Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Finding the Missing Pioneers: A Case Study

Finding the Missing Pioneers: A Case Study

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 26, 2010

For a dozen years or so, dozens of church service missionaries (under the overall supervision of Mel Bashore, and for at least six years under the day-to-day development of missionaries Judy and David Wood) have worked to identify all Mormon pioneers who gathered to Zion, whether from east or west, before the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad. J. Stapley has written a great overview of the resulting Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database as Beautiful Are the Feet.

Perhaps two-thirds of the pioneers have been identified and placed in their travel companies, but thousands remain to be found, usually one traveler or one family at a time. Whenever I run across a reference to the date someone arrived in Utah, I’m in the habit of checking the database to be sure they are listed. Usually they are. But when they are not, I always spend a few minutes or a few hours finding sufficient information to list them. Some people like crosswords or soduku; I like solving the puzzles of the pioneers.

Yesterday I read an account of a pioneer anniversary party given in 1894 at the Saltair resort on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. The account included this paragraph;

Those who played in the band at Saltair for Brother Dobson’s dance on this day were, Phil Margetts, who came to Utah in 1850; Harrison Sperrey, a ’47er; Ebenezer Beesley, who emigrated to the valley in 1859; Hop. C. Pender, of the 1850 emigration, and Wm. H. Foster and Joshua Midgley, both of whom first saw Utah in 1852.

(“The Pioneers Celebrate at Saltair,” Millennial Star, 17 September 1894, 604-606.)

Ah! A whole list of pioneers and the years, if not the companies, in which they traveled! Three minutes later, I had verified five of the six men listed; they were on the database, and the years matched. But the sixth – Hop. C. Pender – was not there.

I needed simultaneously to find out his complete name, and also to be sure he wasn’t listed on the database under a name variant. “Hop.” was evidently a nickname, and it didn’t turn up any matches on FamilySearch nor on World Connect, my favorite non-Mormon database. I looked at all the Penders in any year on the Overland Travel database, then all the Pinders, and Benders, and Binders – no luck.

But the Overland Travel database also allows searches by partial names, so I searched “Hop” as a first name with no last name; one of the hits was for “Hop Penler,” a suspiciously close match, especially since a handwritten “d” might be mistaken for a handwritten “l”; likewise, a “d” typed on a typewriter with a worn-out ribbon might be misread as an “l.” The reference was to a teamster in an 1861 down-and-back company, which didn’t match my Millennial Star reference to 1850 – but down-and-back teamsters were sent from Salt Lake Valley with teams and wagons to pick up new immigrants, which meant that “Hop Penler,” referred to as a fiddler of Cache Valley, had emigrated to Utah sometime before 1861.

Next I turned to the 1850 census (taken in 1851 in Utah), and searched for Pender (I used, a popular subscription site available through the Family History Library). Bingo! Up popped a hit for “Hopkins Pender” and a woman and child who were evidently his wife and daughter. Given the baby’s age of 2 and her Iowa birthplace, the baby was a pioneer as much as her parents, and all three needed to be researched and added to the database.

Now equipped with Hop’s probable complete first name of “Hopkins,” I was able to search FamilySearch again and find several listings for him – some for Hopkins “Choir” Pender and others for Hopkins “Carl” Pender. I suspect that “Carl” is correct, but that is beyond the scope of research for the Overland Travel database. Birthplaces were given variously as Bedford County, England, and Bedford County, Tennessee (again, beyond the scope of the database, but an indication of the kinds of errors that sloppy genealogists have created and that good family historians need to straighten out; the census indicates that Tennessee is correct). Hop Pender’s birthdate was consistent. One record named three wives, one of whom was Mary Jenette Drake. No birth date was given, but “Mary” at least matched the family group on the 1850 census. Melissa and her birth date were also found (as was the name of her husband, which would help in finding Melissa’s death date).

Back to the census, and a quick follow-up through the years. Mary appears variously as Mary and Janet, but probably because Hop was a polygamist her identity is masked on some censuses and she is not enumerated with him in all years. Hop lived long enough to appear on the 1910 census but not the 1920. Melissa appears on the 1920 census but not the 1930.

