Bliss, Idaho

This photo is one that was among many in my Great Grandmother’s possessions.  Since I don’t have a clue who she is, I thought I would make it available with the information that is written on the back.

“Sweet Dorothy J Gruel”  (This may be Gruett, Cruett, Gruell, or some other variation in cursive writing.)

“Bliss, Idaho”

“Box 175″

“Age 14″

I recognize the building because it is still there and Bliss doesn’t have many buildings.  I don’t know if it was all grades in one, or just a high school.  Either way, I assume Ms. Dorothy knew my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley, and sent the photo to her.  There is a chance this photo was sent to Lillian’s mother, Martha Christiansen Coley, and could be a niece or something to her.  I do not have her in my family file, cannot find her name anywhere, and hope this will be useful to someone.  My Great Grandmother Lillian was born in 1898, so if this girl is roughly the same age, this photo would have been taken around 1912.

Sweet Dorothy J Gruell Bliss, Idaho Box 175 age 14

Ellis Seth Jonas

With the passing of Uncle Ellis and his funeral today, I thought I would make available the pictures I have of him over the years similar to other family members.  My way of remembering him and honouring the family.  Until we meet again.

Ellis Seth Jonas was born 6 September 1926 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah to Lillian Coley and Joseph Nelson Jonas.  The fifth child of eight to his parents (my Grandfather, Norwood, was fourth).  Ellis was born on the tenth wedding anniversary of his parents.  He married Geraldine Pitcher 17 August 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  My Grandparents were going to elope and go at the same time but chickened out and ended up making the trip the next month.  Five children were born to the marriage; Kent in 1949, Mary Lou in 1951, Julie in 1954, Dan in 1958, and Ron in 1965.  Ellis died at home in Smithfield, Cache, Utah 12 August 2012 and will be buried today, 18 August 2012 in Smithfield.

Ellis as a boy.

A certificate regarding his promotion to North Cache High School.

I have a host of World War II pictures.  I will just present them all here.

Ellis is the second from the right in the second from back row.

A letter home near the end of the war.

I have this graduation picture.  I don’t know if it is high school or college, probably graduation from Utah State in 1951 or 1952.  At this link are a couple of photos from Ellis’ days coaching baseball.

A picture of Ellis on the ground at the 1957 Jonas Reunion.

Ellis Jonas (on the ground), children (l-r): Paul Jonas, Julie Jonas (sitting on Ellis), Janeal Jonas, Sherlean Talbot, MaryLou Jonas.

The Ellis and Geri Jonas family in classic 1970’s fashion.

Back (l-r): Julie, Dan, Mary Lou. Front: Ellis, Ron, Geri.

Working at the armory.

Ellis and Geri.

Here is a picture of their home in Smithfield taken in July 2003.

The last picture I have in life of Ellis is from 2009 with his great grand niece.

Ellis Jonas holding Gracie Christiansen

1955 Coley Reunion

I have these two photos of the 1955 Coley Reunion in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  These two pictures are obviously of the same group, the black and white one of much better quality, but I thought I would include the color one since it can add a dimension to the black and white (since it is pretty blurry).  The first picture seems like it was just for Coley descendants, but then spouses sneak in to the picture, so I really do not know what was the thinking for the shot.  The second photo has a few more people I will need help naming, especially the younger ones.  Let me know if there are corrections.  (Click on the photos to see them closer)

Back (l-r): Blaine Thomson, Olof Neilson, Lloyd Coley, Ivan Coley, Art Coley, Golden Coley, Lillian Bowcutt, Hannah Thomson, Gay Coley, Betty Coley, Edna Neilson.  Middle: Verda Coley, Carrie McMurdie, Clara Coley, Bill Thomson, Kathy Coley, RaNae Coley, Martha Coley, Gary Coley, Dean Coley, Stephen Coley.  Front: Shirley Coley, Lillian Thomson, Mary Coley, Janice Coley, Joy Coley, Nina Coley, David Coley, Susan Thomson, Doug Thomson.

