Sunday, March 13, 2016

How would you be Remembered? Pay it Backward!

What in the world does this picture have to do with my Ancestors coming to America?  
Read on to find out!  I had a lot of requests to put this on the blog - I hope you enjoy it too!

What in the world does this picture have to do with my Ancestors coming to America?  Read on to find out!
When your family takes stock of your inventory when you pass, what will they find?  Amos Troutman possessions in his will stated 4 head of cattle, 1 gun, 1 oxen, 1 yoke, 1 bible, and 1 large marble.  Not the kind of marble you play with….not a big glass marble, but a slab of marble so that on his headstone, his final resting place would be marked and would tell the future generations that 1) he was here and 2) what he had accomplished.   How will you be remembered?  We all have ways of documenting our lives but having that slab of marble in our possession speaks volumes.  It says, “Don’t forget me”.
We are all at our ebb tide, which is poetry for defining and documenting the highs and lows in our life.   What if you were going through your relative's cherished box of memories and found something that they had done years ago.  They didn’t think it was all that special, but kept it for sentimental reasons. 
Now, this could be a picture they drew, music or maybe a novel they wrote. Because they didn't feel it was good enough, they never took that first step to have it published. I hope this touches your heart the same as it did mine.  Last week, Actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins finally got to hear the waltz performed that he wrote over 50 years ago.  He didn’t do anything with it because he said he was, “afraid to hear it.”  And yet, on you can see it being immortalized by a symphony performed by Dutch violinist Andre Rieul and his chamber ensemble.. 

This week think about something amazing in your family’s life and pay it backward. You can work with us to take a name to the temple and learn more about their plight in life in doing so.  You can write about the life of someone in your heritage and make it real for the next generation to appreciate.
Finding a name and taking it to the temple is just as rich an experience, and is a gift you are giving to your ancestor.  You are paying it backward.  You are doing something that they could not do.  Everything that has happened up until now has been orchestrated to make this an easier, fuller, and a more gratifying experience and one day, if you haven’t felt it already in your hearts,  they will greet you and welcome you home with gratitude in their hearts….or…as 
President Henry Eyring explained, “When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. Perhaps after centuries, they rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them and to offer them freedom. In your reunion, you will see in their eyes either gratitude or terrible disappointment. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them.”   (Ensign, May 2005) This strength will bless you in all areas of your life.
Elder David A Bednar feels we should invite the youth to help us document history and capture it on film, and sound for all eternity.  This is a natural progression after searching for names for the temple, they can continue to honor the past with their knowledge of the present technology.
He said, “The Lord has made available in our day remarkable resources that enable you to learn about and love this work that is sparked by the Spirit of Elijah. For example, FamilySearch is a collection of records, resources, and services easily accessible with personal computers and a variety of handheld devices, designed to help people discover and document their family history. These resources also are available in the family history centers located in many of our Church buildings throughout the world.”
I can show you how to find a name, I can teach you about census data, and other corroborating data but you youth have a lot to teach us.  Already at your young age, you know the difference between a jpg file and an mp4. You know how to use a video recorder and know how to take photographs.  You know the difference between an animated gif file and a .wmv file.  Everything has been brought to this point to make it easier for you to help document your family’s history. 
During the recent Rootstech Conference we were joined by over 26,000 willing and eager hearts, and not all LDS, who cherish their families and want to honor them by preserving the past, through art, scrapbooking, music, video and poem.  I watched a video that you can see on called “My Mother’s Motorcycle.”  It was written by a young man who was not a member of our church and who was paying homage to his two grandfathers and what they contributed not only to his life, but others as well. Then he compared his life which paled in comparison and vowed to follow in their footsteps to make a difference.  He was paying it backward.  

Another way of documenting your family history is to use or create your own StoryCorps video.  They travel the United States with a sound proof trailer.  You bring your relative in and sit down with a sheet of questions.  You interview your family member then StoryCorp takes the story and creates an animated video that will capture hearts and endear them to their ancestor.  These are all things you can easily do.

So how do you get started?  First  get out your pedigree sheets.  Find a name and submit it to the temple, or better yet, take it yourself and experience first hand joy and gratitude showered upon you by your ancestor.  Then write down all the family stories you have heard.  Before it is too late, get a recording of a grandparent telling their stories of their grandparents, and the next time we look at a census sheet together, let me show you how you can make it come alive

To quote a Genealogist, Marsha Hoffman Rising, author of a book I’m studying called “The Family Tree Solver – tried-and-true-tactics for tracing elusive ancestors” , “Researching our Ancestors and overcoming brick walls means studying the time period and place where they lived as well as analyzing and interpreting fragments of information in surviving records.  But all of this must be done with an understanding of people and their typical behaviors for that era”
This is a great book and online at Amazon for less than 10.00 (used), Study the culture of the people and you will know their story in due time.  

