We found photos of grandparents, of headstones we photocopied (with Jing), and even a copy of a birth certificate. Now that's a good place to publish documents like this. When FamilyTree goes live, one could link to this memorial.

Both of these tools, Find A Grave and Jing are a must.

Another great feature of Find A Grave we used a lot was the ability to search the cemetary for other people with the same last names. This may be one of the more important features of this website. Think about it, she had family names with dozens of people buried there that she knew nothing about. Cousins, Aunts, or Uncles? Perhaps?

With this search we found one of her grandmothers that had an additional last name posted and on the grave marker. Our original search missed her because of the different last name. We found her and our trainee added this name to new family search.

Other ancestors looking for this grandparent will be glad for the work we did today. And, I am thinking my rookie trainee is not really a rookie. She learns fast, thinks clearly, and is thorough.

Tomorrow we will probably go to the Family History Library and start gathering facts for her newly inspired book. Oh, and we will also have her print out a fan chart.

You Just Can't Believe Everything You Are Told

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Training The Rookie Genealogist - Day 3

Today was fun, for my trainee and me. We have a mystery. One pretty close to her.

Rookie

We are systematically reviewing what we can find on line about her first 5 generations on her fathers side. She wanted to start here as the ancestors on her mothers side are mostly from Mormon Pioneers and she believes there is more work not done on her fathers side.

I did introduce her to http://findagrave.com/

We started this day with her fathers aunt on his mothers side. That would make this woman my trainees great aunt I believe.

The mystery began when we searched for one of the two sons this Aunt had: Geiger, his brother was Woodson, another cool name for doing on line research. Now the nice thing about giving your kid an unusual name like Geiger is that it isn't duplicated often. Unique names make searching oh so much easier. If only the Irish had figured that out. In my wife's line everyone is named Roger Sweeney or William. Even worse on the women's side is Mary and Martha.

OK, we searched for Geiger and found him. The mystery begins - Geiger was 3 years old in the census we found and he was living with his grandparents. No mom and no brother. Why? What happened to his dad, his mom, and Woodson?

By searching for Woodson we found he and his mom in a different census. Mom was listed as a servant of the household. A servant? Well, we could imagine why Geiger wasn't there: two young kids one being 3, but confirming so is part of the mystery, right?

We went to Google maps and determined that mom and Woodson were separated from Geiger now by 240+ miles.

We began to wonder what it must have been like for this family, and what happened to dad. At the end of the day, it's still a mystery.

So we detectives moved to the next census, 10 years later. We found Mom married to the 2nd husband with 4 more children at home.

Interestingly Woodson and Geiger were listed in this family using both their fathers last name + stepfathers last name and as step sons to the head of the household.

So, we then set out to determine who was the mother of these 4 kids. We were able to determine that mom married the new husband - father the next year after the census. We were able to document she was the mother of all the children. She was 24 at the time of the second marriage. She was 16 when she first married. It's almost as if we could make a T V show out of this mystery. We felt the emotions of our search, wondering about the trials of this family.

Still unknown at this time is what happened to Geiger and Woodsons father. Was he killed? How?

Further research turned up even more children, born after the second census we studied. This turned out to be a big family.

We have had trouble finding Woodson and Geiger at older ages. What happened to them? We tried using both last names. There is more work for us to do.

Oh, and she died several states away from where all this earlier living took place. That leads to more mysteries.

The coolest thing: my new trainee said, "I just love mysteries". She is on the right mission for sure.

OK, I Admit Genealogy Is Complicated: But This?

So fun, yet at times so complicated. A real detectives game.

A Short Must See Video About Being Scared

Some folks are afraid to tackle genealogy, now this is a reason to be scared.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Training The Rookie In Genealogy - Day 2

NFL rookies teach local kids from the YMCA at the 2011 NFLPA Rookie Seminar at IMG Academies

The rookie came prepared today. Our goal was to have her enter 5 generations of her ancestors in  PAF, the free software. I was excited to see she brought her thumb drive fully loaded with all 5 generations all done.

