Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Family History in This Last Dispensation

Being compiled by Scott Hepworth, 3 Aug 1949, son of Joseph Leland Hepworth (19 first convert ancestors) & Anna Mae Graham (13 first convert ancestors) – subject to ongoing research and edit

Why Do This?                                                                                                          
The Greatest Purpose                                                                                       
What’s in a Name?                                                                                          
“Run of the Mill” – Famous and Infamous – All Are Alike Unto God               
Where We Start and How We Procede                                                            
Who Really Cares?                                                                                          
Patience and Perseverence                                                                               
Tasks at Hand                                                                                                 
1820 Ancestors in pedigree chart order from top to bottom                             
List of 32 First Converts in order of baptism                                                   
Geographic Distribution – starting with those closest to Palmyra                   
Spring 1820 Family Introductions – starting with those baptized first               
How We Connect Chronologically in This Dispensation                               
1820-1839, Early Church History: 5 Families and 11 First Converts
Family of Alpheus and Anna Nash Gifford                                                     
Family of Enos and Ruth Franklin Curtis                                                         
Family of Edmund and Magdalena (Lana) Pickle Durfee                                      
Family of Welcome Susan Amelia Risley Chapman                                     
Family of Josiah Wilson and Pernecia Jane Lee Adair Hawkins                                
1840-1850, Nauvoo Period and Exodus: 5 Families of 10 First Converts          
Family of John and Eliza Roberts Cox                                                                 
Family of Daniel Arnold and Clarissa Pond Miller                                        
Family of Edmund Zebulon and Adelia Rider Carbine                                       
Family of James, Hannah Tucker Reed, Christianna Gregory Graham                
Family of William and Margaret Pettigreen Hope Williams                           
1850-1860, After Saints in the West: 5 Families of 11 First Converts             
Family of Joseph and Mary Hurst Hepworth                                                  
Family of Henry William and Elizabeth Tyler Babbitt                                     
Family of Johann Martien Jochim and Maria Catharina Faasch Germer        
Families of John Bradley, Susan Arbon Catmull, Thomas, Mary Chandler    
Griffin/Wilson Families (Lorraine’s ancestry)                                                
General, National, World History                                                                   
Index of Contributors                                                                                     
Appendices, Bibliography, Index, etc.                                                            
Vision of this Project, this Ongoing Work                                                      

Next steps:
1.         Share with family, then contributors, emailed Word file and Google Drive.  Sent 11/6/13.
2.         Continue to research, fact-check, edit and add more posted stories and photos from FSFT. 
3.         Zero in on a particular family, e.g., Williams, and with the help of a direct descendant collaborator, develop their story.
4.         Develop all family stories, expanding family summaries (pp. 14-22), using sequence (pp. 22-28), adding other children and spouses, per FSFT, adding from, integrating story line content from life stories (pp. 35-363), adding as more are posted. 
5.         Handle increasing volume as certain families and time periods, 1820-1830, 1830-1840, 1840-1850, 1850-1900, expand ahead of others, perpetually editing, separating volumes for families of first converts in:
1.         Leland’s ancestry, 7 families, 4 early, 1 mid, 2 later, _____pp.
2.         Anna Mae’s ancestry, 8 families, 5 mid, 3 later, _____pp.
3.         Lorraine’s ancestry, 7 families, recent, _____pp.
6.         Add facts re:  growth of Church, RKM and I from HCK & AG, our Nauvoo photos, stories from new Library, experiences of families converted in each of three periods, early (4),  mid 6), and later (5).

7.         Three concurrent themes:  (1) working for a living, (2) laboring for Zion, and (3) making choices to grow up to the Lord.

Why Do This?

Three years ago, before Family Search Family Tree (FSFT) became what it is now, and at Elder Ballard’s invitation to “Share the Gospel Using the Internet” (BYU-H, 12/15/07), I posted to share stories and invite interaction, then stopped when I learned of FSFT’s future.  Now that FSFT has become the resource we need to post stories and photos and interact with one another for the purpose of getting temple ordinance work done, we need to use it for all its worth and clean it up and help others do as well. 
This collection, just a small beginning to part of our family’s contribution to the Book of Life, is dedicated to stimulating interest in FSFT and its much more productive use.  I anticipate putting this collection online to facilitate input and interaction with others on specifics, but with the goal of contributing much more to FSFT.  
This collection is loosely organized around the chronological history in this dispensation of the families of the first converts to the Church in our ancestry:
1.      The early Church history period, roughly 1820-1840, then
2.      The Nauvoo and Exodus period, roughly 1840-1850, followed by
3.      The period after Saints arrived in the West to the 20th Century, 1850-1900. 
We also have a separate file beyond this collection that picks up with the first half of the 20th century, with more detailed accounts of our grandparents and parents, and continues with our life journey starting roughly in the second half of the 20th century to the present.  Since our missions, our journal is organized year to year, and still has much to be added from handwritten letters and journal entries, with the help of voice recognition software. 
This collection incorporates stories and photos for each of 15 extended families in Scott’s lines and 7 extended families in Lorraine’s lines.  Over time, these will be developed into more comprehensive histories to the present.

