Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mormons Love History

Mormons love their history. And they love to share it too. Since I started this blog, I have had several people I know personally hand me something with Mormon history.

Last Sunday, I was given a a photo copy of the last few pages of a book belonging to an older Mormon resident of Tennessee: Myrtle Bigham who passed away in 2000. Hand written on those pages were the names of the missionaries who passed through her doors 1887 to 1907. Since Myrtle was baptised in 1918, the book probably belonged to her grandparents who joined the Church in 1887.

This was not the first thing I was given of historical value, nor do I expect it will be the last. I treasure them not because they are original (it is only a copy) but because it shows that those who give them to me understand me and my love for history. I'm like a kid getting candy for his birthday.


Ardis Parshall said...

Wonderful, Bruce! You've mentioned the Bigham name before, so I'm probably not the only one of your readers who recognizes the family as early Tennessee church members.

I can't help but put this plug in for the Church History Library: The church is always, always interested in collecting relics like that book that give a glimpse into early members' church lives -- in this case, showing how important the visits of missionaries were. They don't ask that people send in their family treasures before the family is through with them. But be aware that, if at some point nobody in the family is much interested in keeping the book, or that so many cousins want it and are fighting over it, donating the book to the church, where all the cousins and their descendants could see it, is a way to preserve the book for a very long time.

The same is true for diaries, or letters, or church records, or any other kind of document that is a record of someone's connection to the church. In some cases, the church agrees to microfilm/scan the item and send the original back to the family.

Just in case you become aware of other materials in Tennessee that need a good, safe home where they will be preserved and treasured ...

BruceCrow said...

I don't know who has the book now. But the person who passed on the copies was her home teacher years ago. We connect to history in many ways. Sometimes it takes someone on the outside to make us realized that others might be interested in what we have.

A relative of mine has a story he tells about a photograph he donated to a Utah historical archive (not the Church History Achives). The photo was of Charles Crow's (my great great grandfather) harness shop. When my relative's copy of the photo needed replacing (I think his house burned down) the archive came through with a new copy for him. He had to pay for the copy, but he still has it today. He complains at having to pay for a replacement. But had he not donated it, the fire would have destroyed it forever.

In The Doghouse said...

What a very cool gift. Only one who is interested in history and genealogy could truly appreciate the coolness of it! Yipee!

BruceCrow said...

Yes, Cool is probably the best work I can think of to describe it.