Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pioneer Heritage Revisited

It is coming up on the time of year when I figuratively dust off my pioneer website to share in honour of the ancestors in the family that crossed the plains to settle in the Utah Valley.  

I created a site with as much information as I could find back in 2010.  It has had some edits and additions over time but as I looked at the calendar and visited the site, I realized it is part of the soon to be defunct wikispaces. This will be the last year to view the site I had created here.


So that means it is time for an upgrade - to something more stable. There isn't much that can be depended upon in terms of technology - I've had my share of beloved sites and google services come to an end. But I don't want all the work to be lost. 

You will find the answers to questions like this: 

Do you know which ancestor followed along on their own at the age of 17 even after previous family members had died trying to make the same journey? This ancestor also crossed the Atlantic on the ship that Charles Dickens visited before it left port.

Do you know which ancestor brought a cello across the plains and was a successful musician in the Valley?

Which of our ancestors had to break up their journeys to earn money in St. Louis?

Which ancestor became very ill on the journey and promised to work to build the temple if the Lord preserved his life?

There is lots to learn and explore on this site!  So I have opened the site for one month and will be exporting what I can.  I'm happy to do  but if there is anyone keen to get involved, they would be welcome to help or take it on!  This was a Personal Progress project I did when I was a leader in the Young Women's organization of my church. I loved learning about the families and crossing the timelines as I prepared all the charts and information.

For anyone in my immediate Puzey family, there is a Pioneer scavenger hunt that you could do with your children for a Family Home Evening.  If you only share one side of the family line (Toone or Puzey only), you can always adapt the activity.  

How will you honour your ancestors this historic weekend?  

Phrenology Reading of David Mulholland

#fmsphotoaday @fatmumslim "on your mind" phrenology head.
Phrenology Model
Somehow I ended up with a few pages in the genealogy archives that are the documented visit of David Mulholland to have a reading of the shape of his skull for the pseudo-science of phrenology, popular in the 19th century.   The proponents of phrenology considered their work to be scientific—an effort to study mind, personality, and character objectively, quantitatively. Some of its assumptions were that mental phenomena have causes that can be determined; that anatomical and physiological characteristics have influence upon mental behavior; and that the mind is not unitary but is dependent upon localized functions of the brain. It is easy to see, perhaps, that such an approach to the study of human personality seemed an improvement over the highly impressionistic, subjective approaches of the past. Moreover as one writer pointed out, "It was the first system that permitted detailed analysis of the human brain without the inconvenience of an autopsy."

David Mulholland (1856-1922)
David was with good company in his interest. Check out some well known members of the church who also participated in this.

Mormons who received phrenological readings between 1840 and 1891 included Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, Brigham Young, George A. Smith, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, Alfred Cordon, Elias Smith, James J. Strang, Matthias Cowley, James Bunting, James S. Brown, Joseph C. Rich, George Reynolds, Amasa Lyman, Charles C. Rich, N. V. Jones, George Q. Cannon, O. S. Clawson, E. L. T. Harrison, Edwin D. Woolley, Christopher Layton, Christopher M. Layton, William Blood, Jesse N. Smith, Sanford Porter, Andrew Jensen, Elizabeth Williams, John D. Lee, Orson F. Whitney, Franklin S. Richards, J. B. Toronto, James H. Moyle, William S. Godbe, William Spry, Daniel Wells, and Abraham H. Cannon.

You can read the actual phrenology report done for David Mulholland at the link below.


This link will take you to a bit of history on the enthusiasm surrounding phrenology amongst the Mormons.


The Story of Us: the Root Family

Jasper and Lillie Root on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Ernie, Margie, Ray, Glen, Russell, Gordon, Viola, Jessie, Jack with their parents Jasper and Lillie Root. 

An amazing collection of stories and history of the Root Family compiled by Roy, Leon and others making contributions. You can order the books from the Lulu self publishing website.

"In the Beginning"  The history of the Root family and Gray family from their beginnings in England, and their role in the early history of the United States and on to Canada.  This is volume one with 247 pages.


"Alberta: a time to reflect"   The stories of the family of Jasper and Lillie Root collected through interviews, photos and documents.  This is volume two with 515 pages.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Family History Goals: a reboot

I'm back for a weekly shift at the Family History Centre. This is something I enjoy doing but it was something of a "there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven" situation. I took a break while I was working with the young women in my church and thoroughly enjoyed that opportunity but I am no longer doing that and so I can return to my Tuesday nights virtually digging up relatives. The time to once again make doing this work a part of my week has come again.