Much data herein, including ordinance work, need to be updated.  The current focus is on getting raw content assembled and somewhat organized, fact checking where feasible, with more systematic fact checking iterations to follow, including ongoing analysis and editing as more information comes to light.  We are thankful for continuing revelation.

The Greatest Purpose

On that special Spring day in 1820, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times began with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph near Palmyra, New York. 

Ten years later, on April 6, 1830, under the direction of the Lord, the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Church of Jesus Christ in the Whitmer home, in Fayette, NY.
Six years later, in the Kirtland Temple, on Sunday, April 3, 1836, in a glorious vision, Joseph and Oliver saw the prophet Elijah (D&C 110:13–16). The coming of Elijah was so important that ancient prophet Malachi prophesied of it centuries earlier, and the Savior repeated the prophecy to the Nephites (Malachi 4:5–6; 3 Nephi 25:5–6; 26:1–2).
Elijah committed to Joseph and Oliver the keys of sealing—the power to bind and validate in heaven all ordinances performed on earth. The restoration of the sealing power was necessary to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming, for without it, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith—History 1:39).
The manifestation of the Holy Ghost we know as the Spirit of Elijah fills us with desire to do more in this Work of Redemption, especially as we seriously think of the words repeated in the scriptures that without Elijah returning to restore the keys of sealing, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, the whole earth would be smitten with a curse, utterly wasted, at the Second Coming. 

How marvelous to know the keys of this dispensation are held by Living Prophets and that this all important work of sealing is going on in our temples now all over the world.

We are encouraged, often in Patriarchal blessings, to prepare a book of remembrance.  This contributes to our desire to see that the sacred work of the holy temple is done for all of the children of God, that the whole earth will not be utterly wasted. 

To this most desirable end, we can make much better use of FSFT and all the resources available to us, gradually improving the accuracy and completeness of information needed to see that all vital ordinances are completed to the satisfaction of the Lord.  

What’s in a Name?

Our last names in our culture give us unique identity.  While we may feel closer to ancestors who share the same last name, reality is we descend biologically and are influenced by all ancestors, whatever their names and varied circumstances. 

As we go back through the generations, each line of ancestry shares an equality of influence on our genetic make-up, our DNA, which directly affects physical and non-physical aspects of our lives, personality, and other attributes. 

We are just as big a part of each of them as we are part of those whose name our culture dictates we use as a last name.  And each of them, regardless of their name, is equally important to us when it comes to family history and temple work.  If all are alike unto God, surely all of our ancestors are alike unto us.

“Run of the Mill” – Famous and Infamous – All Are Alike Unto God

Most of our ancestors are not famous, but are “run of the mill” every day people of their times and locales, often humble and poor by modern standards.  Here and there someone or some family rose above the norm, prospered above average, or achieved greater prominence, but most lived lives of relative obscurity beyond their own families and neighbors, getting along, getting by, with times of joy amid times of hardship, like most of us, experiencing the vicissitudes of life. 

Those who responded to the invitation to come unto Christ and enter into the New and Everlasting Covenant made choices that blessed their lives spiritually and enriched the lives of their posterity forever.  To them, and to all of our progenitors, we are indebted.  They were not only co-creators with God in bringing us into mortality, but helped us get on the path to eternal life. 

My prayer is that we will all receive and act upon the Gifts our Heavenly Father has provided to help us grow up, to learn to exercise our individual agency to make wise choices, to follow the best set of instructions, guidelines, and invitations available in all the universe, to grow in faith, meekness, humility, purity, kindness, and charity, to partake of the divine nature, the attributes of godliness, following the Savior in submitting to the will of the Father, to fulfill the measure of our creation, grace for grace, eventually becoming all that our Heavenly Parents desire for us.  

Where We Start and How We Proceed

What follows is the beginning of an effort to learn more about our ancestral families in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, where and how they lived in the Spring of 1820, then follow their lives and the lives of their posterity over the decades of the 19th century.  More detailed family history from the 20th century on is a separate collection.

This is intended to be a working document, with notes and questions and references and links to online resources, highlighting items needing attention, focused on encouraging much better use of FSFT to complete and refine the immense work to be done. 

“Family History and Temple Work” is so extensive that it tends to overwhelm.  It deserves more than 2% of members now contributing meaningfully, mostly FH consultants, to accomplish more sooner than later.  Dennis Brimhall, managing director of the Church Family History Department, has the goal of 10% participation.  He knows that photos and stories are the key to getting more hearts engaged. 

Since FSFT added features for posting photos and stories in mid-2013, I turned more time to that effort, eager for more people to post more stories and photos. 