Now we have a rookie here, right! So how did she come so prepared? Answer, her daughter is active n genealogy and had loaded it and PAF on her laptop. The future is in collaboration and this is a fine example. Why should my trainee have to start over when it is already available. She shouldn't have to is the answer.

Where my rookie had rated her skill level as 0 or 1 on a 1 to 5 scale, she had under rated herself. I think that's a common problem. Folks, this genealogy game is not hard. The computer skills needed are basic. PAF is easy to learn. There are challenges, but they are the detective type challenges.

We had the assignment to print her 5 generation chart from PAF. It's done: Reports - select the type of chart - print. Done. The chart will be posted on the wall with our mission presidencies charts. I looked at the wall today only to notice not all of the presidency are able to go out 5 generations. They have work to do. They may have walls difficult to find.

Our next task was to start documenting what is in her PAF, verifying and proving what her daughter had provided her. Today we got part way through her fathers line.

The first site I took my trainee was to http://familysearch.org/ That should be your first place to search. Billions of names and files are on this site. Millions are being added each month. It's a serious initiative by the church and it's free. Here we found every person we worked on today in a census. She found some facts she was unaware of such as birth states of parents of those we were researching.

I took her through a tour of FamilyTree. She won't have access yet but the reason I did this was to have her decide how she will document her ancestors. When FamilyTree goes live it will be all about documenting mankind. You will hear that often I am sure. As a result of today my trainee will collaborate with her daughter on what documents they have, and how they will link them to FamilyTree. Eventually I expect the church will allow us to upload our documents, but it appears we will open being able to place a link. In my case I am posting documents on this blog. We could use Flickr as does my sister. In both cases there is a unique Internet address for the document which can link to FamilyTree.

I want to interject here my trainee is excited to learn. She is absorbing because of this. You too can go from Rookie to success with an attitude like this. Do it!

I introduced her to SharingTime. The reasons are on this blog in another article. You only use it in New Family Search or will in FamilyTree. If you aren't in these yet, take a note, you will want to have it in FamilyTree. The search bar will pull the article up if you want to find the old article.

We spent some time in Ancestry.com. I think you will want to either pay the price for it, 25.00 per month and more or go to a library or LDS Family History Library to use their licensed copies. The two main reasons I like Ancestry is to see other subscribers trees and what they have on our lines and to get to some census's Family Search doesn't have on line yet. There are other good features.

Tomorrow is day 3, I;ll be back.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Training The Rookie In Genealogy

The mission has changed my assignment. I am supposedly a rent a trainer, loaned to the training zone for two weeks.

LDS Conference Center
When a person enters our mission they go through two straight weeks of training. The training is to provide the missionary the basics on genealogy research. Many are assigned to zones that do not involve research. For example, there are missionaries that serve in the language translation zone. Every General Conference and many events at the Conference Center are translated into dozens of languages. The implementation of that is complex and takes many professionals and missionaries. Those assigned here will be doing their learning in these two weeks and outside their assignment.

Members are often called to this mission with minimal computer and genealogy skills. Such is the lady I am assigned to teach. It is my commitment to take her through our 1 on 1 training and prepare her to make her mission here a joyful experience in learning how to do her own research.

Of course each missionary comes to this mission with various levels of experience. Prior to arriving we fill out various forms, one of them being a personal assessment of our skill level, including skill levels in using a computer.

My trainee, rated herself either 0 or 1 on a scale of 0 to 5 in all categories. So I truly have a Rookie in Genealogy to train. What is exciting to me, on each category she added, "I am anxious to learn."

We met for a few hours Friday, and truly she shows enthusiasm and an excitement to learn.

What is your level of experience? Are you also a Rookie in Genealogy? If so, join with me for the next two weeks as I share with you what I share with my trainee.

I have already posted a few articles about getting started, but I now realize that they might not be what the rookie in genealogy needs to start with.

So here we go: Join in.

