Family Tree Climbing

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why Family History is Important

Family history work, the seeking out of my ancestors, is important to me for many reasons.  One of those reasons is because of what I believe. 
I am a Mormon.
The following comes from the website by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Why Family History is Important

Those of us who have been bitten by the family history bug know how fun it can be. But this isn’t why we have the largest genealogical library in the world and why 15 million Mormons are encouraged to research their family roots. Rather, we are driven by our doctrine that teaches that marriage and families can continue beyond this life. But this can only happen when families are sealed together in one of the Lord’s holy temples around the world and united for all eternity.
That’s fine for all of us today who have the chance to be sealed in a temple, but what about our ancestors who die without the opportunity to receive ordinances like baptism, or the blessings of being an eternal family? Does it make sense that God would simply say, "Too bad, tough luck?" Of course it doesn’t. When Christ organized His Church anciently, it included vicarious work for the dead and the practice of performing ordinances for deceased relatives "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" (1 Corinthians 15:29). Christ’s restoration of his original Church to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith included the ancient practice of performing these ordinances for our deceased relatives in holy temples. The gospel of Jesus Christ includes the same blessings today in holy temples.

Genealogical or family history research is the essential forerunner of temple work for our deceased ancestors. We do it to obtain names and other genealogical information so these temple ordinances can be performed for our kindred dead. Our ancestors then are taught the gospel in the spirit world and have the choice to accept or reject the work performed for them. Mother Teresa once said that "loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty." The thought that this poverty of loneliness—this being unwanted and separated from loved ones—could extend beyond this life is truly sad and something temple work can prevent.

Read more about the importance of ancestry at

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Small and Simple Things

Simple things you can do NOW to get yourself and your family involved in family history work and thus gain access to the promised blessings that come with it.

These tips come from a class I taught a few months ago. 

1. Interview Family Members and Share Their Stories Online
There is a lot of information available online about interview relatives as well as fabulous tools to make it easier.  I encourage you to learn more.

 A few simple tips are:
•Decide who you want to interview.
•Prepare a list of questions. 
•Avoid questions that can be answered Yes or No.
•Make an appointment beforehand.
•Keep the interview to a reasonable amount of time.
•Use a digital recorder, smartphone app, or camera to record your interview
•Take notes. 
•Transcribe and share notes as a courtesy and to check accuracy. has made it easy to upload and share memories -stories and photos- online.  Be sure to check them out at

2. Take and Share Photos
This goes along with sharing stories.
Taking photos of living relatives, heirlooms, and so forth, can provide powerful experiences for future generations.  Sharing photos in your possession is an important part of preserving them.  Technology has made it really simple to do.

The photo sharing application on allows patrons to upload photos and add names, descriptions, and other information.

3. Discover Your Fan Chart
Fan charts allow you to see four+ generations at one time.  They are a helpful tool that is easy to understand that you can use when sharing your tree with fellow family members.  They also easily allow you to see holes in your family tree.

There are various places where you can get your fan chart printed.  One website that pulls your information from familysearch and creates a fan chart for you that you can print is

4. Record Your Life
Remember that telling your own story is a part of doing family history.  Keeping a record of your life is important.  Your way of capturing your own story can be as unique as you are.

5. Get Involved in Indexing
FamilySearch indexing unlocks access to the world's records by making them searchable for free at  This is a monumental effort that anyone can participate in.  Every little bit helps and we all benefit. 

Check it out at

6. Find Your Cousins
Also known as descendancy research this is the process of finding the descendants of your ancestors.  There are many benefits to doing descendancy research.  Some of these include:

•Researching forward in time can help you break down your brick walls
•Find relatives researching the same line
•Find relatives who know stories and have photos of your common ancestor
•Records are more readily available as you move forward in time

7.  Search Out Your Ancestors
Probably obvious, but always continue to research your ancestors.  Record availability is always changing and doors open every day. 

Just keep climbing...


Sunday, February 23, 2014

RootsTech 2014

There are many wonderful people in my life that made it possible for me to attend RootsTech this year.  (Biggest thank you's go to my husband and my mother-in-law for taking care of my peeps).  I was also blessed to be able to attend with my mother.  Happy day(s)!