With those rough dates as a guideline, it made sense to check the Utah Burials Search. All three were located there: Hopkins and Mary (listed as Jenette Drake Pender) are buried in Centerville, Utah, and Melissa Pender Groot, who died in Idaho, was buried with her husband in Salt Lake City. Death or burial dates are given for both Hop and Melissa, but not for Mary.

As a last check to be sure I had pieced the family together correctly, and to seek confirmation of the date the family arrived in Utah, a search of the Utah Digital Newspapers Project turned up an obituary for Hop:


Hopkins C. Pender, Who Played Violin at Hundreds of Ward Dances, Is No More.

Hopkins C. Pender, for years known as the “pioneer fiddler” of Utah, died at the home of E. Cherpillod, 132-1/2 West South Temple street, yesterday afternoon, of general debility. He will be buried from the Seventeenth ward meeting house Tuesday afternoon. The interment will be in the city cemetery.

The death of Mr. Pender will bring to the minds of most of the old inhabitants of Salt Lake the ward dances and the little old man with his fiddle sitting on the stand fiddling, calling and keeping time to the music with the heel of his shoe. He was born in Knoxville, Tenn., in October, 1824. At the age of 15 he joined the Mormon church, and in 1850 with his wife and one child he came to Salt Lake. From the time of his arrival until he became too feeble to use his fiddle bow, he was the chief fiddler at all of the ward dances.

Besides a large circle of friends, he leaves two daughters, Mrs. C.P. Groot of Idaho Falls [this is Melissa under her married name] and Mrs. Emma Delaney of San Francisco, and two sons, Philip Pender of Stockton, Cal., and Sell Pender of Salmon City, Ida.

(Salt Lake Herald, 3 July 1910)

There is no question that Hopkins is our fiddler from the 1894 party, as well as the fiddling teamster named in the 1861 pioneer company. The obituary also confirms his date of immigration to Utah, although it does not identify the company.

So, all that remains to be done is to click the “Submit Information” link on the Overland Travel site, and fill in the form: My name and contact information, check. Pioneer’s first and last names: Hopkins Carl Pender, check. Birth and death dates, check. Age at time of migration, check. Company: regrettably, “unknown.” Source of information: Citations to the Millennial Star article and the Salt Lake Herald obituary; to the 1850 [1851] census of Utah; the IGI and Ancestral File; and the Utah Burials Index.

Under “other comments,” I will point to the misspelling of “Hop Penler’s” name in the 1861 company. I will note that the obituary indicates that Hopkins’ wife and daughter arrived as pioneers with him, and that they both appear on the 1850 census of Utah. I will list their names, with complete dates for Melissa and incomplete ones for Mary (estimating her date of birth from her age on the 1850 census).

And in a day or three, when Sister Wood has time to do it, the Pender family will be added to the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database.

In a way, it’s like the Pender family has been gathered again.



  1. Great work, Ardis! And a fascinating detective story.


    Comment by Mark B. — January 26, 2010 @ 7:14 am

  2. Thanks for posting this fun story. I’m still trying to pin down the details of one of my own–Ellen Hall Bardsley Fergus and her infant son William Fergus ca. 1855. They might be the Emma and William Bardsley listed with the Charles Harper company leaving Mormon Grove for SLC Jul 25-31, 1855. But we’re only halfway there. And the mythical “James Fergus” father of William remains a mystery.

    We know when Ellen left England in 1854, when her PEF group arrived in New Orleans and went upriver to St. Louis. But then she disappears from view until she’s in Utah in 1857 with a son supposedly born in 1855 in St. Louis. Who knew a poor English widow could create such a mystery between leaving Manchester and arriving in Utah!

    Good thing we like puzzles, ’cause this one’s been a family puzzler for over 100 years!

    Comment by Rob — January 26, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  3. Hip, hip! Hooray!

    What a great read — and happy ending. I loved this.

    Comment by Hunter — January 26, 2010 @ 8:49 am

  4. Wonderful post. It’s amazing what you can do and how you can track down people like this. Thank you for the primer into pioneer-era research!

    Comment by Researcher — January 26, 2010 @ 9:29 am

  5. A sterling research job, Ardis, well done! Isn’t it fantastic, too, the amount of sources you can now search without leaving your computer?

