Monday, October 27, 2014

More of the Story

Right now we are working on probate documents from the 1860's of every day Americans who were going about their mostly quiet life.  Some of them would leave nothing behind but their hopefully good name while others were able to leave various sums of money that probably meant a great deal to the recipients. I began to think about what was happening in the United States during that decade.  Hooray for the Google search program!  The following events occurred from 1860 to 1869.

  • 1860--Abraham Lincoln elected President of the United States in November.
  • 1860--In December South Carolina announces it will secede from the United States and other southern states will follow.
  • 1861--Fort Sumter is attacked in April by Confederate soldiers.
  • 1862--Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, dies in May.
  • 1863--In January President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation 
  • 1863--The three day battle at Gettysburg is fought.
  • 1863--President Lincoln issues a proclamation declaring a Day of Thanksgiving to be held each year on the last Thursday in November.
  • 1865--In May Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated to a second term as President of the United States.
  • 1865--President Lincoln is shot in April at the Ford Theater.  He dies the next day.
  • 1868--May 30 Decoration Day is observed in the United States.  Soldiers graves were decorated with flowers.  We now call it Memorial Day.
  • 1869--Ulysses S. Grant is inaugurated as President of the United States of America.

Goodbye Old Friend!

At 1:30 this morning Scott was driving me to the hospital emergency room.  I must have looked pretty pathetic because when they saw me they called for the trauma team to come to the desk immediately.  No worries.  They did an EKG and when they saw my heart was behaving admirably, half of the room emptied out and then the process of elimination began!  When the doctor pressed down where my gall bladder was we had clue #1 and off I went for an ultrasound.  Yes, gall stones are not good and infection is definitely not good.  Antibiotics started coursing through my veins.  Once that was determined the physicians assistant (I love physician assistants!) came in and did some more checking.  She noticed some serious bruising on my legs that I couldn't explain and they did some blood work.  One of the tests apparently tells you if there are blood clots.  A few hours later that test came back positive and so another round of tests were ordered. Ultra sound for the veins in my legs.  Came back clear--so back for a CAT scan on my lungs.  That came back clear.  WooHoo!!!  Back to gall bladder problems and two more doses of antibiotics, a name of a local doctor that I am to see within seven days, and if my insurance approves it--goodbye trouble maker.  If they don't approve it then we will pray for divine intervention until the mission is over and we are home! Anyway 12 hours later Scott was driving me back home.  Although the process was very painful in the beginning I have to say that the hospital staff was amazing and I continue to see the wonderful New Hampshire kindness extended us.  Scott took a wonderful picture of me looking pathetic in the hospital bed but it had disappeared when I tried to download it.  Use your imagination!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Missionary Moments #8 October 26, 2014

It is hard to believe that we are now finishing eight weeks as missionaries.  The week has been a good one. Grandpa and I seem to be getting into a groove and on most days we are taking over 1500 pics.  I hate to mention this because now it will probably happen, but we haven't had to retake any of our pictures yet. We'd like to take credit but honestly the camera designers for the Church are amazing.  If you can put two OLD people who are not tech savvy in any way (just ask Perry) in front of a majorly expensive piece of equipment and have it work, then you know you have made something special.  We had three days of rain here which I actually enjoy.  There is an occasional down pours but mostly it is a gentle rain all day.  We have been in our work space by ourselves for the last two weeks because the lady in the office with us was on vacation so we have enjoyed listening to conference talks and also listened to two books on tape. Yesterday we went to Manchester to a Barnes and Noble bookstore and got two audio books--Killing Patton by Bill O'Reilly and James Madison by Lynn Cheney.  The time goes much faster when you have something interesting to listen to while you work.  We got a call from our Mission President on Friday.  He asked us to come and have lunch with him on Monday but when he found out we were allowed to attend mission meetings he asked us to come to the Zone conference on Tuesday.  It will be in Sharon, Vermont and we will be watching Meet the Mormons with the other senior couples who are serving in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission.  We are excited to meet other senior couples and of course going back to the memorial for Joseph Smith is great.