It was very exciting to be back in the thick of things as far as family history happenings.  Rootstech is the place to be to learn and experience the new technologies and techniques involved in family history work.  In the forefront of the event was with all of their amazing updates and the hottest news of their recent partnerships with, and  Exciting things to come!

The big focus of this years' conference was on stories (as expressed by the video I posted earlier that was visible throughout the conference).  Many of the classes focused on the power and importance of stories.  Personally this is one of my weaknesses.  I am NOT a born storyteller, my parents are not storytellers, there are not many stories that have been passed down through the ages (that is except for my grandmother's stories about her dogs).  I now feel the pressure and know that it is my position (dare I say responsibility... uh lets go with opportunity) to create and preserve the stories of my ancestors.  That's a challenge to be tackled in pieces... 

For those of you unable to attend Rootstech you can take virtual classes online through their video archive.

I look forward to next year!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Every Family Has a Story

I was able to attend Rootstech 2014 and this is a video that familysearch  shared.  Literally it was everywhere: on multiple big screens before the keynote speakers, in the expo hall, even on screens set up in the halls throughout the conference center.    Some might have been annoyed with this.  I on the other hand took it in at every chance.  I am touched by this video every time.

There is power, peace, perspective, strength to be found in Family History. 

Every Family Has a Story: Discover Yours!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 and Family Tree

My ward (congregation) has sure put me to work.  Since my assignment as family history consultant I have given a presentation about small and simple things you can do in family history for a women's class, started teaching a seven lesson class once a week, given a brief presentation to about 100 people about familysearch, and I am now preparing to teach two more classes to youth groups in the next couple weeks.  Oh and I'm working in our local family history center a few hours this week.

I'm feeling BUSY!

It's a good busy and it is exciting to be a part of it all!

Amid all these assignments I have had to quickly become very familiar with  And lucky me it had recently gone through a complete overhaul shortly before I was called.  I have worked with and I have searched records on but both of those are old hat to this new system. 
There are so many wonderful features on now.  Be sure to check them out!

Family Tree:
This is where you can keep track of your pedigree.  It is similar to but so much smoother and user friendly.  The ability to add sources is greatly improved over the new system.  Especially with sources that are coming directly off of  I've been spending a lot of time just adding sources to the information that is already on my tree.  It makes me feel so much better when information can be supported and verified by sources!

Photos and Stories:
This new feature is AWESOME!  You can find and/or share heritage photos on the website and link them to your family lines.  This is a great way to preserve and share important photos that you have inherited. I have been slowly working on adding the photos I digitized at my grandma's a few years ago.  My husband has benefited from other family members uploading photos and stories onto his family line.  He has a second cousin that is transcribing a personal history and we have been able to read the stories and share them with our children.  It is amazing to read about Josh's pioneer heritage and the sacrifices they made for their families and the gospel.

This is where you can gain access to all the millions of records being indexed by thousands of volunteers worldwide.  It is an amazing collection that is FREE and growing daily. has also made it really easy to find, prepare, request and manage the temple work for our ancestors.  So much better that when I started doing family history and you had to go to a FHC and work on a dos program. :P

Another thing I am really impressed with is familysearch's helpcenter.  They have dozens of videos to help you with familysearch, teach you how to do family history research, online research help, etc...
This has been particularly helpful as I have been learning about familysearch.

The ease and accessibility of this website and many more popping up all over the internet is a testimony to me of the importance of family work.  It is a blessing to be a part of this work that is accelerating a such an exciting speed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Goodness, it's been almost 4 years since my last post on this blog.  A lot of personal history has been made in those four years including a few highlights like moving across the country, buying our first home, and three additions to the family-- two children and a dog.  I've also been very actively involved with the youth group in my church.  Let's just say it hasn't been exactly the "season" for Family History Work.

Well, the seasons are changing a bit.  I am sadly no longer working with the youth but I have been reassigned as a family history consultant.  The external push I needed to get back into the swing of things!  I've dived back in but my skills are a little cold and the water is more like a river that has been constantly changing; I'm still trying to get my bearings.