Back: Blaine Thomson, Olof Neilson, Lloyd Coley, Ivan Coley, Bill Thomson, ?(child held by Bill), Hannah Thomson, Gay Coley, Betty Coley, Edna Neilson.  Two men in front of doors: Art Coley, Golden Coley.  Second row from back: ?(held child), ?, ?(partially obscured woman in front of Blaine), Verda Coley, Carrie McMurdie, Clara Coley, RaNae Coley, ?, Martha Coley, ?, Steven Coley.  Second row from front standing: Shirley Coley, ?, Evan Jonas, Lona Jonas, ?.  Back row of sitting children:  Dean Coley, Gary Coley, David Coley (partially hidden), Stephen Coley, Bob Jonas.  Second row of children sitting: Kathy Coley, ?, Doug Thomson, ?.  Front row: Lillian Thomson, ?(child held by Lillian), Ren Bowcutt, Lillian Bowcutt, Mary Coley, ?, Joy Coley, Janice Coley, Nina Coley, Susan Thomson.

Now comes the fun part of linking everyone together.  I will only link together those in the photo, so this is not the entire family.

Martha Christiansen Coley (1879 – 1961).

Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt (1898 – 1987), daughter of Martha, married to Ren Bowcutt (1883 – 1966), previously married to Joseph Nelson Jonas(1893 – 1932).

Evan Reed Jonas (1928 – 1999), son of Lillian, married to Lona Rae Jensen Jonas (1930 – 2012).

Edna Coley Andrus Neilson (1900 – 1983), daughter of Martha, married to Olof Alma Neilson (1891 – 1960).

Carrie Christiansen McMurdie (1906 – 1992), daughter of Martha, married Joseph Lorus McMurdie (1905 – 2000).

Hannah Marie Coley Thomson (1909 – 1982), daughter of Martha, married to William Surgeoner Thomson (1903 – 1985).

William McBlaine Thomson (1928 – 2001), son of William and Hannah, married to Lillian Moss Thomson.

Susan and Doug Thomson, children of William and Lillian Thomson.

Ivan Stephen Coley (1912 – 1994), son of Martha and not pictured, married to Clara McMurdie Coley (1914 – 2012).

Clarene RaNae Coley, daughter of Ivan and Clara.

Oley Lloyd Coley (1918 – 1998), son of Martha, married to Verda Anderson Coley (1918 – 2013).

Alice Maxine, Betty Jean, Lloyd Dean, and Nina Rae Coley, children of Lloyd and Verda.  (Is Verda Gay in the picture?)

Arthur Christiansen Coley (1921 – 2004), son of Martha, married to Mary Popwitz Jonas Coley.

Stephen Coley, son of Art and Mary Coley (Is Ronald Gary in the photo?).

Bob Jonas, son of Irwin John Jonas (1921 – 1944, son of Joseph Nelson Jonas and Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt) and Mary Popwitz Jonas Coley.

William Golden Coley (1924 – 2009), son of Martha, married to Shirley Hall Coley.

Shirley Kathleen (Kathy), Joy Ann, David Lynn, and Janice Coley, children of Golden and Shirley Coley.

Do you know the ? individuals in the photo, if so, please let me know.

Coley-Rogers Wedding

William and Mary Rogers are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Hannah Maria Rogers to Stephen Coley, son of James and Letitia Coley.  They were married 3 October 1852 in Halesowen, England.

This family has limited information, but since we stumbled upon a picture recently, I thought I would make it available.  Hopefully some other photos of the family will appear.

Stephen was the third child born to Letitia Willetts and James Coley on 28 January 1830 in Lutley, Worcestershire, England.  James, as far as I can tell was a hired man, but we do not know anything more.  The family stayed in Lutley and by the age of 21 Stephen was working as a servant for the widow Ann Page as a farm laborer on her farm.  Stephen continued working as a farm laborer until he took a job in the Iron Works of Haley Green by 1871.  The 1881 census lists him as a mender, we do not know what kind. When he shows up on the 1900 Census in Syracuse, Davis, Utah he is a day laborer.

Hannah was the first child born to Mary Harris and William Rogers on 4 June 1832 in Romsley, Worcestershire, England.  Some of the census records show Lutley too.  This family we know little about as a whole.  Mary died in 1859 and Roger in 1862.  We do not know his occupation or even where the family and other children end up.  The name is too common and tracking down siblings to this point has been unsuccessful.  The family lived near enough Romsley to be married there and each of the children christened there.  The only reason we know anything more about Hannah is because she left her own record with her posterity and church.