Yesterday Grandpa and I attended the Concord Stake Family History Conference.  There were over 100 people attending and at least half of those were not members of the Church.  Those who attended got a wonderful overview of what is happening with family history and also a better knowledge of what is available on the internet for those who are seeking out their ancestors.  On the Family Search website they write, "We hold that all family members--those living, those past, and those future--share an enduring bond that reaches across the generations.  To us that means that families are forever, and an important part of acting on this belief is doing family history."  How happy Grandpa and I are to know that we are contributing in helping families to seek out their ancestors by making probate records accessible to so many. We are proud to be a part of such a great cause!

It has been so nice getting letters from some of the grandkids.  We hope we will continue to hear what is happening with your families in the coming months.  Be sure and send us pictures of your Halloween costumes.  We hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!  Love Grandpa and Grandma, Mom and Dad

Friday, October 24, 2014


I got my first name Elizabeth from my mother and my middle name came from my father.  When he was in the service during WWII a fellow soldier would sing 'my blue-eyed Elaine you're the sweetest thing...' and I guess my dad liked the song and I became Elaine.  I have been fascinated with the names on the probate records and started making a list of interesting names I find.  See what you think.

                           Eliphalet, Loan, Thatcher, Elwyn, Jewett, Sewel, Alwyn, Josiah, Silas,                                                               Betsey, Mehitable, Prince, Ichabod, Tuttle, Eben, Trustworthy,                                     Zebulon, MiriamCaleb, Isaiah, Noah, Abigail, Ruth, Jacob 

Okay, I did throw in a few that I especially love but I definitely didn't make these up.  Some of these kids were saddled with a hefty name!  Do you know why you have your name? 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


We have a young man in our ward named Owen who is a senior in high school and is quite a cutie and very friendly.  Earlier this month he was made the local high school's Homecoming King.  He also has Downs Syndrome. When they announced it in our Sunday School class everyone started clapping and cheering.  I was delighted at the response of everyone in our ward at Owen's opportunity to represent his school.  This experience made me appreciate even more the book I had just finished reading,  Wonder by R. J. Palacio about a ten year old boy who was born with a very rare birth defect which caused his face to be severely deformed.    The book starts with his parents deciding that he needs to go to school instead of being schooled at home.  My granddaughter Ruth who is in fifth grade had to read the book in her class and she had told me that it was a great book and I should read it.  I try to listen to my grandkids!  It was a great book and although painful at times, well worth your time.  I have worked at a school long enough to know that most kids are kind but often we focus on the bullies and lump all children into that group.  The principal was a very wise man which I have also seen in my career and I loved the things that were done to make Auggie's experience a positive one.

Here were some of my favorite quotes from the book.  Auggie's mom--"There are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie...but I really believe...that there are more good people on this earth than bad people and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other."  Quote (from The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie)--"Shall we make a new rule in life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?" Mr. Tushman (the principal) "The best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches...It is what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. the greatest measure of success."  Quote (Ian Maclaren) "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."  Quote (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer) "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."  If you haven't read this book I hope you will.  It was a great read.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keep 'em Coming!

Alright sweet grandkids keep sending me your notes, letters, emails, and pictures.  I have a whole wall ready for your sweet words and pictures.  As you can see Grandma still likes to decorate!  Now help me by sending me things for my boards.

Going to the Chapel

Loved the turrets
Loved the clock

Huge bell in the tower
Beautiful red brick
Built in 1893
Can't imagine the stairs in the winter

Steeple is beautiful

I have been fascinated with all of the ornate churches in the Concord area.  This is just a small sampling of what is here.  They are either granite, red brick, or clapboard and almost all of them have beautiful steeples.  Many have weather vanes on top and some with crosses.  Several of these were built before 1900.  I took a picture of the little red brick church because it reminded me of my Aunt Edith who was a devout member of the Church of Christ and this would have been the meeting house she would have had because they didn't believe in Sunday School so they only needed one room.  Just in case you are interested!

