Friday, July 24, 2009

What is a Pioneer?

I had no idea there were pioneers in my family until my college years when I started to gather my genealogy. The dates and places in my early ancestors’ history were my first indication that they had come from somewhere else to the Utah territory when it was settled by the pioneers. Fleeing persecution for their religious beliefs in Nauvoo, Illinois, my ancestors traveled overland in wagons and handcarts. What a fun discovery. Now the Utah history books I studied took on new meaning for me as they were talking about my family members.

In the first grade at Eureka Elementary, my mom made me a long pioneer dress out of her kitchen curtains complete with a bonnet, I was so excited! Now, wearing my authentic costume and pulling a small red wagon with a covered cloth top, I was in my first July 24th parade. Celebrating my first Pioneer Day, it took years before I would gathered their stories of immigrating to Utah.

Pioneers are found in all families. Defined as someone who goes into previously uncharted or unclaimed territory with the purpose of exploring it and possible colonizing or settling it. Even our Native Americans had ancestors who pioneered this great land of America immigrating over the Bering Strait or sailing across the oceans to this continent. People from throughout the world have traveled to America to start new lives and raise their families.

Another definition of a pioneer is a person or group that is the first to do something or that is a forerunner in creating or developing something new. Many of us are pioneers in terms of starting new projects, organizations, trades or moving to a new area. My aunt and uncle were the first in our Utah family to move to Southern California during WWII times. After they initially settled there and found employment, other relatives followed their example and moved to new jobs in that promising land of sunshine and sea.

Our modern day children seem to be more adventurous in their quest for new areas to move to and raise their families. Nowadays, I find my own immediate family members not residing in Utah where I live, but in such far flung places as Seattle, Sacramento, Santa Fe and Silver City, New Mexico––continuing the family tradition of being pioneers.

Do you know who in your family came to America first? (The photo above is my great grandfather Joseph Vernon who came to Utah in 1867 at age four with his family from England as converts to Mormonism.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My book is published!

This book is a collection of my column articles published in St. George, Utah’s “Senior Sampler.” It's entitled LOOK-ING BACK...At the “Good Old Days.” Being a retired educator and an empty nester, I have more free time now for pursuing my lifelong passion for genealogy through publishing my ancestor’s stories and writing articles for columns, blogs, and magazines based on my life’s experiences in a family.

Finding a passion or interest you enjoy can add richness and interest to your days at any age, whether you are able to make it into a livelihood or just a leisure activity. Spare time to pursue hobbies or talents was a rare commodity for our parents and grandparents as they used all their time just to put food on the table and take care of their family. Recreational activities were few and far between for them. Holidays and family celebrations were opportunities to gather and enjoy each other’s company. They would have loved to have had more breaks from every day work activities to pursue their individual talents, and hobbies.

Hopefully I have cap-tured some of the experiences from their lives that show the passion and legacy they left for their descendents. We all have grandparents and parents who loved, nurtured and molded us as we grew up under their influence. May my stories bring to mind your recollections of your earlier days and perhaps light a fire under you to write down some of your experiences so they won’t be lost to your descendents.

Self published, 80 pages with photos, bound paperback and available for purchase NOW for $10 plus postage ($2 in USA). Just email me: lin at sunrivertoday dot com for my mailing address so you can send payment for your purchase. Thanks for your support. All money earned goes to my youngest son's college fund.