Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes with the Jacksonville, Florida, Genealogical Committee, 1939

A Few Minutes with the Jacksonville, Florida, Genealogical Committee, 1939

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 25, 2014

District Union Meeting for April 23 1939, San Mateo

Grace N. Gleaton presiding & conducting. Class began at 2:55. 25 present.

Martha Geddes 5 min. clearing up misunderstanding about Government Genealogist of England and Church Genealogist. That it was not Church Gen. that received monies for research & gave little or no service, but Government & other certified Genealogists.

A discussion on the April 5th Sunday program by class.

No temple work sheets to be sent in without a note accompanying them stating that they had been reported to branch Genealogy Secretary.

Convention for 1939 discussed with suggestions for branches to prepare to take part, and to get a report on all branch Gen. activities.

Dist. Councilman for Gen. Dept. Leolin Dickey told class about branch project compiling cemetery records. Informed class that vital statistics were to be had at Jax State Board of Health.

Sr. Gleaton again urged saints to send her their pedigree chart as well as send one to the temple so if there are any in the Dist. working on the same line the two may be put in touch with each other.

Sr. Dickey explained & suggested that the Gen. workers keep a record of their activities so that they may be rewarded with service awards for service rendered.

San Mateo turned over 2 dollars for Book Fund to Sis. Starling to deliver to Dist. Sec. Lucille Forsythe. Book fund urged and time limit extended to Jax State Leadership Convention June 2nd. 9 Branches represented.

Report given for May in Council Mtg., June 3, 1939 at Jax

Sister Starling opened with prayer. Present: Grace Gleaton, Thelma Dickey & Martha Geddes.

It was discussed and decided that we would not study Church service on genealogical committees for summer.

It was decided to present James Haynes as Dist. Gen. Historian. 2nd choice Sister Skinner of St. Augustine. Later reports: James turned down and Sr. Skinner accepted by Dist. councilman.

No. of miles traveled 531. Letters written 9 (by district board).

Discussed and approved to give two dollars out of Dist. fund to Book fund.

Summer project discussion: Each branch to form a committee to find out where cemetery records are to be found for graves which have no stones. City hall keeps record at county courthouse. D.A.R.’s have copied some records, church records, etc. Cemetery Associations (those who sell lots). Undertakers keep records.

Branches to turn in Book Fund were Dist. Fund, Tampa, St. Augustine, East Jax, Panama Park, & San Mateo. $2.00 were rec’d from each except Tampa, $2.25, making a total of $12.25 which was given to Elder Kidd.

Srs. Gleaton & Dickey reported seeing the microfilm machine demonstrated at Fort Marion-St. Augustine.

We are to take an inventory so to speak of the public libraries and be able to tell the members if there are any volumes on their line.

June 25, 1939

Union meeting at San Mateo, 10:00 o’clock council meeting. Present Srs Dickey, Geddes & Starling. Prayer by Sr. Geddes.

Miles traveled 1654. No hours, 15 days & 4 hrs.. Letters written 2, and rec’d 2. Visits to branches 3. Sr. Starling gave information sent her by Sr. Gleaton. We all approved and thought it would be a good idea to put Vernon Anderson in as Historian if you approved this. If not it is O.K. with us for Sr. Skinner to be Librarian and Historian. Sr. Geddes was assigned to talk on personal research at Union meeting.

Afternoon Meeting

Sr. Geddes gave a talk on personal research.

Sr. Starling spoke about Home Teaching as another summer project. She mentioned by first of Sept. have all families visited in the branches and have all pedigree charts and family group sheets placed in the Archive. She also wanted to open Sept. with a program and instead of paying money give pedigree chart for admittance.

Then Bro. Dickey spoke about the soldiers records which they are compiling in St. Augustine and offered to help anyone if they needed any of this information. Elder Kidd mentioned it in Dixie Messenger, also cemetery project.

Then Sr. Dicken asked if all branches were up to date with lessons. All were, even Daytona, which took two at a time, so Rep. reported. She then explained to them the importance of getting started right away on our summer project of compiling cemetery records. Sanderson is leading all other branches in this work. She asked each branch to form a committee of two or more to compile records and if they see they can’t select a sub-committee to assist. Then where to get information. Purpose of records, sending a copy to Gen. Society of Utah and keeping a copy here for Dist. Library. She thought we were first Dist. to start this work. When all Dists. have completed this work we can exchange information and eliminate so much traveling. The branches represented promised to start at once.

Pres. Woods asked how many branches did we have organized and how many were active. Sr. Dickey supplied information. He wanted to know about Orlando & Oak Grove. She told him we hadn’t heard from them lately, meaning they were inactive. Bro. Wood: I want you to visit these branches, particularly Orlando and organize it. Sr. Dickey: We have our conference planned for Panama Park 2nd Sun. in July. Do you want us to cancel this and go to Orlando. Pres. Woods; No, but come soon as you can. Sr. Dickey: Would August be soon enough & he said yes.

We had a fine spirit in the meeting, everything went off good. 19 present.