Church of Christ--Thinking of Aunt Edith
But the most beautiful church of all is the one that Scott and I attend every week.  No matter where we go we know we will always find our place among friends.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Canterbury and Concord Ward Building

Dead People!

 After going to the mission office to report in we headed to Concord to see the apartment that the mission office had rented for us.  As we drove up the road we passed a huge huge cemetery and then a little farther down we passed another one on the other side of the road.  Scott looked at me and said "I think there are more dead people here than live ones!"  We had a good chuckle but honestly there are dozens of cemeteries  here and they are all quite beautiful.  Granite is quarried around here and the tombstones on so many of the graves are quite beautiful and very artistic.  In working with probates I often see the cost of a headstone which was around $150 back in the 1860s.  I'm sure they are way more expensive than that now.  When we have a nice spring day I plan to go back and just look at dates and what is written on them.  I feel another blog post coming! Years ago I went with my parents to a family reunion in Texas and we visited the grave site of my grandmother and grandfather.  I had loved reading some of the sayings on the headstones and want to do that here.   On Sunday after church I told Scott I wanted to go take pictures of some of the cemeteries to show you what they are like.  It just so happens that the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery is located just outside of Concord so we went there as well.  Beautiful area to honor the sacrifices of so many soldiers.  I didn't know until my dad died that when you are buried in a military cemetery they have emblems that are etched on the headstone that tells what your religious preference was.
 My dad has the Angel Moroni on his.  After taking some pictures I said that we should see if any Mormon soldiers were buried and sure enough I found one.  I included a picture so you could see what I mean.  Anyway I hope you will enjoy my fascination with grave yards.  It is like walking on                                                                              hallowed ground!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Yesterday we went to the Atlantic Ocean by way of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  It was a beautiful day and from what we are hearing we are getting a serious cold spell coming this week so this was a perfect time to go.  As we were driving to Portsmouth we passed some escaped chickens and three white turkeys who obviously weren't where we were suppose to be.  I had to stop so we could get pictures.  I am beginning to think that New Hampshire is right up there with Minnesota when it comes to lakes.  We passed another beautiful one on our way.  Once in Portsmouth we went to Fort McClary.  It was built during the Revolutionary War.  When you are up in the top you can see out into bay where any ships coming in would be seen right away.  It wasn't recreated but there were still two of the original cannons there.  The view around the area was really beautiful.  We could see a light house off to the right and an island with a big house on it just off the shore.  If you double click on the pictures you can get a better view or the pictures.

From the fort we drove into downtown Portsmouth and visited the Strawberry Banke Museum. The area was named Strawberry Banke when the Indians first came into the area and found wild strawberries growing.  The area consists of recreated houses from the 1700s up to the 1950s when the area began to lose population.  People were moving inland to the suburbs.  The museum has volunteers who role play in five areas of the museum but yesterday there was only one person working in the herb garden of the governors mansion.  We plan to go back next summer when more tourists are around so they have all of the areas open.
Governor's Mansion

Children's table and chair set

One of seventeen houses remaining in the Strawberry Banke

Grocery store of the 1940s

Typical stove for the 1900s

Typical Menu or the 1790s and 1940s (I'd go for the 1940 menu!)

This was one of the 1790 buildings
We browsed through the various houses and had lunch in their cafe and then it began to rain so we began to run--back to the car.  It was a very nice day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Laundry Room

At least it is not two rocks on the side of the river!  Every Thursday morning we carry our dirty laundry out to the car and after work we spend time at a very nice laundromat down the road.  I keep a bag of quarters, detergent and fabric softener sheets ready to go.  Actually it is nice to wash and dry all the clothes at the same time and be done in an hour and a half!  Before we leave the laundromat the clothes are folded and ready to be put away when we get home.  I think when we get back to California we may have to invest in two washers and two dryers!