This is a quick start to begin to gather, compile, synthesize, and edit more stories and photos and other source documents for vital data to complete ordinances for all the ancestors and descendants of 22 ancestral families (15 for Scott, 7 for Lorraine) living in 1820 organized around the “first converts” in our ancestry, and follow them to the present as much as possible. 

This will help us work more broadly and deeply on FSFT within the timeframe of this last dispensation, as well as extend back over prior generations.  Ideally, we identify and interact with more collaborating distant cousins now living as we all share stories and photos of common ancestry, anticipating still more hearts turning.

We long to do more research, writing and many other things, especially temple work.  We try to take to the temple each week more ordinances that need to be done.  We share baptisms and confirmations with grandchildren who serve in the temple.  We share much with the temple department for other temples while doing sealing ordinances in the Oakland Temple with people who do not bring their own family names and we happen to be short on temple names for proxy sealings. 

All serious researchers are of huge value to this work.  My wife is new to FH, and inclined to be a thorough researcher, as she learns the ropes. 

Her parents, Aylwin William Griffin and Mary Ann Forsyth Wilson, are the first converts in their family lines, joining the Church when Lorraine was five years old, so there is much less duplication and inaccuracy in her online database of family history than there is in the online database of family history I inherited as a 7th-generation Mormon, with 32 first converts in my ancestry, all 16 great great grandparents being members of the Church, a number receiving their ordinances in the Nauvoo Temple.  

We rejoice over the vast improvements in tools and resources available to us to do this work, especially compared to how prior generations did their genealogy. 

As FSFT shows more and more photos and stories as well as everything else it does and will yet do, and as more indexing and other digitizing is done, and as more people participate, we will gradually get more crucial source documentation for better clarification of important details, until the remaining “unknowns” will be made known during the Millenium as our ancestors introduce themselves and give us what we need. 

Those who are experienced know this, but for the many people who may not, we can illustrate the need for greater clarification from source docs with an email received from a newly found distant cousin (Fae Hepworth Winsor, 10/10/13), saying:  

I will start with John and Eliza Cox.  Just wondering on the baptism date of 1839.  I found where Daniel Browett baptized John.  But Daniel was baptized by Wilford Woodruff in 1840.  Daniel was a minister in the United Brethren and John was friends with Daniel and Robert Harris. 

1st question: Was John baptized into the United Brethren in 1839?
Of course I don't have that source. Church records have 1839. And since that is the temple work date does it really matter?  According to Robert Harris' journal they came to America together. 

2nd question:  The pension records for Eliza to get John's pension said they were married in 1836 by a parson in the Church of England.  Could this be where it was interpreted as him being a parson?  John's and Eliza's marriage license both have a X for the signing of their name.  Could John read even tho he couldn't write?

Also in the pension records she said she had 12 children.  I have birth records for Elizabeth chr in Apperley, Gloucestershire, England on 14 May 1837 where John was a laborer and Ann chr on 10 Nov 1839. She was born 13 Oct 1839 in Apperley where John was still a laborer. Deerhurst, England film # 099128 and #425393. I think these films might be on the internet now.

My mom said she remembered the people talking in Springdale about the baby that was buried at sea coming to America.  I have been thinking about this family for a long time and I have a lot of questions.

They came to America in 1841 on the ship Echo. They were registered as John, 35, Elizabeth, 33 and Ann, 7. This could also be wrong. Daniel came on the same ship.

Who Really Cares?

While only my siblings and I, and our four children and 18 grandchildren share my full family history, and only my wife and her siblings and our four children and 18 grandchildren share her full history, the number of living distant cousins who share portions of this history of 22 families, might be tens to hundreds of thousands. 

If we could ever identify all living descendants by carefully working down through the generations, we’d have a real count at a point in time.  Appendix A shows an approach to estimating how many now living may have descended from at least part of our ancestry alive when this dispensation began.

Of course, a few dozen couples with descendants now living are a very tiny portion of all who were alive when this Last Dispensation began in 1820. 

This effort for our very extended family is just a tiny speck, and just another modest template, for the grander masterpiece to be painted by the combined efforts of representatives of all the families of the earth blessed by the Kingdom of God. 

Many of the “now living” descendants of these 1820 ancestors are not now members of the Church.  Many who are members are not now active.  Some may be at least initially disinterested.  Even many who are active are not now participating meaningfully in family history and temple work.  So, what an opportunity for improvement!

Following the inviting words of our living prophet, we can reach out to rescue, and turn even more hearts of the children to their fathers, bearing all manner of wonderful fruit!

Many children do not survive to maturity or do not marry and have children of their own during in this life.  But every person is a son or daughter of Heavenly Parents who love them so much that They want each child to grow up and enjoy all that is possible for them.  Each is known to Them and each will have the opportunity to enjoy the fullness the Father offers His children, subject to their use of individual agency and choice. 

Because the fullness of the offering of Heavenly Parents involves couples and families, this work places special emphasis on couples and families.