    Comment by Alison — January 26, 2010 @ 9:58 am

  6. Ardis,
    What an interesting piece of detective work. While serving in the library as a CSM, I got the idea that since some of the soldiers that came to Utah with the army in 1857-58 left the army, joined the church and married LDS girls and settled in the area, they qualified as “pioneers”. I posed the idea to Mel Bashore and he said: “Submit them.”

    I picked my two favorites (for which I had details close at hand): Carl Heinrich Wilcken and John Eugene Rozsa. Wilcken was a Prussian soldier who joined the 4th Artillery in New York and ended up at Fort Bridger where he deserted and was “captured” by the Nauvoo Legion, brought into the Valley and the rest is fascinating and well-documented history. John Eugene Rozsa (Rosa, in army records) was a Hungarian who enlisted in the 10th Infantry and came into the Valley as a sergeant in Co. “E” of that regiment. He met and married Patience Loader of Lehi, survivor of the Martin Handcart Company, having been baptized a day earlier. In 1861, he and Patience went with the regiment to Washington DC. While John fought in Virginia in the Civil War, Patience managed a boarding house in the city. After the war, they and their children headed back to Utah. John died near Fort Kearny and Patience and their children came back to Lehi. Elder Wood was satisfied there were adequate records on both these soldiers to justify their inclusion in the overland travel database where they can now be found.

    There are other Utah War soldiers who stayed in Utah and joined the Church. They also qualify but are waiting for the gathering of qualifying documents for their submittal. It’s a bit like submitting ancestral names to Temple Ready. I need to push myself.

    Comment by Curt A. — January 26, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  7. Why not just take the entire 1851 census and include that in the Overland DB? If they were in Utah that early, doesn’t that automatically qualify them as pioneers?

    Comment by Clark — January 26, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  8. Found a temple record this morning for Mary Jennette Drake Pender, listing her birthdate as 26 September 1831 (I had reported it as “about 1832”). So I’ve sent that addendum along to the project, too.

    Thank you for your comments. As Alison notes, so much is available on the computer. I’m hoping that accounts like this one will show Keepa’ninnies who haven’t yet dived in to the fun of research how it can be done, even if you can’t get to the library, even if you only have a few spare minutes here and there. It isn’t always this easy — as Rob’s search for his Ellen Fergus proves — but sometimes it *is* this easy, if only you know a few sources to check.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 26, 2010 @ 10:27 am

  9. Ardis, So good to see you are still busy furthering Family History and leaving no stone unturned.
    I hope to meet up with you sometime when I am in Utah. I truly appreciate all the research you have done on John Perjue from Marysvale (I still need to send you a pic of him).
    Lisa Slade

    Comment by Lisa Slade — January 26, 2010 @ 10:33 am

  10. Excellent work.

    Since you brought it up, let me follow up on one of your observations:

    the kinds of errors that sloppy genealogists have created and that good family historians need to straighten out

    I run across contradictory information in NewFamilySearch all the time, but get little support in trying to clean it up. The attitude seems to be, spend your time finding people who’s work has not been done and don’t worry about where somebody whose work has been done was actually born. How do you respond to that? Are they right?

    Comment by Last Lemming — January 26, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  11. Go, Curt! You’ve done some fantastic work on those soldiers and soldier-converts so far, I know.

    Clark, different missionaries have tackled different related projects, like taking that 1850 [1851] census of Utah, and the 1860 and 1870 censuses of Iowa (looking for families with children born in Utah, indicating that they were pioneers who returned east), and it’s likely that one of those missionaries would eventually have found the Penders if I hadn’t gotten there first.

    But while all those people do count as pioneers, we can’t just dump their names into the database — the idea is to identify the *year* each person came, with the specific company if at all possible, and that isn’t recorded on the census. This database documents the process of travel over the trail, unlike the projects of the DUP and SUP which are satisfied with knowing *that* a person was a pioneer, regardless of specifically *when* they pioneered.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 26, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  12. (Comments keep getting trapped as spam or in the mod queue, accounting for the weird way in which I am responding.)

    LL, I suppose we’re talking about two different things here. Far more essential than knowing that someone was a pioneer, or which company he traveled with, is identifying him sufficiently to do temple ordinances. So I suppose I can agree to a limited extent with giving priority to that goal above straightening out certain factual errors.

