It is just after Thanksgiving and many of us are sitting at home in the after turkey stupor. If you are like me you are taking shelter indoors from the cold and enjoying time with the family. I love the holidays and the traditions handed down through the years from family. It is a great time of year to do family history.
This last week we had a gentleman come in to The Morgan County News to make copies of a journal. He is planning to give this as a gift to his children. He took the time to compile the journal and place significant photos of the family at the front of each section by year. I cannot imagine a better gift. One of the best gifts my mother ever gave to me was my book of remembrance. I have treasured it over the years. I have looked through it many times and have reviewed it with my two boys as they enjoyed the pictures of me as a youth.
This week I have been thinking about my ancestors. It is a good activity for Thanksgiving. In many ways my life is what it is today because of the choices of my ancestors. In 1848 my ancestor Edward Ogden joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England. He had a large family. In 1853 he became one of many who were gathering to the Salt Lake Valley. This would change his life, his family’s life, and my life forever.
He set out from England and began the journey across the plains. His family would make it, but he would not. He died on the plains just outside of Evanston, Wyoming. He left his wife and children behind to finish this life-changing event that they had started together. My great grandfather, William, was his second oldest son. He was sixteen and I imagine that much of the burden fell upon the two oldest boys. They settled in Utah, lived in Kaysville for a time and then my great grandfather moved to Enterprise, where he died in 1908.
Through the sacrifice of Edward, Sarah, and their son William, my life has been blessed immeasurably. I treasure the faith that they adopted. I have enjoyed the beauty of Utah and the culture and climate. The descendants of these individuals have grown to a large family. My grandparents had eighteen children of which my mother was the youngest. I am the youngest of 52 grandchildren descended from Edward and Sarah.
I inherited much of the genealogy I have from my grandmother who was the daughter in law of William Ogden. She helped to infuse the love of family history in my heart and life. She researched ancestors all throughout her life. She taught me the value of individuals and the value of family.
It is through my genealogical research that I have come to know these ancestors. As I have come to know some part of their lives I can see parts of them in me. As I have read some of the life histories of them and discovered information about their lives I have come to appreciate their sacrifices and the decisions that they made in order for their descendants to have a better life. I doubt that they could foresee all of what would result from their decisions, but they knew that their decisions were for their children and grandchildren.
So on this Thanksgiving I am thankful for my ancestors and thankful for my involvement in family history. I am trying to practice what I preach and enjoy the journey as I discover information about my ancestors and as they become real people in my mind and heart.
As my heart turns toward my ancestors I feel a connection, a sense of peace, and a sense of belonging. I love the aspects of solving a puzzle that genealogy brings, but the thing I love the most is the peace and connection I feel as I come to know those who came before, the struggles they had in life, and the strength they had to overcome their struggles. I gain strength in my life as I learn about theirs.
I hope that your Thanksgiving was a joyful one. I hope that in the turkey afterglow that you can take a moment and contemplate those who came before. I hope that you have come to appreciate them as unique individuals who loved and struggled. As we enter the holiday season I think it is good for all of us to consider the gifts we have been given by those that came before and the gifts that we can leave for those that follow.