We have records of 7 children born to Stephen and Hannah Coley.

William Coley born 19 October 1854 in Hasbury, Worcestershire, England.  William married Sylvia James 19 Aug 1877 in Dudley, Worcestershire, England.  We do not know anything more about this family.

Charles N Coley born January 1857 in Hasbury, England.  Charles married an Ann and had 7 children we know of.

Martha Ann Coley born 18 August 1860 in Haley Green, Worcestershire, England.  She married Theophilus France, and more is written of them at that link.

Arthur Coley born 17 January 1862 in Lutley and married an Elizah Willett.  We know nothing more about him.

Herbert Coley born 12 February 1864 in Lutley and married Martha Christiansen 1 December 1896 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  This are my Great Great Grandparents and I will write more of them later.

George Harry Coley born 16 April 1868 in Lutley and married Caroline Wilson, and more is written of them at that link.

Francis Henry Coley born 8 October 1871 in Lutley and died 10 July 1893.  We do not know where, but that is the date passed down by the family.

While the family lived in Lutley, Mormons came to the community.  We do not know the conversion story, but Martha joined 23 August 1867, Herbert 1 June 1881, George 22 August 1881, and Frank 2 June 1882.  The call to gather to Utah was strong enough that these four children decided to make the venture.  We do not know if Stephen and Hannah came begrudgingly or not, but they accompanied the children on their journey.

The family boarded the RMS Wisconsin in Liverpool.  They arrived 23 October 1890 in New York City, New York.  Stephen traveled with Hannah, daughter Martha, niece Letitia Lea Willetts, one of Letitia’s daughters Clara,  and an unknown Frank and Mary.  We don’t know who these last two children are, but they traveled with the company.  The confusing thing is that Clara is listed as a Coley, yet her mother Letitia is a Willetts.  We believe it is this same Frank who shows up in the 1900 Census living in the Martha France household where he is listed as a step-son to Theophilus.  Therefore, it appears this Frank is Martha’s child, but we have no record of his birth, father, or where he ended up after the 1900 census.  Mary may be the daughter of Charles Coley, but the age is two years off, and she disappeared once they arrived in Utah, so we do not know.

Martha married in Logan, Cache, Utah on 4 November 1891.  Interestingly, Hannah was baptized a Mormon that same day.  Martha was sealed to Theophilus in the Logan Temple.  It is likely that Hannah attended to the temple the same day and was baptized in the font of the temple.  (They used to allow convert and children of record baptisms in the temple font)  Stephen was baptized 5 January 1892, we do not know the location.

Stephen and Hannah were both endowed on the 12 October 1892 in the Logan Temple.  They were sealed to each other the same day.  George married 23 November 1892 and his parents likely attended.

Hannah died 22 October 1894 in Franklin, Franklin (then Oneida), Idaho.  I don’t believe they were living outside of Lewiston so she was probably visiting or died there for some other reason (Lewiston and Franklin are only a few miles apart).  She was buried two days later, 24 October 1894 in Lewiston.

By the time the 1910 Census rolls around, Stephen is staying with Edwin Paice, step-son of his niece Letitia Lea Willetts who had remarried to William Paice.  Edwin lived next door to William and Letitia.  The photo above was likely taken between the death of his wife his own death 19 years later.  I am guessing somewhere after 1900, which year would put him about 70, since I guess he looks like he is in his 70’s.

Stephen died at home in Lewiston 22 October 1913 (same day as his wife) and was buried two days later, 24 October 1913 in Lewiston.

Update: LOST:OLD TRUNK

I am republishing this old post with a pretty cool little update.  I first published this post on the 26th of October 2006.  I am happy to report that while the trunk was not located, its contents have been!  I will not disclose where these contents were found, the important part is that family once again has these items.  Future posts will start to share these contents as I have the opportunity to review, scan, and make it available.  There are some pretty cool, and useless, items in these contents.  Everything from tokens obtained in Cigarette packs for Hoppie’s Billards in Richmond, Cache, Utah to a stash of photos that I can only hope we can name all the individuals captured.  Calendars from 1934 to mail received in the 1940’s.  Telegrams regarding the bringing of a body home (9 years after dying in World War II) to receipts from the Benson Stake (Richmond, Utah) Tithing Office.  Franklin Institute flyers from 1930 to a wallet of my Great Grandfather containing receipts from the day he died in 1932.  This will be fun.  None of the journals have been found yet.  The flag from her son’s coffin is not present (yet).  The person is still looking to see if there are more items, which I hope there are.  As a taste, here is a photo from a negative found in the contents of Yellowstone Falls.
Thanks be given for this modern miracle.