    But my whole focus as a Mormon, Utah, and family historian is and always will be *accuracy*. It matters that the records are straight, it matters that rumors and traditions be traced to their origin, it matters that folklore be recognized for what it is (and either squelched or celebrated, as appropriate). In the case of family records, it *matters* that they are accurate, that you are confident that sealings are correct, that you are confident that ordinances have in fact been completed.

    All the same, I can’t in good conscience recommend that anybody spend an inordinate amount of time trying to straighten out the disaster that is New Family Search. PLEASE, LET’S NOT DERAIL THIS THREAD WITH HORROR STORIES, but anybody who has spent any time working to correct the muddle there knows that your sloppy fool of a cousin or brother-in-law can come along the very next day and undo all your hard work by merging three generations of Hannahs into one person. Far better to make sure that your personal records in your personal database are accurate than to waste effort with New Family Search.

    Hi, Lisa! The tale of Jack Perjue doesn’t really fit here on Keepa, but your mention of him reminds me that he could make a very good Tribune column one of these days. I’d love the picture if you’d share (keepapitchinin [at] aol [dot] com or any other address you’ve had for me in the past — they’re all still current.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 26, 2010 @ 11:04 am

  13. Surely you’ve written about one of the men Curt A. mentions above; wasn’t Wilcken an ancestor of a recent contender for the office of President of the United States? Yep…

    Comment by Researcher — January 26, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  14. My experience with New Family Search has also been disheartening, but has prompted me to do some additional research on when my father’s family first came to Denmark from Germany, and as you indicate, accuracy is everything. Fascinating write up here about the Overland Travel database. I’ve found it to be a valuable resource in my limited research, and have uncovered a couple of gems that need further investigation, including some liens against the equipment of the Deseret Telegraph that was carried back to Utah in 1866. It’s also been a good source of some additional information about several members of my own family. The Digital Newspaper Archive also has turned out to be invaluable as well, though sometimes it is a bit clunky to use.

    Comment by kevinf — January 26, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  15. Bless you for the great work Ardis. Tremendous.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 26, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  16. Thanks for remembering, Researcher. Also, Patience and John Rosza figured slightly in another post:

    kevinf, you’ve got the bug. You’ve got it bad, man. And I hope they never find the cure!

    Thanks, J. Everybody does a little bit, and before you know it we have this massive tribute to those brave people that no one person could ever have managed.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 26, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  17. Thanks for the play-by-play. I’ve done no historical work myself, so it was fun to see how you actually do it.

    Comment by Amy — January 26, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

  18. The next step, Amy, is for me to tempt you to try it yourself!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 26, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  19. I am so in awe of Ardis’ skillz.

    Comment by Mommie Dearest — January 26, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  20. A couple of years ago, one of our Regional Family History consultants gave us some important advice about the New Family Search. He said that before you go about merging people there, you should Know Your Family.

    Umm. Yeah. I have about a double handful of ancestors with 8-12 children each. From each wife. I must have well over ten thousand second, third, and fourth cousins, all over Utah and eastern Arizona.

    At the time, I was looking at a pedigree chart that was completely filled out (with only a half dozen missing people) for seven generations back, and thinking to myself, Who are these people?

    I started doing skeletal reconstructions of family histories based the kind of information on Family Group Sheets, verifying it as much as possible from Census records. Even that little helps a great deal in turning dry lists of names into real people. It also helps to know whether brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins and grandparents were living or dead, near or far.

    I’ve made some (to me) fascinating discoveries, and expect to make more as I broaden my search beyond just the census records and shared pedigrees. Do you have any particular suggestions for a good next step, Ardis?

    Comment by Confutus — January 27, 2010 @ 3:14 am

  21. I can certainly understand the kind of intellectual pleasure you get from this Ardis and it is also nice that you get more than that too. I hope “nice” didn’t sound like faint praise snarking, I’m just not sure what word to use. I have mixed feelings about LDS work for the dead, but I am starting to appreciate its meaningfulness for others.

    It’s a complicated subject and well beyond the scope of appropriate Keepa commentary, I know. But, I felt “moved” to mention it in light of the way you describe your work. Both your plea for accuracy and your encouragement to others speak of an approach to history that is pedagogical: something both secular and distinctly Mormon. And this helps me refine my own understanding of these things as I grapple with them in my own work.