Take note, you cannot get fully trained in two weeks. I do believe, however, that I can provide the basics and that the curriculum that has been developed by our training zone will take you or anyone anxious to learn to a place they are launched successfully into many exciting experiences with their ancestors.

1- You must have basic computer skills. The web is a most powerful source of information. It has changed research immensely. You must know how to turn on a computer and use it beyond email. Monday, I will post the basic skills you will need. If you don't have them, persuade your nearest connection to a 10 year old and have them teach these to you.

2- Don't go buying a fancy software that does all sorts of cool things. Wait for that.

3- Download free software called PAF. Understand, you friend or relative that is into genealogy is going to argue with me on this point. I am your teacher. Do as I say. Get PAF, its simpler. Click here to go and download PAF:

Here is a video that gives you an overview of PAF.


4- Find out what conferences are within your access. Here in Salt Lake the biggy is RootsTech. The next one is in March 2013. RootsTech offers classes for all levels of interest and experience. If you can go - do so. If you cannot, find a local one. There is at least one a month somewhere. In my home area, there is an annual conference that moves back and forth between Bellevue and Redmond. You go to conferences because they are awesome. The handouts alone are often worth going.

Click Here for the Rootstech Site.

You can already tell I am offering things that are outside of a two week one on one training. That's what it takes, baby! The good news, it's a blast. More good news, you will learn a lot, very fast.

5- If you haven't figured it out yet, you must return to this blog periodically. Even after the two weeks of training there will be lots of tips and sites I will expose you to. Of course I mix in some stories of ancestors.

6- Our next assignment will be to organize the names of 5 generations of ancestors. This is Sunday. You have all day to do that and part of tomorrow. Go get em. Don't worry about names you can't find, do what you can. Gather with the names, birth dates, death dates, and marriage dates. That's a good start. Make sure you download PAF.

If you want, see if you can input some of the information you gather into PAF.

The pressure is on - the fun begins.





Friday, April 6, 2012

John President Porter

My Great Great Grandfather: Written by a grandchild from his marriage to Nancy Graves - published by permission

My grandfather, John President Porter, son of Sanford and Nancy Warriner Porter, was born July 28, 1818 in Plymouth, Oneida County, New York. His father had become interested in the teachings of Joseph Smith, and in July 1830 became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was converted and baptized by Lyman Wight. His entire family soon followed him.

On October 5, 1843, John President Porter married Nancy Rich at the home of her brother, Charles C Rich, and in the presence of her family in Lee County Iowa. John and Nancy made their home in Charleston, Lee County, Iowa, where their son, Joseph Rich was born March 29, 1844. A second son, Sanford was born December 25, 1845.

Some time later they moved to Nauvoo. In 1847, Charles C Rich, who was then living in Winter Quarters, went to Nauvoo on business and to visit family. When he returned home, grandfather and his family followed him to Winter Quarters, arriving there on May 21, 1847,  On June 14 of the same year, they all left for the Rocky Mountains in Charles C Rich's Company. While en route John P Jr, a 3rd son was born at Sweetwater, September 4, 1847. They arrived in Salt Lake City, October 2, 1847 and camped where pioneer park is now.

A little later they went to Centerville and took up land there. They had always understood the bottom land or land lying close to the river was more fertile and more productive than the higher land. With this thought in mind, they took up land down near the lake. A few years later they were convinced that a salt lake is quite a different thing from a running stream of water. They found the soil was full of alkali, and would produce very little that could be used as food. By the time they discovered their mistake, all the best land in Centerville had been taken up.

In November, 1851, a baby daughter was born and mother and child both died. The father found it a hard and desperate struggle to provide and care for three little boys, the oldest only 6 years old. Friends and relatives were kind and gave all the help they could, but the times were so hard, food so scarce, and the tiny house so crude and comfortless, a mother in the home was badly needed. 

On March 24, 1853 he married Nancy Graves, who was a widow with four little daughters.