Missionary Moments #7 October 19, 2014

Dear Family,  Another great week of hard work and many clicks!  Between the two of us we took over 7,500 pictures of probate documents.  As you saw on the blog grandpa made a great discovery which I think helped us strengthen our relationship with the director of the archives here in New Hampshire.   We are working in the smallest archives in the United States and because of that he appreciates the volunteers who come in to help preserve the records that are there.  As I prep the documents before we capture them (take their picture) I have looked at hundreds of wills.  I noticed something that I would like to share with you. When a will starts (these are from 1871) here are some of the phrases I often see--Being of sound mind and memory but mindful of the uncertainty of life...In the name of God. Amen...Be it known to all persons...Now of feeble health, but of sound mind and memory...I being weak in body but of sound and perfect mind...Be it remembered...Considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound and perfect memory blessed be Almighty God for the same...being through divine goodness of a sound disposing mind.  I have had those phrases running through my mind this week and began to think about our testimonies.  Do we recognize what it means to bear testimony?  Although we are bearing it to other people, we are more importantly bearing our testimony to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Have we so prepared ourselves to share our testimony as our will writers were to provide for their family when they were gone?  Do we recognize how fragile our lives are and that our testimonies may be the only thing we leave to those we love.  Will our children remember that we had shared our love of the gospel with them?  I hope you will think about some of the things I have mentioned here and maybe spend some time this week thinking about how your testimony measures up to your intentions.  Be it is fragile and we don't have the luxury of waiting to long for those we love to know what we believe.  Have a great week!  Love, Grandpa and Grandma and Mom and Dad

P.S.  Went to Portsmouth and saw the Atlantic Ocean, a revolutionary war fort, and the Strawberry Banke museum with replica buildings of the area beginning in the 1700's until WWII.  I'll put the pictures on the blog soon.

Should I Be Worried?

I noticed that every fire hydrant I passed as we drove around the area had a pole come off the side of it.  On the top of it was a big metal circle. It finally dawned on me.  If there was a fire and a bad snow storm at the same time the firemen would be able to locate the hydrant underneath the snow.  Hey Mike Taylor does that sound fun to you?!  Anyway--not to worry--a sister in our ward this morning told me there is a saying here.  If you don't like the weather in New Hampshire--just wait a minute!  

A Tale of Two Cities

I have been inspired by my grandchildren who are all avid readers.  In the past few months I have decided that I need to do more reading and have thoroughly enjoyed various types of genre.  I have always been a mystery buff enjoying novels by Mary Higgins Clark, Ann Perry and several others, but as I have listened to my kids and grandkids I decided it was time to branch out!  Since I am reading more I decided it was time to do some book reports!  Hope you enjoy my reviews.

I finished reading A Tale of Two Cities and although there was a point when I called Amy and asked "are you sure about this book" she told me not to give up because I would love it.  She was right.  Keeping the characters straight was a little difficult for me but in the end it all made perfect sense.  How could I not appreciate the beginning "It was the best of times--it was the worst of times..." and when I was almost done reading I was so impressed with the following quote..."Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh.  Six tumbrils carrying the day's wine to La Guillotine.  All the devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since imagine could record itself, are fused in the one realisation, Guillotine.  And yet there is not in France, with its rich variety of soil and climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a spring, a peppercorn, which will grow to maturity under conditions more certain than those that have produced this horror.  Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind."  I have been blessed to enjoy the good fruits of so many others labor--my parents, my church leaders, my husband, my children, my friends.  I have shared in great experiences because of the great people I have been blessed to know.  In my job I have seen children's lives so disrupted because of their parents inability to provide 'good fruit' for their children because they never knew what that was either. And yet every person has the ability to decide that they will be the one who stops what has been happening and change the end of their story if they are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.  Carton did that.

Friday, October 17, 2014

In the Money!

You probably know that our calling as records preservers has us making digital copies of legal documents. Most of the documents we copy are related to people who have passed away and are trying to make sure their loved ones will still be cared for when they are gone. Some of the copies we make are of things that may not be important in the long run, but were important at the time.