Sr. Gleaton’s Research Tour in June

I went on a research tour for 15 days, 1502 miles traveled. I visited many relatives & old cemeteries & libraries. I visited Orangeburg S.C. where five on my father’s direct line come from. It was a thrilling experience, and wherever I went people treated me courteously. Mr. A.S. Salley, Sec. to State Historical Society & a relative of mine gave me assistance at Columbia, S.C. Over two thousand names were gotten of the living and the dead. During trip I assisted many L.D.S. who have written me letters of appreciation for leads, helps and suggestions. Much more can be accomplished by personal visits to ancestral homes than by writing. It was a trip long to be remembered and one for which I expect to open the prison doors to many of my dead which have long slept.

Sr. Forsyth’s Trip West

Bro. Carlos Starling, Sr. Adeline Chas, Sr. Alzada Beesley, Bro’s Alvin Chase & Joseph Copeland and myself went to Salt Lake City for two weeks. We had one of the grandest trips and accomplished much, arriving in Salt Lake about 11:30 June 6 . On Wednesday Sr. Beesley & Bro. Chase and Bro. Copeland & myself were sealed in marriage for time and eternity. Bro. Copeland & myself made several trips to this Temple, not near as many as we would have liked to. Bro. Copeland was baptized for my father, both grandfathers and one great-grandfather. We also had the baptismal work done for one grandmother & one great grandmother, all who are in the spirit world. We attended the M.I.A. Convention, visited the church building and stopped in Independence Mo. on our way out west and seen the temple block.

If all the young people in our church could understand how much a temple marriage would mean to them they wouldn’t hesitate going to the Temple even though they had to prolong their marriage.

This was certainly a trip never to be forgotten where one experiences mingling with the Saints, Apostles and the Prophet in the Temple of our God.

July 23 1939

Present 25 at Union mtg at San Mateo

Gave out pamphlets from Elder Kidd. Gave out a sheet of instructions how to fill out Temple sheets. Read from Dixie’s messenger. Sr. Gleaton told about her trip, also about 5th Sunday meeting which is next Sunday. Announced that our Dist. Con. was to be in October. Names passed on. Vernon Anderson for Dist. Historian. Hilda Anderson for sub-committee to work on family organization and record committee. 10 letters written. Dist. Gen. conference have a class demonstration. Elder Kidd acknowledged with receipt the $12.25 Book Fund he received. Cemetery project discussed.



  1. The more things change…

    Srs. Gleaton & Dickey reported seeing the microfilm machine demonstrated at Fort Marion-St. Augustine.

    That must have seemed just like the most amazing thing to them.

    I remember in the 70s, in our stake center on the south side of Indianapolis, a little hand drawn sign on a door in the hallway near the library, that was decorated with little fishes and said “The fiche are coming! The fiche are coming!”

    And then I remember when Ancestry first started putting digitized photos of census records online at the turn of the millennium. I had a broken leg with a massive blood clot and so was stuck in bed with a new-fangled laptop and our DSL connection that was so slow that to load a photo page took a half-minute or more. There was no index yet for anything but the the 1910 (soundex), so I carefully deduced where to look and did a page-by-page search until I found many ancestors. Slowly loading, the activity surely passed the time.

    Now, thanks to indexing — and to cemetery record gatherers like these Florida saints — research really is approaching instant. I can find more primary and secondary sources in an afternoon that I could find in months when I first started genealogy in 1982.

    I love these Saints! Thanks Ardis.

    Comment by Coffinberry — July 25, 2014 @ 10:34 am

  2. So glad you enjoyed this, Coffinberry! This just sang to me — I remember the days of writing letters, enclosing self-addressed stamped envelopes, filing carbon copies, and hoping against hope that people would actually write back with the desired information. And I’ve walked cemeteries, recording them as these Saints did.

    There’s a real kinship between generations of genealogists. Seeing how much is available now, and as you say, so easily and instantaneously, I wonder — had I known what was coming, had these Saints known what was coming, would they have thought their hard manual effort was worth it? Would they have waited until today’s tools came? And if so, how much information would have been lost in the meantime?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 25, 2014 @ 11:08 am

  3. Yesterday we walked through the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Ct. Ralph saw a lot of family names that he needs to look up to see if they are directly connected. Some of the stones made of hard materials look new, but there are many softer stones that are nearly illegible. We also saw stones that had spauled so that the carved face of the stone had separated from the rest of the stone. It is sad to think of the information being lost. Then there are the closely packed rows of stones that were moved from the Green when they decided to convert it to park instead of burying ground. The stones were moved, but not anything else. Last Halloween, a storm upended a tree on the Green and brought up a skeleton–which they examined for age and then reburied. Still, these types of burials don’t attract grave robbers quite like pyramids did.

    Comment by LauraN — July 25, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

  4. Not sure why this touches me so much, but it does. There is something about these people: individual, obscure laborers working in a field not many people really understand, doing their work and taking it so seriously. Keeping minutes, approving business. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but these ordinary, unknown folks are such a pure demonstration and expression of serving in the gospel and hastening the work in their day. I struggle to articulate it, but this was very moving to me.

    Comment by Braden — July 26, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  5. I think you found just the right words, Braden. Thanks.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 26, 2014 @ 10:11 am

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