During the gold rush, grandfather made some arrangements for his family and he went to California and panned out gold for a short time. He returned home with quite a large sum of money and a bag of gold nuggets, which enabled him to provide much more comfortably for his large family. The nuggets were exchanged for necessities with people passing through the country.

A short time after grandfather returned from California, word came of the approaching army from the east, and the Saints were called upon to abandon their homes and move south. 

The following is from my fathers journal: "Something that was indelibly impressed on my mind as a young child, was that the government was sending an army of men of men with guns to kill every Mormon. Everybody was talking abut it, but Mother said they would not be able to do it. Then I remember Brigham Young told all of the people that the army was getting close. They called out all the spare men and boys, one, Eli Kilbourn who I knew, to go to Echo Canyon and help build up a defense so the could hurl down rocks on one side and bombard the other. It seemed to me, from what they said, that Brigham would do anything, no matter how many men came.

The word came that Lot Smith had gone east with a few men, and had surprised two trains of wagons and teams. They carried off their provisions and supplies, drove off their oxen and burned the wagons and all the grass before them so they would have to stay there all winter. This was the fall of 1857.

The next spring, as I remember, father had just planted his crops when word came from Brigham Young that the army was coming, and for everyone to get ready at once to move south, and leave their buildings ready for the match. A few men were to be left to burn them at a given signal.  I remember the move distinctly, the days of travel, stopping at a place called Pondtown. I remember the strings of trout the men and boys caught out of the ponds. I remember that Uncle Lyman built a pig pen and while at work the Indians gave us a scare and we boys ran to him. How long we stayed there and the return trip is not clear, but word came that peace had been made with the army, to go home seemed to take of the strain we were under" Father was 4 years old when this move was made.

continuing from fathers journal: My memory now reverts to the cold winters, the snow being waste deep or more.  The cold East wind swooped down on Centerville. Chickens were blown to the lake, pigs frozen to death, roofs blown from our houses. The roof of Mr Higby's house was blown off while he was away from his home. His wife rushed out and was blown into a fence, and unable to stand, was frozen to death. At another time, a young man living with us, Thomas Spackman by name, came home one night nearly frozen to death. They pulled off his overalls; they stood up straight by the side of the wall. 

Then I remember my Uncle Warriner and Uncle Sanford and Thomas Spackman hauling saw-mill fixtures over the mountains east of Bountiful to a canyon they called Mill Creek. there were no roads in or out to get the lumber away. As there was another Mill Creek, they changed the name to a very proper one, "Hardscrabble".

The following is taken from the Journal of John Presidents Father Sanford Porter, Sr. "About the year 1858, such heavy snow fell in winter, and such high waters followed and caused such an unusual rise in salt Lake, that most of the farms lying in the bottoms along the shore about fifteen miles were damaged by salt water.  I had to abandon my farm then, and I went over the mountains to Morgan County, Utah, where I found the soil good, and my boys later joined me."

The first trip over the mountains  was made on snow shoes. Sanford Porter Sr, Sanford Porter Jr, and Warriner made the trip and laid out the farms in the snow, then returned to Centerville. In the spring they returned and were well pleased with their farms. They planted some grain and built some log houses, then returned for their families.

Quoting again from fathers journal: "In the spring of 1861 my father, John President Porter, moved his family to Porterville. It was a hard, slow job to get through Weber Canyon. We stopped at the homes of Jedediah Morgan Grant and Thomas Thurston, who were living where Milton now is.

When we reached Porterville, father had a good three room log house ready to move into. I believe my grandfather and two Uncles Warriner and Sanford preceded us. Coming from the hot, dry Salt Lake Valley into the cool, green valley of Morgan seemed like heaven to the Porter family. The river and creeks were lined with grove of cottonwood trees, and the green grass was knee high all through the bottoms when the family reached what is now Porterville.