Yellowstone Falls about 1966

Here is the original post.
Here will certainly be a different blog. It is both a prayer and an announcement for the world. There is also a hope that the miracles of God
will be manifest. I ask that those who read would offer up a prayer and hope for the same.

My Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt, grew up in the mountains to the south-east of Richmond, Utah. She was born to Herbert and Martha Christiansen Coley in 1898 and was the eldest of 10 children. In 1916 she married Joseph Nelson Jonas in the Logan Temple and had 8
children.

Joseph Herbert Jonas
Spencer Gilbert Jonas
Irwin John Jonas
Wilburn Norwood Jonas
Evan Reed Jonas
Ellis Seth Jonas
Lillian Jonas
LeReta Jonas

In 1932, Joseph, her husband was electrocuted working for the railroad in Ogden, Utah. His father had worked for the railroad, and most of his family also worked for the railroad. He was made manager and had moved to Ogden from Richmond only a year or two before.

The family moved back to Richmond. Lillian then did her best to raise the boys. She remarried in about 1959 to Lorenzo (Ren) Bowcutt in Preston, Idaho. Ren died in about 1966. She lived alone mostly until the mid 80’swhen she moved in with her daughter, Lillian, in Layton, Utah.  Here is the reason for writing. Through all these years, she kept a trunk with personal possessions. Contained therein are the birth certificates of all her children. We know she kept journals through most of her life in calendar books issued by the insurance companies. There are at least 10 of these journals in the trunk. There are a couple photo albums that were hers and her mother’s. Also there is the flag that draped her son’s coffin after his death in WWII. There are apparently some books that came over with her grandfather from England.

This trunk of is wonderful value when it comes to family history work. The only thing that might be of any worth is the trunk, but it is so old and
worn that I cannot imagine it would hold any monetary value.  Somehow, for what reasons I do not know, my grandmother ended up with the
trunk. I only remember it being placed in one of the upstairs bedrooms of my grandmother’s house and we were forbidden to look in it. She placed a television on it when we were younger to keep it from younger hands. It sat in that same space, even until I left to go to England for my mission.

In 1999, she died, and shortly thereafter, somebody broke into her house.  The trunk is one of the objects that were stolen. My aunt was living there at the time but insists she has no idea who made off with it. She thinks it is somebody she knew or knows. There might be other items that were taken, but the official inventory was not taken for another week or two afterward.

So here is the plea. This trunk would have little or no value to anyone who is not a member of the Jonas/Coley family. I sincerely hope that whoever did this deed, friend or foe of the family, would not have carelessly thrown away or destroyed the trunk and its contents. In fact, I don’t care about the trunk. But it is the possessions of the trunk which are of great interest at present. All living members of the family still ask me
regularly about the trunk. Their own birth certificates are in there. I am interested in the history and priceless information contained within that
trunk.

Here is the plea to those who come upon this blog. If you are searching for the owner of the trunk, please contact me. While there are no individuals who would possess the names in the trunk in Southern Idaho, I hope you stumble on this blog. There will be no questions asked, we just want the inventory, any of it. If you are just reading and can understand the plight, please offer a prayer to heaven in our behalf that this priceless gem is returned to those who would honour and cherish it. This is a deep and sincere desire of my heart.

1961 Coley Film

I stumbled upon a photo of a Great, Great Uncle, Wilford Herbert Coley, posted on a website. I e-mailed the lady who posted the picture and she forwarded my e-mail to her brother. As it turns out, the family has a number of film reels taken from the early 1960’s. I asked him to share any that he thought I might be interested in.  He indicated that one was from a funeral and it seemed to include extended family.  He could only identify his grandfather, Wilford Herbert Coley, in the film.

On a hunch, I sent him this photo and informed him that it was taken 17 August 1961 at the burial of my Great, Great Grandmother, Martha Christiansen Coley, in Richmond, Utah.  This is Wilford’s mother and I knew he was at the funeral.  I also knew that if the family was into filming events, this could very well be one such event to catch.