    I know this probably sounds very murky and muddled. It’s impossible to do justice to it in the short space of a blog comment, never mind the potential for tripping the landmines of controversial territory. But I hope a bit of why I appreciate Keepa leaks through: I’m getting more here than just a fix for my Utah nostalgia jones. I hope I’m building a more nuanced view of things that will help my own “accuracy.”

    I’ve put that in quotes because I don’t yet have the right terms to talk about how I’m working out both an approach to history and an approach to Mormon history. “Sympathetically critical” sounds horribly disingenuous, but its the best I can do this early in the morning before I have my apostate coffee. Hopefully, though, this will read like sincere praise and I wanted to share it in public because human connection is such a very important part of your work.

    Comment by Mina — January 27, 2010 @ 6:45 am

  22. Confutus, congratulations on going beyond merely collecting names and dates that were collected by previous generations — that’s the hardest step, I think, for most people who inherit so much. Rather than try to make suggestions for the next step off the top of my head in a comment, give me a few days to marinate it, and I’ll write a post — maybe several — on bringing life back to those dry bones on the family group sheets. It can be done (that’s kind of what Keepa is, on a different scale) and it’s the part of research I love the most.

    Mina, it sounds like some kind of light bulb just went off in your brain, even if I’m not quite sure what it is. I’m more than a little pleased to be a part of it, whatever “it” turns out to be. I work without a formal theory, more a gut feeling of what works and what feeds my own not-quite-understood-or-even-expressible needs, whether it’s history or how to run a blog. You have a good sense of Keepa’s readership and purpose, I think, and as an established Keepa’ninny you’ve earned the right to explore in any direction, because you’ll be careful enough in the way you say anything that your explorations will be welcome and suitable.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 8:13 am

  23. This is exactly the kind of research I have enjoyed learning in the last two years since I first read your about you work on T&S. It was a post on a missing member of the first pioneer company. That kind of work inspired me then and continues to do so now.

    That he was a Tennesse native is just a bonus.

    I see a baptism date of 12 September 1847. Any thoughts on how to track down who performed the baptism and where? None of my usual sources include that time period. Plus this date could even be a rebaptism date, not the original.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — January 27, 2010 @ 8:38 am

  24. Thanks, Bruce — I was sure you would note the Tennessee origin, and wondered if by chance you had run across him before. I don’t know where he came in contact with the church, but since he was first baptized at 15 it could well have been while he was still at home.

    The 1847 date is certainly a rebaptism if his obituary is correct (and everything else in it checks out). It’s almost impossible to find documentation of ordinances that early — there was no established record keeping system, so finding a contemporary record almost always depends on a diary, either of the convert or the missionary. If you’re very, very lucky and your man was a member of a branch where the presiding elders did draw up a membership list, and that list has been preserved, the name of the elder performing the ordinance was often (relatively speaking) noted on that record.

    The T&S post you mention is The Case of the Missing Pioneer — hmmm. I need a new stock of title phrases, don’t I?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 9:09 am

  25. It is facinating to read how you go about searching history.

    I can relate to the comment about sloppy geneologists. Someone added a sibling into my grandmother’s family, making it look as if all the work for her family is not done. Frustrating for the family. I know one of my great aunts is trying to get it straightened out.

    Thanks for all the great blog posts.

    Comment by Karen — January 27, 2010 @ 9:35 am

  26. Thanks, Karen. I sympathize — somebody has added a fantasy child to my great-grandparents’ family, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to remove it, or even to note its fakery. The program just keeps insisting that I can’t remove it because “we preserve all opinions.” “Opinions,” my left eyebrow!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 9:41 am

  27. Ardis, you are a born teacher. This is a wonderful how-to explanation and why it’s important.

    Comment by Polly Aird — January 27, 2010 @ 11:14 am

  28. For anyone marvelling at the Church History skillz of our Lady Ardis, you are in good company. Check out this acknowledgment by author David Roberts from his recent book published by Simon and Schuster:

    “For a non-Mormon, the intricacies of LDS doctrine and history present a labyrinthine challenge. As I began to conduct research for this book, I felt seriously lost on more than one occasion. I would have remained lost had I not hired the services of Ardis Parshall, a Mormon historian, newspaper columnist, and freelance researcher. Parshall’s command of the documents of the LDS Archives in Salt Lake City, as well as of published sources, proved to be utterly masterful (an inside joke has it that Ardis knows the Archives better than the official church archivists).”