Another interesting quotation is taken from the journal of Charles G Porter: "During the summer of 1862 father had all the material on the ground for a big barn. The next year all the material for a house. He had dozens of loads of rocks hauled. I remember father kept one carpenter about six months and two men all winter working on the house and barn. The doors, window sash, floors, stairs, in fact all the lumber was sawed in Hardscrabble Canyon, and hand worked by the carpenters. The brick was made by Thomas Brough at his brick yard in West Porterville. The total cost was between $2500 and $3000. In the fall of 1865 as I remember, we moved in."

Grandfather loved the comfortable, roomy new home. The kitchen was large and sunny, and in a corner near the west window, stood an old fashioned, cane-bottom rocking chair where grandfather loved to sit when the days work was done. On a nail in the wall near his chair hung a slate with its wooden frame all bound in bright red cloth. The cloth was attached to the frame with a black cord which passed through the next hole, and so on. A pencil attached to a string  hung on the same nail, and with his slate and pencil, grandfather figured out all his expenses, transferring only the final figures to paper, thus cutting down the expense of his bookkeeping operations.

Grandfather was a good provider. He kept part of his Centerville farm and had a peach orchard. He also grew a patch of sugar there. In the fall grandfather would take part of his family to Centerville and harvest peaches and cane. The cane was taken to Brother Forde's mill where it was ground, and the juice made into molasses. A forty gallon barrel of this molasses was brought home to supply the family with sweets for the year. A half a barrel of peach preserves made with molasses was also brought home. Large quantities of the peaches were dried, to be stored away for winter use.

Grandfather was very fond of honey, and several hives of bees were always kept near his home. It was not an unusual sight to see grandfatehr put his mosquito netting over his head, and fasten it around his head, and fasten it tight around his neck with is shirt collar, pin his gloves tight around his wrists and go out before sun-up to rob the bees and get a supply of fresh honey to eat with grandmothers hot soda biscuits for breakfast.

Beef and pork were produced on the farm to furnish the family meat supply. And at butchering time it was cured in big barrels of brine "strong enough to float an egg". Part of the meat would also be smoked in the homemade smoke house out in the back yard.

Although grandfather owned and operated his farm, at heart he was always a miner, and as soon as his boys were old enough to take over the farm work, he spent more time prospecting in the Hardscrabble hills.  He felt so sure these hills were full of valuable ores, that he spent every cent that could be spared from the family income, trying to uncover rich veins that were always only a few feet away.

This continued as long as grandfather John President lived. The last work he ever did was in the mines. A deep shaft had been sunk in on one of the Hardscrabble mountains and from all indications, as grandfather understood them, a rich vein of gold was just out of sight. He was all excited and promised his wife and daughters gold buttons for their coats that winter.

One morning when he returned to work, he found several feet of water in the bottom of the shaft. They tried to bail it out but it ran in faster that they could bail. A pumping system was badly needed, but was too expensive to be considered unless they could be sure the gold was there. Grandfather decided to drive a pipe deep into the shaft, believing that when the pipe was drawn out, enough ore would be clinging to it to convince his doubting family, that the gold was there. The pipe was driven in, but when they attempted to bring it out, it broke off a few inches under the ground. Grandfather gave up. He sank down on the ground and said, "This is the end."

They took him home in the old lumber wagon, over the rocky, bumpy road, a tired broken old man, and tucked him into his good old feather bed. When he arose the next morning, the family saw a white stricken face. They put him into bed again. He was suffering with a severe ailment and needed expert medical care and hospitalization which, of course, was impossible. Ten days later he passed away, May 28, 1895 at the age of seventy-seven. And the gold in the old shaft is still "just a little way away.

PS: One cannot experience what I have today, wandering around and studying Porterville, without being bound closer to these ancestors of mine. I have only published a bit of what I garnered. Larry Cragun

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Researching On Location - Just A Cool Thing To Do

20110725-IMG_5621-2
Morgan County, Utah

On our church mission we are to take one day a month and use it for personal research or Temple attendance. Today was that day for me. I was using it to try and learn more about my grandmother Nancy Athena Porter. I went to Porterville, Morgan County, Utah.

