Our grandchildren are growing up in the Salt Lake Valley, not far from where Brigham Young pronounced “This is the Place”! On every level our ancestors left a legacy of sacrifice and obedience to the commandments of God. They left their native lands and traveled over ocean and plains to follow their hearts to a desert valley surrounded by rocky mountains. We honor them for their faith and convictions to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Learning about family history is important. It is essential to understanding ourselves and basic humanity and diversity. Family history also helps to keep memories alive and allow each generation to have an idea of who they are and where they come from.” My wish is that our grandchildren will learn more about their ancestors and honor them during their lives.
Our grandchildren have ancestors from England, Scotland, Denmark, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, and the Philippines. I am sure if our grandchildren do more family history than we have or have their DNA tested, they will find more than we have.
One part of our family came from Scotland. We had the opportunity to visit Scotland with my father and visited the places where his grandfather may have grown up. I loved seeing the highlands and the dense forests of Scotland. There were sheep that roamed the rolling fields, men playing rugby, and lots of castles (which I loved). We found that many of our ancestors worked for the mines. It was a difficult life for them.
Scotland lost 10% to 47% of the natural population increase every decade in the 1800s. Until about 1855, a number of the emigrants from the Highlands were forced to leave the land because of evictions. In the Lowlands, emigration was almost always the outcome of wanting to improve one’s living standards.
Many Scottish people joined the church and traveled with the saints all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and ours ended up in Sanpete County, Utah. They raised sheep (as they may have in Scotland). My paternal grandfather attended BYU Academy (now Brigham Young University) and used his education to help others during the World War.
Many of the later Danish immigrants of the early 1800’s sought religious freedom. However, the main reasons for the Danish Immigration to America in the mid 1800’s were disasters such as crop failures, blights and poor harvests leading to poverty. Funny since our ancestors experience much the same in Sanpete County as they did in Denmark. They were always worried about the weather. It was hard to grow great crops. Both of my grandparents ended up working at the turkey plant in Moroni, Utah. But, at least they could worship as they wanted.
In Utah, we celebrate the 24th of July or better know as Pioneer Day. It is an official state holiday . The day commemorates the Mormon pioneers passage into the Salt Lake Valley from Emigration Canyon in 1847.
Happy 24th of July Utahns!!