    Comment by Hunter — January 27, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  29. Aw, shucks! Thanks, Mommie Dearest, Polly, Hunter (and David).

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  30. I found a few other details about Pender in a Deseret News obituary (p. 5).

    Comment by Justin — January 27, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  31. Justin, I’m still looking for the page in that issue where Pender’s obit appears (and, duh, I realize finally that you indicated the page), but on the way to looking for that I saw an obituary for Ester Ann Boulter. Checking FamilySearch for her maiden name, I find she was Ester Ann Munro. Checking the Overland Travel database, I find that Ester Ann and others of her family are listed, but that their year of travel is unknown. So I’ll be submitting this obituary to the project, and if they agree that it is enough confirmation for her year of travel, they’ll add that detail.

    See what I mean about always checking out the pioneers I run across, even when they aren’t really what I’m searching for? You just never know when you’ll be able to contribute one more bit to a magnificent project.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

  32. Ester Ann’s obit has been submitted to the project.

    Oh, golly, Justin. That’s an obituary to remember. I think I’ll write up something more about Hop and his passing (and a few more references to him I’ve run across that didn’t really fit in a post about the Overland Travel database) as a post tomorrow or Friday. Some readers will probably already have looked at the obituary because of these comments, but it’s still worth doing in a little more conspicuous fashion than this far down in the comments.

    Wow. Thank you, Justin. Your knack for finding just the right document or bit of data is uncanny. I wish I could talk you into guest posting. Puhleeeeease?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  33. I’m just sorry that there’s no way to keep the tide of alliteration rolling after “trio of tottering”. “Old women” is a nice touch, especially when there are three and they’re tottering, but there’s not enough poet in me (or in the obit’s author, sadly) to come up with any appropriate words.

    Still, I’m going to have to see if something similar can be worked into my obit. If you can’t get a good chuckle out of an obituary, what good is it?

    Comment by Mark B. — January 27, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

  34. Yeah, that’s a pretty colorful, revealing, and amusing obit. I wonder who wrote it and whether it was typical of the writer. In any event, it provides a good glimpse of Pender’s life and personality.

    Comment by Justin — January 27, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  35. I promise to laugh when you die, Mark B. — er, um, well, I guess that isn’t quite what you had in mind, though?

    Honestly, that little glimpse of the seating makes this obituary of far more worth than the grandest vaporous assurances that “he died in full fellowship of the faith after suffering all the trials and vicissitudes incident to pioneer life” that clog up most obits. I’d give a lot for the details of even ONE trial or vicissitude, but nooooo, those lofty obits never deliver. Hop’s does!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  36. I’ll second the motion on Justin guest posting. I still have Mormon Wasp bookmarked in my short list of blogs, even though it’s not accessible anymore.

    Comment by Researcher — January 27, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  37. [sighs]

    That’s what I get for burying my quote (no. 28) so late in a thread. No comments anyone? Did everyone else already know about this tribute to Ardis?

    Comment by Hunter — January 27, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  38. heh, heh — We can rival that bigger blog’s mutual admiration society any day, can’t we, oh-ye-who-have-hung-on-even-unto-these-late-comments?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

  39. Well, shed a tear if you will, Ardis, but then I expect a chuckle, at least. Consider whether it was General Debility who struck me down, or another of Lucifer’s Generals in the War in Heaven (surely if there were generals on the good side, there must have been some on the bad side too), later sent to earth as General Debility, General Protection Fault and maybe even General Tso’s Chicken.

    And it that thought doesn’t bring a smile, then you can wonder, as I did, just what old Hop Pender did with those “sox”, when the dirty old underwear was divided?

    Comment by Mark B. — January 27, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  40. The irreverence is too much!