Art, Golden, Wilford, Roland, Lloyd, Edna, Hannah, Carrie, Lillian, Ivan Coley at their mother's funeral in 1961.

He responded to me stating the film was from the same funeral and it actually covered the carrying of the casket from the hearse, some scanning of the crowd, and then the final shots of the 10 siblings standing together in which this photo was taken. He shared the converted video from the film with me yesterday.

The 10 siblings in the picture above and film are as follows from left to right.
Arthur Christiansen Coley (Art), 1921-2004
William Golden Coley (Goldie), 1924-2009
Wilford Herbert Coley, 1903-1966
Roland Charles Coley, 1915-2005
Oley Lloyd Coley (Lloyd), 1918-1998
Edna Coley Neilson, 1900-1983
Hannah Marie Coley Thomson, 1909-1982
Carrie Christiansen Coley McMurdie, 1906-1992
Lillian Coley Jonas, 1898-1987
Ivan Stephen Coley, 1912-1994

The film starts out with children carrying flowers out of the church.  I am pretty sure this is the old Richmond, Utah South Ward Building (demolished after the 1962 earthquake).  I do not think we will be able to identify any of these girls because of how cloudy and short the video is at this point.

The film then moves to the Richmond, Utah Cemetery viewing the place where Martha will be laid to rest.  Two girls appear in the background, again probably too short a span of time and too fuzzy to identify them.

We jump to the casket being carried by 6 men, the 6 male siblings.  On the far side of the casket from right to left are Roland, Wilford, and Art.  On the near side from right to left are Lloyd, Golden, and Ivan.

In the background right as the pallbearers appear with the casket are two girls dressed in white.  The taller of the two are Connie Gittins (Wilford’s granddaughter) and an unknown girl.

A young unidentified girl walks in front of the group bearing the casket.

Then we start the first scan of the crowd counter-clockwise from the south.  These are the individuals:
Wilford Coley
Short boy in white that Bob Jonas steps in front of
Bob Jonas in white shirt
Steve Coley in white shirt
Gary Coley revealed when Steve Coley steps aside
Art Coley
Mary Coley (Art’s wife and Bob, Steve, and Gary’s mother)
Lillian Coley Jonas
Carrie Coley McMurdie
Edna Coley Neilson
Hannah Thomson
Tall guy in background (probably Lorenzo “Ren” Bowcutt?)
Lady in white in background
Tall thin man in background
Shorter man in foreground, very short time

Then we move to the 10 siblings back and forth as mentioned above in the photo.

Since this website would not let me upload the video, I had to upload it on YouTube.  Be sure to open it in full screen and to have your mouse on the pause button so you can look more carefully.  Here is the link to the video:

Martha’s Coley’s funeral movie clips.

If anyone can add more information, I certainly welcome it.  I hope we can identify every person in the video but I think I hope for too much.  After all, this was taken 40 years ago!  Nevertheless, the video is interesting to see people living and moving who are now all gone from mortality.

For those interested, here is a copy of Lillian Coley Jonas’ journal that includes this funeral.  Martha died on the 14th of August 1961.  I also include the other two journals we have for her.

Lillians 1961 Journal

Lillians 1962 Journal

Lillians 1963 Journal

Jorgensen and Christensen

Robert Mathis shared with me this copy of a short history written by Amanda Emilie Jorgensen.  It is a history of her parents, my fourth Great Grandparents.  It also has a reference to Hanna’s parents.  This was written around 1933.
History of my Parents

My father Olaves Jorgensen was born in Drammen Norway 19 November 1830.

When he was twelve years old he started working in a saw mill for Mr Kjer.

My mother Hannah Mathea Christensen was born in Drammen Norway fourteen November 1831. She was a dressmaker when she was old enough to work. They were married fourth november 1855 in Drammen Norway. Two girls were born there. Constanse and Olga. Then Mr. Kjer transferred Father to Fredrikstad Norway to another saw mill and he worked there until he came to America in 1896.

Mother was very religious and always went to some kind of church but never felt satisfied. She lived in an apartment house and was talking to a lady named Mrs. Ask that lived across the hall. Religion was mentioned and mother said she wanted to find a religion that baptised people like Jesus was baptised.