I have struggled to have clear research goals or a consistent plan for addressing the gaps in my family tree.  I also have been remiss in sharing what I have both in terms of records, photos and research alongside updates on my activity. There is so much to do but for so long I only worked on the low hanging fruit. A lot of the easiest tasks are done. Or so it may seem, but I know there is still much to do to link sources, add images and stories and make connections. It is much harder to find new people to add to the families but there are many opportunities to do that as well. I need a plan!

It helps to know that there are others who don't have the time but who enjoy seeing the pictures or learning about the stories when I get to post. I appreciate those comments and the extensions people add to the conversation.

So here we are again. I have a number of posts in various stages of development in my draft folder. There are posts about Salt Lake City Then and Now, the Griswolds, The Story of Us published, Phrenology Readings and David Mulholland, and posts about new tools and training for doing family history. But all of these need more details or better pictures or a lot of research to complete the story. So it may be a while before you get to learn about Dousabelle or how David Mulholland was told his many fears were groundless.

So I will try to post weekly. Try to do some research regularly. And then to share with others what I am learning.

If you want to join the party, come visit the Family History Centre on Tuesday nights. Or post a comment, ask a question, set up a tree on FamilySearch. What would you like me to share? What is a question you have wondered about? Do you have a shoebox squirrelled away with some treasures?  I enjoy doing this no matter who is paying attention but how much more fun it is when someone else is interested in it as well.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Hannah Toone Puzey with her first two children, my mom Sheila and her little sister Sandra.

After a lovely Mother's day with a talk in church by Sister Anne Tingle that made me remember this talk I had transcribed from my grandmother, I realized I had only typed it up but had never shared it with my family. So here it is as best as I could compile it. It wasn't given on Mother's Day but it certainly fitting. 

Talk given in Champion, Alberta by Hannah Toone Puzey in 1963. 

[Typed on 5x8 inch notecards. Red type included. Some typing errors were corrected in this transcription. Where some parts of the talk referenced text not included on the note cards, I have located external sources that may reflect some of the missing content. This will be in italics]  

Motherhood ….March 25, 1963

There are three words that sweetly blend,
That on the heart are graven
A precious soothing balm they lend
They are Mother, Home and Heaven.
Mother the word itself has a Magical sound …. As I think of Mothers through the years, happy peaceful kindly thoughts arise… Patience, self-sacrifice, denial, courage, tenderness and love.
There was Eve, and Sara, and Rachel and Hannah and Ruth, Esther and Mary and oh so many others.
Yes, through the years, Mothers have guided and inspired and played such significant parts in the lives of their children as fame has been attained by them.  This emulation and praise, they have not sought nor indeed clamored after with an eagerness for acclaim and recognition.

Twas Emerson who said, ‘Men are what their mothers make them.’

You remember Abraham Lincoln’s famous “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel Mother.” It was also he who said, “ A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know won’t hurt me.”

And one of the early reformers said, “My mother was the source from which I derived the guiding principles of my life.”  [John Wesley]

Thomas Edison issues this tribute, “ My mother was the making of me; she was so true, so sure of me that I felt that I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

And I cannot refrain from relating here this experience of a mother’s love and encouragement. (Enrico Caruso)  [ Retrieved from WikipediaCaruso's father, Marcellino, was a mechanic and foundry worker. Initially, Marcellino thought his son should adopt the same trade, and at the age of 11, the boy was apprenticed to a mechanical engineer named Palmieri who constructed public water fountains. … At his mother's insistence, he also attended school for a time, receiving a basic education under the tutelage of a local priest. He learned to write in a handsome script and studied technical draftsmanship. During this period he sang in his church choir, and his voice showed enough promise for him to contemplate a possible career in music.  Caruso was encouraged in his early musical ambitions by his mother, who died in 1888.]