I was making copies this morning on a probate packet when I turned a page in one of the records and right in front of me was an unusual one-dollar bill. It was dated 1862, the same time as the Civil War. I didn't think this could be a real dollar, but it was! After I showed it to Elaine she took it to an archive employee who had the director of the archives come and see it.  After examining it he explained that one dollar bills came about at the beginning of the Civil War and this dollar was quite rare because it was in such good condition.  Later in the afternoon he came back and showed us a book he had with lots of information on various types of currency. According to the book he said our little dollar bill from 1862 would now bring in $175.00.

This morning before we left for the archives Elaine had prayed that we would be aware of significant things that we might find as we searched the documents we were working on.  I think we had one of those opportunities she prayed for.  Before the day was over many of the employees had heard about what we had found.  It is really fun to work with all the people who work at the Archives.  This gave us another opportunity  to show the people we work with what we do.  I love being in this beautiful country with all the colored leaves and the houses and the government buildings and today I loved being a part of such a fun discovery.
The director gave us permission to take a picture of the money so we could show our grandkids

It is now in a protective sleeve in the Archives!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kindred Spirits

I got a letter from our granddaughter Margaret Joy (Meggie to us) this week.  I had written earlier and told her about the interesting houses around here.  In her letter she wrote,  "You are lucky to get to see all of those old houses, there is probably a lot of history with them.  Old things are very interesting."  That was the best part of the letter for me.  I do love old things (especially Grandpa!) and I often spend time thinking about what kind of stories those houses could tell.  I am so excited to know that my granddaughter thinks about the same things I do.  Now that we are in New Hampshire the history is just amazing around here.  Down the road from us is the state prison which was built in 1893 and looks every day its age with red bricks and small windows.  I think Charles Dickens could have used it in one of his novels.  I often think about what choices those people made to get themselves into such a foreboding place.   I see houses that were obviously built by very wealthy people and then the humble houses of the working man.  I wonder what the stories would say.  Were they happy?  Did they have big families?  How many soldiers left for war from that house?  Yes I do wonder, and now I know that Meg does too!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

It has taken some getting used to but there are no roads in this area (except the freeway) where you are allowed to drive faster than 30 miles an hour.  The first week I felt like we were crawling everywhere we went but now it seems normal to drive so slow.  When I am on the freeways which are posted at 55 mph and 65 mph I feel like I am racing!  One nice thing about driving so slow is you actually can look around and enjoy the interesting sites around town.  Another interesting thing is that you cannot turn right on red and the lights here seem to be really long.

A Shakers Village--Canterbury, New Hampshire

Here are our pictures from the Shaker Village.  Check our Missionary Moments #6 if you'd like more details.
This was a barn where they kept farm equipment and wagons and animals

                                                                 These were the dorms where the people lived.                                                                          Women and girls in one building-men and boys in the other

They said they added a building every year when they first came

This is the meeting hall.  Women on one side-men on the other-dancing in the middle

                                  The leaders lived here.  The two elders lived on one floor and  2 eldresses on the other. Regular members lived in the dorms.

                            This was their sewing area.  They had electricity and other modern conveniences but seemed to dress much like the Quakers or Mennonites did.

                                       The Shakers had a reputation for making good and simple quality products and were famous around the area for their goods

This was in the Elders and Eldresses building

Inside of the barn.  Now used for special activities

Canning, candles, honey and other goods were made here

This was the school room.  Both boys and girls attended

The Birthplace of a Prophet

We loved visiting the birthplace of Joseph Smith in Sharon, Vermont.  Here are some of the pictures we took.  If you'd like to read more about it you can read our Missionary Moments #6.
Joseph Smith Memorial

Sister Missionaries escorted us through the exhibits

Another view 

The flowers were beautiful as were the trees all around

This was the outline of the foundation of the cabin

The base and obelisk was 50 feet high

Building on right was the exhibit, left was missionary housing

The colors are fading now but still quite beautiful

Entrance to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial

This is the ward building in front of the memorial