Mrs. Ask asked her if she had ever heard about the Mormon people and mother said no. Mrs. Ask said to be ready Sunday afternoon and she would take her to hear the Mormon Elders.

As soon as mother heard the Elders preach she knew it was the true church. The Priest and other people tried to tell her it was wrong but she wouldn’t listen. The Elders had to take her to the ocean to be baptised after dark as they would be arrested and put in jaail if they were seen baptising people.

Mother was a very faithful member and the missionaries were always welcome in their home. She was President of the Relief Society for years.

Father wanted to join but didn’t dare to because he knew he would lose his job. Father was baptised just before he and mother came to Utah.

They went directly to Richmond Utah in Cache Valley to be near their daughter Othelia. They were here four years and had never had the opportunity to go to the temple when mother died in November, 1900. Father and Othelia and Constanse came to Logan and did the work for mother and she was sealed to Father. Father died in November 1904 and they were both buried in Richmond Utah.

Mother told me that the pastor of the Luteran Church said her parents Christen Hansen and Marie Evensen were the most beautiful couple he had ever married while he was a pastor.

More of the same; Life

Time keeps ticking by too quickly sometimes.  I have so much to write but not as much time as I would like to do it in.  Such is the limitations in the probationary game.  There are plenty of achievements to report though in the past week or two.
This evening I spoke with Gerald Neuffer in Columbia, Missouri.  In a most random turn of events, I noticed that a Jenna Neuffer became friends with my friend, Kami Lowe on Facebook.  With a name as rare as Neuffer, I knew all odds were in my favor of having a near shared ancestry.  I sent Miss Neuffer a message and asked for her Grandfather’s name and phone number.  Which she supplied.  Come to find out, I even had Gerald already in my family history.  I just had his first name Myron (Gerald is his middle name but he goes by it.  Probably due to remove confusion with his father’s name being Myron).  He knew the Andra’s well and said he remembered Millie, who was just younger than him.  Funny how small a world it is.  He went to get his PhD and never left Columbia after moving there in 1947.  We conversed for a little while he dug for information verifying I was not this total stranger calling for his family history for some other sinister reason.  He sounds like a good guy.  He asked if I was doing genealogy.  I confirmed I was and that I was the family historian.  He then happily related he was basically that for the Neuffer/Nuffer family.  I was definitely glad to hear that.  What is the chances of the Andra historian running into the Nuffer historian in Columbia Missouri?  Very far removed from Preston, Idaho!
I received a phone call from Jacqui yesterday about the Phibbs/Ross/Beachell family.  I tried returning her call and spoke with her mother for a few minutes.  I am glad she finally returned my message.  I only left it in May!  That was before we moved!
In other news, there was an e-mail that found its way to me from Robert in Fresno, California.  A most interesting question.  He asked if I knew of any of the siblings of my Constance Jorgensen.  I always felt Constance most likely had siblings but was never able to find any.  Between her parents marriage and Constance’s birth, there is twelve years.  I was sure there were other siblings.  Olavus and Hanna Mathea Jorgensen immigrated with Constance and settled in Richmond, Utah.  Constance married Ole Christiansen and gave birth to my Great Great Grandmother Martha Christiansen who is the mother of my Lillian Coley.  Constance died in Portland, Oregon while visiting and was buried there.  In the whole episode, I knew some day I would have to do some research in Norway to find the rest of this family.  Well, Robert e-mailed me asking me if his grandmother, Amanda Jorgensen Swensen could be a child of Olavus and Hanna.  He produced a copy of a hand written copy pedigree she had produced in 1935.  Sure enough, everything lined up.  Well, Amanda was born another 12 years after my Constance (24 after the marriage of the parents).  She immigrated to Utah a good 10 years after her parents and sibling came over and settled in Logan, Utah.  By the time she arrived her parents were both deceased and her sister had married.  It seems that she never knew she was only 15 miles from her parent’s graves and her sister.  The exciting news is that Amanda gave us the names of her siblings, none of which made it to America to her knowledge.  We added the 5 siblings.  Don’t know their ages, but definitely gives some more to go from.  That will give us much more to go from when the time for the Norway research begins.
I am happy to report I completed the New Testament this evening.  I am one day late.  If I had read the one chapter a day, I would have finished yesterday.  Last weekend put me just off enough that I did not catch up in time.  I completed the Book of Mormon on schedule this year on August 27th.  Now I can go through some General Conference talks and some other reading for the year.  Next year is the Doctrine and Covenants which you can almost read three times in a year.  I think I will just do it twice though.