Yes, in the shadow of every great man’s fame walks his mother.  Let us together recall a Mother or two for whom we can be eternally grateful.  First I am thinking of a stalwart strong loyal woman.  One who had great faith in a grandfather’s prediction when he said, “It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.”
This mother struggled through disappointment, sorrows and rigors that most of us can only imagine.  She sacrificed as only a mother can and saw her husband and many of her children pass on before her.  Two of her sons murdered in cold blood.  Yet her faith buoyed her on… she poured out her heart in gratitude to God for her blessings… She acknowledged His hand in the trials she suffered and the persecutions she endured. Her history is a record of a truly great Christian life.  An inspiration and guide and a comfort to all who study her biography.  She experienced great pride and joy in the knowledge and realization that she was the mother of the Prophet of God.  Yet she was called upon to pay the full price for this glorious privilege… poverty, persecution, trials and sorrows of the bitterest kind were to be her lot.  She was Lucy Mack Smith… Mother of the Prophet Joseph

Lucy Mack Smith
And now I have just completed reading the life of a very wonderful man.  His mother was a Scot.  Her life is a record of difficulties and triumphs.  She was a heroine of her day.  No trial, however severe, dampened her zeal, nothing embittered or disturbed her faith.  She endured, without murmur, hardships, hunger and toil.  Her faith in God was wonderful, almost perfect.  She was unusually susceptible to the whisperings of the still small voice.  Listen to her diary… (page 19/20).

 [in lieu of this missing reference, you can read of her experiences here. http://www.cardonfamilies.org/Histories/MargaretMcNeilBallard_Autobiography.html]

Yes this is Margaret McNeil Ballard, the mother of 11 children.  She died July 21, 1918.  Her life was crowned with sacrifice and service, a truly noble, wonderful woman.  No small wonder that her son Melvin J. was such an inspiring Apostle.

And again, There is a sweet little lady who visited in our home many times when I was a youngster.  She is a granddaughter of President Brigham Young and a Pioneer Canada Baby.  She lived and endured all of the excitements and hardships of pioneer life in a new country.  She recalls often the humble log cabin which was her home in Cardston as a small girl.  She has known the heartaches of war as her husband served his country and her son was killed while serving as a pilot in the RCAF. What happy memories we have of her and her family as we often spent our holidays together in the hills west of Claresholm fishing, a sport my father loved.
She has been a guide and blessing to her husband and family and of her and his mother her husband has said, “ I cannot refrain from speaking of my angel mother who, when I was a little child, had faith in my destiny and all through my life helped me to believe and try to be worthy of it… I would be ungrateful if I did not acknowledge that Zina Card Brown, my beloved wife, is more responsible for my being here today than I.. To these two women, I am profoundly grateful and thank God for their lives and their influence on my life.”

Zina Card Brown

And I think again of another mother who came to this new country as a young bride, who lived the first winter in a tent banked to withstand the cold blizzards, one who faithfully served the Lord in building up His kingdom here.  I well remember her services in the Relief Society in times of births and deaths.  Many times when no doctor could arrive, she attended the Mother and the new born babe and all this on top of her responsibilities of a mother with 6 sons and 3 daughters.  I recall her enthusiastic reports of experiences as she served as Stake Primary President and had many exciting time s with President Brown in the early days of our Stake as she travelled from Burdett to Rosemary to Calgary, Champion and Stavely.  One time with her son Leo, a baby of 3 months, the sleigh upset on way to Pine Coulee with Sister Standford but they filled the assignment.
She entertained many Church Leaders in her home as her husband served as Bishop of the Starline Ward and Champion Branch. Whiskers frozen.  Later on the High Council and as Patriarch.
Through disappointments, privations illness and death, I’ve never heard her complain.  At the death of her husband nearly 26 years ago, it was she who comforted and carried on.

Yes I must strive always 

To make my standards of life noble and fine 
With you for a mother, dear mother of mine… Bessie Toone.

Bessie Toone in her rock garden

President McKay has said,
If you order a white carnation, your mother will be pleased.
If you write her a letter of appreciation and love, she’ll shed tears of happiness.
But if you keep the spotless character and purity of soul she has given you, she will rejoice as the most blessed of mothers.
Yes, a Mother’s heart is always with her children.

President Joseph F. Smith has said, “Every boy thinks or should think that his mother is the best… the noblest woman in the world.  When that mother has in her heart the love of the Gospel and is devoted to the Church, then her example and teachings deeply impress her teachings.”  [note: see back but nothing was written there]
Yes as our President has said,  “True Motherhood is one of the answers to the world’s greatest need. “

I’m thankful for my dear wonderful mother and pray that our Father in Heaven will bless Mothers everywhere.


I'm blessed to be a daughter, grand daughter and great granddaughter of wonderful mothers. To end off, here's a picture of me with all 3 of these women I have to look up to!

Mom, Grandma and Great Grandma (or Sheila Rhodes, Hannah Puzey and Bessie Toone) with me!