First of all, I know we can't all visit all of the places our grandparents lived. But when we can, it's can be both effective and important. I would recommend doing research first so you go focused and organized.

One of my finds was about my Great Great Grandfather, John President Porter. I learned some things about him today that I found interesting. I could relate to him. Tomorrow I will post a story about him that I came upon in the Morgan County Historical Society which they said I was welcome to copy and publish.

I loved going to my ancestors towns Porterville and Morgan. It was a great learning experience. Even though I found nothing specific about my grandmother Nancy. I did learn about other Porter grandparents and more.

I learned how valuable it is to actually visit where your ancestors lived. It was sort of emotional. On that part, I walked where grandparents lived: where their homes were, where they went to church, and I felt what it was like to live in the little valley they settled. My imagination was on fire.

I also learned you can glean more information by being there than by phoning or writing. O K, now I want to go to England and Ireland, perhaps to Tennessee and Virginia.

I began my day by dropping into the local LDS Family History Center. I had previously learned what their hours were, 4 hours in the day time and 3 in the evening. That was a good experience. They were oh so willing to help. As I sat at a table reading from books and personal histories they had on file one person there started calling long time citizens of Porterville and Morgan. People serving in these libraries are really there to serve. I found books and histories that were interesting and I loved it.

They then pointed me to the local Morgan County Historical Society. Here I found books, journals, and stories about many of my ancestors. There was a lot about Joseph Rich Porter, who I have two stories on line now about, and more coming. I found the addresses of two of Joseph Rich Porters grandparents homes. I found their homes that way. They are posted in this article.

The next thing I learned, take a good camera with you. My iPhone1 photos are not that great as you can see.





While looking at the homes I found people to talk to. Some had lived there 50 years or more. One lady driving her grandchildren down an old dirt road, on a big dune buggy sort of machine stopped and talked about the valley. She pointed out another Porter home nearby.

It was a relaxing yet exciting day. It was a day to visit the almost in rubble old church my ancestors helped build. It was visiting the stream that my Grandma Nancy's mother fished from each day. It was realizing a lot how it was to live here, to understand why so many people were born here and won't leave. The young married woman at the Historical Society was an example. She doesn't want to live anywhere else. I understand.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thought For The Day

What good is a family tree, if you can't climb it. Dennis The Menace

Joseph Rich Porter Part 2

This is a continuation of the Joseph Rich Porter Story by his grandaugther Bertha Cragun Part 1 click here

J.R. was 3 years old when he, his parents, brother Sanford Jr., and most of his extended family began their journey westward. A most moving description of how the Porters would live for the next few years comes from the "Memoirs of John R. Young" "I remember hearing the ringing voice of President Brigham Young standing early in the morning in the front end of his wagon, he said"
  "Attention, the camps of Israel. I propose to move forward on our journey. Let all who wish follow me; but I want none to come unless they will obey the commandments and statutes of the Lord. Cease, therefore, your contentions and backbiting, nor must there be swearing and profanity in our camps. Whoever finds anything must seek diligently to return it to the owner. The Sabbath Day must be hallowed. In all our camp, prayers should be offered up both morning and evening. If you do these things, faith will abide in your hearts; and the angels of God will go with you, even as they went with the children of Israel when Moses led them from the land of Egypt" Telling the story in retrospect, John Taylor described it this way: "We outlived the trying scenes. We felt contented and happy. The songs of Zion resounded from wagon to wagon, from tent to tent, the sound reverberated through the woods, and its echo was returned from the distant hills; peace, harmony, and contentment reigned in the habitations of the Saints. The God of Israel is with us, and as we journey, as did Abraham of old, to a distant land, we feel that, like him, we are doing the will of our Heavenly Father and relying upon his word and promises; and having his blessing, we feel that we are children of the same promise and hope, and that the great Jehovah is our God.