I guess what I'm trying to say is
I'm Back!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Receipt of Levi Daniel's Estate to his Heirs

**Images taken by Gladys S. at the Clay County Courthouse in 2009.

Money to Nathan T. Daniel, Grandson of Levi Daniel

Febuary the 15th Ad 1861
Recd of George Daniels Administrator of the Estate of Levi Daniel Decd Twenty seven dollars annd five cents in full of Nathan T. Daniel Intrest of the personal Estate of said Deceased
Basel T. Daniel
Guardian of Nathan T. Daniel

Portion of Estate given to Mary A. Daniel, daughter of Levi Daniel
Estate of Levi Daniel Given to Daughter Mary a. Daniel 1859 Estimated Value
An estimate of the specific property allowed Mary A. Daniel, child of Levi Daniel, deceased.
One Bed bedstead and bedding  $25.00
One year provision  $45.00
Total amount: $70.00

The undersigned appraisers of the personal estate of Levi Daniel, deceased, do certify that the family of the deceased consisted of the said Mary A. Daniel, that the foregoing schedule of articles of personal property allowed by the appraisers and a true estimate of the value of the same respectively, and that being all she is entitled to, out of articles named is said statute in our judgement, it being suitable to the condition in life of the said Mary A. Daniel and are of value as above estimated.
Witness our hands and seals this 28th day of January 1859
[E]thelsed Nixon
William D. Carrell
William T. Smith
(Collectivily All) Appraisers

(back of document, note for filing)
Levi Daniel Decd
Childs Dower Bill
Recorded in Book
F on page 397
J. A. Apperson Clerk

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alderson Family Photo

Three Generations

Photo taken end of 1902/beginning of 1903

Standing Left: Elva Alderson (Adams)- she married Ernie Adams son of Emma Daniels (sister of Arthur Daniels) i.e. she married the nephew of Ellen's husband
Standing Right: Estne Alderson (never married)

Seated Left to Right:
William Wesley Alderson
Lora Blanch Daniels (Barksdale) daughter of Ellen and Arthur Daniels
Ellen Otilla Alderson Daniels (My Great-Grandmother)-wife of Arthur Thomas Daniels
Frankie Helen Daniels (Monical) daughter of Ellen and Arthur Daniels
Isadora Winders Alderson

*original photo in posession of my grandma*

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pictures of Arthur Thomas Daniels family

Ellen Otilla Alderson Daniels, Robert N. Daniels, Arthur Thomas Daniels.
Taken in Salem, IL 1943 during WWII

J. Daniels, Ellen Otilla Alderson Daniels, Arthur Thomas Daniels, Robert N. Daniels, John D. Daniels
Findlay, Illinois about 1952
(House in picture is not their residence.)

Robert N Daniels, D. Daniels, J. Daniels, Arthur Thomas Daniels, Ellen Otilla Alderson Daniels w/ N. Daniels, John D. Daniels
Findlay, Illinois about 1952

(All the pictures are in the posession of my grandma.  Scanned 7-09)

Birthday Card signed by Ellen and Arthur Daniels

Birthday card for my grandmother from her in-laws, Ellen Otilla Alderson Daniels and Arthur Thomas Daniels.  Not dated.  Card still in her possession tucked in one of her bibles.

Birthday note to my grandmother dated 1956 from her mother-in-law, Ellen Otilla Daniels.

Obituary for John Dennis Daniels

Picture of John Dennis Daniels' obituary.  Original in the possession of my grandmother.  Newspaper unknown.


John D Daniels, 65, of Salem died 7:10 am. Tuesday, Good Samaritan Hospital, Mount Vernon; born Marion County; married Myrtle Mackey, Dec. 24, 1924, LaSalle County; leaves wife; son William, Salem; daughter Mrs. Maxine Smart, Maywood; brother Bob, Decatur; sister Mrs. Laura Barksdale, Iuka; four grandchildren; services 1 pm. Thursday, Bowman Funeral Home, Salem; burial Paradise Cemetery, Salem; call after 4 pm Wednesday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Guardian's Bond for Minor Children of George Daniels

*** From Gladys's files
1883 Guardian's Bond for Minors of George DANIELS (2 Pgs)

Minor Children of George Daniels...
Florence Daniels
Edith Daniels
Arthur Daniels

Transcription to come :)

Tangent continued...