By using the history channel, or even google, you can experience a little of what your ancestors experienced.  Looking at a census sheet you can tell if they were an entrepreneur, a self starter, or a field laborer, or chemist.  You can google the year and the town in google images and see what it looked like there at the exact time they were there.  Sometimes by looking in the left hand side of a census, you can see a street number and the name of their street.  By looking in the “street view” of google maps, you can get a feeling of their life as you stare straight into the front door of their home.  My family had always told of my great grandfather’s wanting to leave London and come to California in search of black gold.  He had been born during the blight in Ireland.  His family were farmers, living in the fields with thatched roof homes and clay floors.  They were evicted from the fields, and then began to build the Irish Railroad then when the Economical system crashed and the English Landlords went bankrupt.  It wasn’t a safe place to live, so they migrated to London to help complete the London Railroad.  I was able to see all of these stories come alive by typing in the year, country and the word “timeline” and cross checking it with census data and family stories. 

In 1883, several things happened.  He found out that Oil had been discovered in  Beverly Hills, CA.  That was in June and he thought about it all Summer while laying track and building Steam Engines for the England Railroad.   Suddenly, in August 27, 1883, the huge pyroclastic volcano in the Pacific named Krakatowa, exploded and disappeared off the face of the earth. 

 In it's tsunami wake, it delivered a lot of sushi and people to the beaches of Europe, specifically Norway where Edvar Munck immortalized the traumatizing event by later documenting a painting called the Scream which prior to putting this down on canvas, haunted him for 10 years.  These links discuss the 2012 analyzation of why and when he painted the picture.  

You probably recognize this painting.  It was written that the people of his town because of a lack of communication or knowledge of Tsunamis and Volcanoes, thought God was angry and ending the world.   A large exodus of people from Europe ensued - perhaps your family was inspired to come to America at this time.  

17 facts about Krakatoa - not many knew. (CLICK LINK)
For 9 months, it was documented on the History Channel, that the skies of the entire earth were dark orange and the people there where he lived, because they couldn’t communicate long distance, thought that God was punishing them and the world was ending.  It was at this time, that Michael Concannon took his little family and on a Steamer named the PARIS left during Hurricane season for America in September of 1883.  So laying out the facts, we know that Michael and Mary must have seen those dark orange skies for the entire journey to the United States.

 I kept looking for them on Ellis Island because it just said November 6, 1883 -  and then writing to a cousin who enlightened me that they had landed in Louisiana.   I am trying to imagine Mary and Joseph and their toddler living in Steerage and sharing one bed.  Trying to also imagine keeping track of a toddler on ship.   We know she miscarried on the boat from a famly story.  It is a miracle that they even survived because they went West on one of the first railroad trips to the California Coast in the Spring of 1884 when the routes opened from Louisiana to Texas to California.  The miracle is that so many of the people from Ireland and England, who landed in Louisiana died from Malaria as they went up the Mississippi.
Friday, November 16, 1883 – Times-Pacayune – Louisiana Passenger List

December of 1883 - This is a Ladies Home Journal Cover from that time.

Arriving in Los Angeles, he continued to make a living for his family as a boilermaker
When steam engines powered trains, Boilermakers built and repaired locomotives to carry freight and people across North America. With the advent of diesel engines by the mid 20th century, steam powered engines all but disappeared. Today Boilermakers are engaged in rebuilding wrecked diesel locomotives and restoring the few steam engines that remain.
Mary and Michael Joseph had 8 children in all in Los Angeles.  The family all had jobs and set money aside each week to invest in Oil Wells.  They had a good life in Monterey Park near Pasadena until my Uncle Johnny, the family accountant, who had a "strong desire for a bit o the drink", lost all the oil wells in a poker game. 
One of the daughters, Winifred Concannon, saved the family by using her talents as an artist for the Studios.  She would provide hand water colored invitations to parties for the like of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbank’s Mansion Pickfair for Studio events for Twentieth Century Fox.

Winnie married W. Schremp and they never had children.  She Died in the 30s of Tuberculosis.
Again, All of these family stories have been corroborated by facts on Census sheets, immigration records, and online research on the timelines of American and World History.
No longer do you have to travel to a Temple Library and put in a written request for microfische only to wait for 3 weeks to find out you ordered the wrong films.  We can make it fun for you to get to know your families so that you can take their names to the temple, and find a creative way to preserve their lives for your posterity. 
So here you are at your ebb tide.  You have a chance to pay it backward for someone who lived a life didn’t even think their life was anything, monumental because they were so busy doing for others.  

I'd like to leave you with this poem that my, now 91 year old mother wrote on a rainy day during her life.  Right before my brother and father suddenly passed away, I went to visit them for a week.  I wanted to do something creative to save her poems.  I told her I wanted to help her write a book of her life through poems and stories.  We went around the house and looked through old purses, hat boxes from the 40s, jewelry boxes and found lots of poems written on little pieces of paper.  This book served as a healing tool when Daddy passed away.  Women's clubs invited her to poetry readings and it got her mind off of her grief of losing the love of her life and best friend for 60 years.  The one that touched my heart the most was, "How would you be remembered?" which we used as the dedication page.


How would you be remembered if you were called from Earth today? 

Have you helped the lives of your fellow man in any special way? 

Are your footprints made to be followed as you traveled across Life's road? 

Did you turn away or did you help to lighten a heavy load? 

Would it be for the time you gave to help a heart to mend?

Or for the time you found on a busy day to listen to a friend?

I'd like to take the time I've left to turn my life around and leave deep tracks tomorrow, on a very hard firm ground.

That I might be remembered as I watch the sun descend: I made the time and effort to be a special friend.

Find a name, learn more about your families lives, and document their life in a creative way for your future generations.

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