No one in my family is Mormon.

My dad grew up in Catholic schools.  I grew up not really going to church at all.  We attend a Methodist Church now.

It was a bit of a surprise to find that I have ancestors who were among the first Mormon pioneers who lived in Nauvoo and then moved west.  My family didn’t make it to Utah.  They ended up settling in Iowa.

What does this all mean?  I am not very familiar with the history of the religion and what their practices were in that time period.  Am I just being silly and making sweeping generalizations in thinking that they could have been polygamists?

Was this something that was practiced in this early period of the church, before the move to Utah? And if it was, then was it recorded or hidden?

Here is a little background on my Mormon ancestors:

Frederick Mowery was married to Sarah Davis on 24 Dec 1827 in Union county, Illinois.  They had 6 children, one of them my ancestor – Martha Jane Mowery (who was a twin).  Frederick died in Illinois.

Sarah remarried to a man named Alvin Horr on 10 June 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois.  I have found Alvin mentioned in some different online journals etc. which mention him being part of the church.

Sarah then married again to a Levi Lewis Skinner in Pottawattamie county, Iowa in 1849.  She has her children, Levi’s children, and Alvin’s children living with her.  A full house!  I’ve also seen references to Levi Skinner being a “Seventy in Nauvoo”.

I haven’t really started into any of this yet.  I know that I need to take some history lessons first.  I think that I’m going to start with the research guide on the Family Search site.  Sounds like a good place to begin. 🙂

Do any of you have ancestors who were Mormon pioneers?  Any suggestions on good places to look for more information?

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Here are some of my favorite reads from this past week:

  1. Wendy shared a beautiful poem which her great-grandfather wrote when he left his sweetheart back home to fight in WWI. The  post is entitled “Military Monday: Andrew Lee Brittain in WWI”  Very touching and such a wonderful thing to pass down.
  2. Nolichucky Roots shared her grandmother’s “status updates” in Status updates from the past or how Grandmother beat Zuckerberg to the punch.  She’d be a Facebook junkie for sure!
  3. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the post entitled “10 things my ancestors did to annoy me” over at Caro’s Family Chronicles.  Don’t we all have some ancestors like these?  It keeps us forever searching…
  4. And I have to give a shout out to Wendy again, because she has been verified in the DAR!!!  And she’s using the same ancestor that I will be when I get off my rear end and finish the paperwork.  This is good news for me! 🙂
  5. I also think that you should go and visit Liz over at My Tapley Tree…and it’s Branches.  She is my self-proclaimed stalker. 🙂  Not really.  She and I met in line at the Atlanta Family History Expo and then continued to bump into each other again and again.  After the Expo, she started her blog and then found mine. 🙂  I’m hoping to run into her again in Charleston this May!
  6. Amy Coffin, over at the We Tree blog had some great posts about blog commenting.  Head on over there to read her post – and then turn off your word verification so that I can quit squinting. 🙂
  7. Would you like to win a dream vacation to your ancestor’s homeland?  Head over to Ancestry and enter to win their $20,000 Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes!!  On second thought, please don’t.  The less entries, the more of a chance I have to win….
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I spent the first few years of my life in a tiny little corner house in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. I only have fleeting memories from living here though and I don’t think of it as “home”.

When I was still in preschool, and my sister was a toddler, my parents decided to transplant us from the city to a little wooded island in the southern Puget Sound.  I was approaching school age and Seattle was trying out a new system of bussing kids to different schools through out the city, so that they could diversify the schools.  Great idea in theory, but when it comes down to it, it makes the neighborhoods lose a sense of community.  My parents were upset that I might not be attending the school just down the street – and that I wouldn’t necessarily be going to school with the neighbor kids.  They didn’t want their Kindergartner riding across town to another school and I thank them for that.

My parents had already bought 5 acres on the aforementioned island and I think that they visited there on weekends when I was little – camping and clearing the land.  I have a bunch of pictures of me in the woods.  Here is one of them. This had to be about 1977 or 78. Don’t you love our ax-murderer van?  No windows in the back.  And plaid pants?  Very cool.  I especially love my Cookie Monster hat though.

We lived in a duplex a few miles away for a short while and then later moved into a trailer on the property while the house was being built.

Here I am in the unfinished house:

It was pretty small – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, a large kitchen/dining room and a laundry room.  That was it.  I remember that my mom let me paint the walls Pepto Bismal pink.  I was in a Strawberry Shortcake phase. I would live to regret that decision, because I was stuck with that color on the walls for years….

After my two brothers came along, the house didn’t seem big enough anymore.  We added onto the house.  The “addition”, as we still call it, was actually larger than the original house.  It added on 3 more bedrooms, another bathroom, a formal dining room, and a 900 sq foot family room.

Yes, this is actually my sister and I in a septic tank.  I promise that it hadn’t been used yet. 🙂  We were just checking it out before it got hooked up to the house.

The addition became an ongoing project.  Both of my parents worked on houses and my dad was actually a contractor for a while.  When you have the skills, you just can’t pay someone else to do it – even if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.  So, a good portion of the addition just sat and sat.  My parents used the back “family room” as a shop for their woodworking tools.

Since I was the oldest kid, they finished my bedroom first (yes, I got one of the new rooms).  I had the coolest bed on earth.  It actually wasn’t even in my room.  My parents cut a large hole in the wall (near the ceiling) and put a queen-sized bed in there.  The neighboring room was a storage room and since my bed was a loft bed, it simply made a section of the storage room lower.  I had to climb a ladder to my bed, but it was the neatest cubby hole.  I really loved it.

The family room didn’t get finished until after I had already moved out of the house.  That’s what happens when you’re the oldest.  Your parents end up having more time and money as they have less kids int he house. Darn!

I feel lucky to have spent almost my entire childhood in the same home.

And now my parents are all alone in that really big house. 🙂

Someday, (if my husband ever retires from the Army), we’re going to be building our house on the adjoining 5 acres.

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