    Comment by Clark — January 27, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

  41. If anyone presided here, we could appoint a reverence ‘ninny to stand at the door of the blog, arms folded.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 27, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  42. am late to this, but wanted to say thanks for the ‘how to’ post, Ardis. So much to learn…

    Have duct taped my mouth so as not to express any opinions about NFS. Seems safer!

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — January 28, 2010 @ 3:40 am

  43. Only duct tape? I’m finding that I need a nail gun.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 28, 2010 @ 7:45 am

  44. According to the sidebar, the “presiderer at the door” would only be there to ensure every reached a unanimous agreement, which would be comment #19 and 28!

    Comment by Clark — January 28, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  45. 😀

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 28, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  46. Hunter, I had noticed that same acknowledgment in Robert’s book a month or two back while browsing at a Barnes and Noble. I haven’t read the book, though. Is it worth it? I’ve got ancestors who came in a later handcart company, and it sounded interesting.

    Comment by kevinf — January 28, 2010 @ 11:25 am

  47. Sorry to reply so late, kevinf. I am only about halfway through the book, so can’t definitively say, yet. But from what I’ve read, I can say that Roberts’ treatment of Church history in the first part of the book is remarkably comprehensive, if quite a bit impertinent in tone. And he seems to be really wanting to pin blame for the handcart tragedy almost entirely on Brigham. But, even if you disagree with his tone and thesis, the guy can write! Man, can he write!

    Comment by Hunter — January 28, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

  48. If only some of you could know just how much and for how long Ardis has wanted to tell just the sort of stories and share the many talents she shows here at Keepa and elsewhere with just the kind of people (anybody who’s interested) she does here. She’s having a bit of a giggle, fairly often, too!

    I’m just so glad to read things like comment #28 and to realize her understanding, knowledge and skills are becoming more widely known and appreciated so that when someone like David Roberts needed a person just like her, someone else was able to point him in her direction and he could hire her!

    That’s two paragraphs ending in exclamation points, but I’ve just really gotten to know Keepa and I’m kind of excited! I visited before now from time to time, on sort of a monthly basis, but had NO idea that the content changed much much more often than that. (I blame my ‘slow speed’ on brain damage) It makes me tired-sleepy even-just thinking about the time she spends on this-even with help. And as Ardis has good reason to know, it’s hard to make me sleepy! Diane (world class insomniac sp?)

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 29, 2010 @ 4:32 am

  49. I think my last post was dang close to being the truly over-the-top, obituary-like, overwritten bits of prose anyone has written of Ardis-pretending to have known her, yet completely ignorant that the piece has her feeling not praised, but sends fit of giggles welling up through her entire being instead.

    Ah well, you get my drift. Maybe. Unless writing at 2 or 4 a.m. has(d) me feeling both obscure and maudlin. And maybe I should have paid more attention while we were diagramming sentences.

    I could just have said that Ardis is doing exactly what she wanted to do-what she had the ability to do.

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 30, 2010 @ 2:34 am

  50. A question – Why would a relative who lived in Kirtland, Missouri, Nauvoo and Utah and whose children have baptism dates in the 1830s have a baptism date of 1927? or 1943? I have a few relatives like this. I guess one answer may be they were excommunicated and rebaptized really late in life or through the temple. Any other thoughts?

    Comment by Sam — February 12, 2010 @ 9:35 am

  51. Modern day (whether “modern” means 1927 or 1943 or 2010) members are exceedingly sloppy genealogists, Sam, and the temple work has been done for early members of the church dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times, because descendants didn’t have the original date of baptism or didn’t bother to check to see that the work had already been done (in life, or by proxy in an earlier generation). Don’t read anything at all about the character of your ancestors into the fact that some descendant unnecessarily repeated the ordinances.

    The one exception would be if you found evidence that an ancestor had been baptized *in life* more than once. Rebaptizing was a common practice throughout the 19th century. Very occasionally it was due to an excommunication and repentance, but by far the most common cause for rebaptizing was as a sign that someone was recommitting himself to the gospel: upon his arrival in Utah, during the 1856 Reformation, when he entered a United Order community, or before he received his endowments. It was so common that membership record books from that era include a column to record a second baptism.

    But if you’re dealing with repeated baptisms by proxy, the cause is 99.999999999% likely to be sloppiness on the part of a descendant.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 12, 2010 @ 10:22 am

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