J.R. and his family spent the next winter at Winter Quarters Missouri, on the west bank of the Missouri river. Even here education was important and a school was formed to teach the children. J. R. was too young to attend yet, but no doubt he found amusement in watching such things as thousands of head of cattle driven across the river. Good swimmers would climb on the backs of some of the strongest oxen, slapping them on the sides of their faces would guide them into the current. Soon a string of cattle would reach the other shore.

J.R.'s mother Nancy, was not in good health. When they left Winter Quarters to cross the plains she was pregnant. With two children under 3 years old, traveling in a covered wagon was very difficult. However, most of the Porter and Rich clans were in this same company including maternal and paternal grandparents. The strong among them would help bare the trials of the weak.

Along the trail the children saw many animals, but the most exciting were the buffalo.  Sometimes thousands of these huge animals stampeded and would run madly across the plains, leaving the air full of dust clouds. The wagons had to stop: and there was always danger that the herd would run right across their camps. sometimes they would come so close to the wagon trains that it was difficult to keep cattle and horses from mixing into the buffalo herd.

On September 4, 1847, as they approached the Sweetwater river in the Mexican territory, (Now Wyoming) Nancy went into labor and another son, John President Jr. was born. John was named after his maternal grandfather.

With John Presidents birth, both gladness and sadness came at the same time. There had been many cases of mountain fever. J.R's grandmother, Nancy Rich, had to give up helping with the birth of the new baby and go to bed with distressing pain in her back, bones, and joints. It was attended with hot flashes, cold chills, then hot flashes again. She had contracted mountain fever.

The decision to keep moving was especially difficult for Charles C Rich, the Captain of the company. His mother was at deaths door and his sister was newly confined. The miserable condition of the sick having to ride over mountain and boulder in a wagon bed seemed inhuman, but he had no choice and the company urged their animals and wagons on. In spite of sickness, new born babies, and the myriad other things that plagued the company, the feel of winter was in the air and they knew they must not stop or they would become snowbound in the mountains, never reaching their destination. The rugged mountains and poor trails they had yet to cross would be as bad or worse than any road previously traveled.

to be continued.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Social Media And Family History

One of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with family members unknown to me. There are multiple reasons, one being able to collaborate with them on our research.

The blog is a way for people to find you that are using the search engines such as Google. Blogs can be very strong this way.

I also post many of my articles on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook I am taking opportunities to friend those who I can tell are relatives, mostly Cragun families. Thus the blog becomes a part of social media.

This week two cousins have found me. One asked me some questions on Facebook about my grandfather and his possible involvement in a mine. I have information on that. I am posting it here and going to answer him on Facebook, by referring him to this article.

Another Cragun left me a note that one of the articles I published helped him find an ancestor. Pretty Cool. I am glad you found my blog and that it helped you, Leon Cragun.

Here is to my Cousin Cecil Cragun and his question:














As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am inviting those
with a same relative to be a guest contributor to this blog.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Have You Watched Any Genealogy Webinars? A Great Way To Learn

This site, http://GeneaWebinars.com/ is the place to go for you to see what is available in genealogy training by Webinar. The link above is in my sidebar under favorite tools and sites.
This is a partial schedule for April, but you should check it regularly for updates. Go to the site: open the class: Determine the time zone: Register:
Monday, April 2
9:00pm
 1940 Census Images and Indexing UPDATE hosted by DearMYRTLE and RootsMagic
Wednesday, April 4
2:00pm
 The Pursuit from Genealogy Hobbyist to Professional by John Kitzmiller and Claire Brison-Banks
8:00pm
 Using Probate Records


9:00pm
 1940 Census Images and Indexing UPDATE hosted by DearMYRTLE and RootsMagic


Saturday, April 7
1:00pm
 Turn iGoogle into your Personal Genealogy Research Homepage with Lisa Louise Cooke


Tuesday, April 10
9:00pm
 Going Digital: Organizing Your Research Files Electronically


Wednesday, April 11
2:00pm
 Genealogy on the Go - the Families app for your Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad by Malcolm Green


Friday April 13
2:00pm
 Preparing for Mother's Death


Please note that not all of them are free. Darn