I was going through my comments again tonight and completing links in my summary posts when I came across the surname Mulvany.  Turns out Harriet Alice Daniels (eldest sister of Arthur Daniels and how Gladys connects into my line) married a George W. Mulvany Jr. and is located 10 pages down from Nancy L Alderson living with her sister Matilda Mulvaney in the 1880 Marion County census.  There is another Mulvaney family living a few doors up from them.  I imagine they are all related. 

It's pretty crazy how all the lines interconnect.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tangent from the Daniels Line

This evening I was going through some of the comments that Gladys has added to my blog with specific information about individuals and putting the information into the summary post and ended up on a major tangent that resulted in me finding more information on a completely different line.  [Happy Dance!]

I started looking at Edith L Daniels, sister to my great grandfather Arthur Daniels.  Gladys had posted some information about her spouse and children.  As a side note she included the information that Edith's husband was a widower with four children.  In the process of looking up the informaiton on Edith and her husband Henry I also looked in the marriage index for Henry's first wife.  Her name was Nancy L Alderson.  Ding ding... Red Flag!  Alderson is one of my family lines also in Marion county, Illinois.  Arthur actually married an Alderson.  Now my curiousity was peaked.  There aren't many Alderson's in Marion County, Illinois and most are somehow related.  The 1880 census finds Nancy Alderson living with her sister Matilda Mulvaney (another surname that rings a bell but I haven't pulled out of my memory were exactly it comes up yet) in Omega Twp, Marion County.  The 1870 census is Nancy L. Alderson living with her mother also name Nancy and brothers Samuel M, William W, and Elijah E. DING there it is!  William W. Alderson is the father of Ellen Otilla who married Arthur Daniels. 

I continued down the line of census' and looked at the 1860 for the Alderson family and find James C Alderson and his wife Nancy in Marion County with 5 children (I'll post the census images here eventually!) but there was still no mention of a Matilda Alderson (I looked up the marriage record for Matilda Mulvaney and her maiden name was indeed Alderson and she was married in 1857).  I went another census earlier and looked at the 1850, this time in Tennessee because many of the children listed their parents or themselves as born in TN (though the mother Nancy also had SC and Miss listed as birthplaces).  I easily found them in Maury County, Tennessee and there was Matilda the eldest daughter.  Interestingly there is only a 15 year age difference between the mother Nancy (23) and Matilda (8).  Nancy's age is fairly consistent throughout the census records.  James C Alderson is 32 years old in 1850.  Makes me wonder if Nancy could be a second wife??  Something to look into.  

Anyway thanks to the census and the fact that Nancy was living with her sister in the 1880 census I was able to pull the entire family together through FOUR census years.  Another line of research totally seperate from the Daniel/Daniels line though suprisingly more connected than I thought.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Letter of Administration and Administrator's Bond for estate of Levi Daniel

*from Glady's files*

Letter of Administration
Below is a letter of administration declaring that Levi Daniel died intestate (without a will) and gives George Daniels, his son-in-law, as the administrator of the estate.  The document says that Levi Daniel died on or about the 23rd day of December, 1858 in Clay county Illinois.  The document is dated January 3, 1859.

Source: Clay County Courthouse, P.O. Box 160, Lousiville, IL 62858. (I forget the Box #. It was a bunch of loose leaf papers.)

Administrator's Bond
George Daniels, Elmodan Walton, and Bazel Daniel of the county of Clay, Illinois are held and firmly bound to the People of the State of Illinois, in the penal sum of four hundred fifty dollars... The condition of the above obligation are such that George Daniels administrator of the estate of Levi Daniel deceased do cause to be made a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods and chattels, rights and credits of the said deceased...
Signed by George Daniels, Elmodan Walton and Bazel T. Daniel
January 3, 1859
Gladys was able to revisit the Clay County Courthouse located in Louisville, Clay, Illinois and take pictures of all the document she has xerox copies of as well as some additional documents located in the same file box pertaining to Levi Daniel and his estate.  Many more images to come!  I'm excited!

Below is a digital photo of the above mentioned Administrator's Bond.