The ward continues to blossom when it comes to family history.  It seems like people are doing their homework, research, and compiling regularly.  I have e-mails at least once or twice a week for help on something.  That is an indication something is going on.  That is definitely something which is a good thing.
Online the family history work continues to reveal new and interesting things.  I received an e-mail from a Homer Mason.  He was inquiring concerning the Jonas family in Washington State.  Come to find out, Anna Jonas is his Grandmother.  Anna was the daughter of William Jonas who was the brother to my Joseph Jonas; father to my great grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He knows very little so it has been fun introducing him to the family.  I have especially enjoyed his research on a line of the family I have not been able to crack.  It has proved not to be an easy line for him, but with his living in Yakima, he is much closer and capable of doing the work than I can.  I really hope I am accepted to the University of Idaho for Law School.  Then I could work on the Jonas, Ross, and Sharp lines in Washington State.
Stepping back to the Andra family.  This past weekend Amanda and I took a trip to Washington DC for our monthly temple visit.  But a new aspect as emerged.  My Great Uncle and Aunt, Donald and Lolane Andra, are now serving a mission in the temple.  We went up Friday night and stayed with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt in Springfield.  Saturday we picked up Don and Lolane and made our way to Mt. Vernon.  They thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  It was the 18th Century Fair so there were masses of people.  Don and Lolane are good and quick on their feet.  Despite being in their 60’s they move well.  Don reminds me so much of my Great Grandpa.  I get a kick out of both of them.  We were limited on time as they had to be to the temple to work later in the afternoon.  We did probably the fastest walking tour of Mt. Vernon I can imagine.  We zoomed all over the grounds, through the fair, and then back up to their apartment to change and attend the temple.
On a side note, as I went into the endowment room, I noticed the officiator’s name was John Whatcott.  I looked at him and asked if he was from Kanosh.  He looked a bit surprised at me and said he grew up there.  I told him of the Whatcott’s I knew.  After the session he asked me to remain in the celestial room so we could visit.  We had a great visit.  Come to find out he knows Don and Lolane from St. George.  Small world.  Don knew which session we were on and waited for us to leave the celestial room.  He walked us down to the next floor and we parted again.  I met Don’s Home Teaching companion, Elder Toronto, while picking up Amanda’s Aunt’s glasses from the temple lost and found.  Funny how interlinked the world is, at least in the church.
I have not made mention of it yet, but I am going from contractor status to full associate status at Bank of America.  Meaning, I will be an employee of Bank of America and not an at will person filling a seat.  Many companies now do the contractor business as they can then hire on employees after they have shown their worth.  I must have done well enough for them to offer me employment starting October 1.  I am excited.  Business has been picking up.  I don’t know if it is from the crunch in the market or what.  Bank of America definitely stands on higher ground than those feeling the squeeze or sinking under the housing market.  One thing is for sure, with this rate cut, we are expecting the next month to be hectic.
My birthday came and went just like every other day or the year.  I am back to being congratulated for it being my unbirthday.  I received all sorts of e-mails (which will take me a good week to respond to them all), many messages on Facebook, and a couple of cards and gifts.  Amanda and I enjoyed a nice big meal at Chili’s for dinner.  We joked about it being our triannual beef night.  It is birthdays or anniversary that I get to eat a steak.  Monday was a 12 oz Ribeye.  Mmmm, so good.  That is of course not mentioning the Idaho potatos.  Amanda got me a shirt, a jump drive, and something else which slips me at the moment.  I also received a journal, a few checks, and some other random memorabilia.  I honestly don’t feel any different now than I think I did when I was 19.  Except the fact my knee was reconstructed in 2004 and doesn’t give me the issues it did at 19.  So I guess I feel better than at 19.  I have filled out in stature, even added a little padding in the middle,  and perhaps a little wiser.  Life is good.
My blessings continue to flow despite my inept nature.  I continue to be given the little peaceable things of the kingdom from time to time.  They make the living and endurance all worth it.  Line upon line right?  Sometimes I wish it was more page upon page, but alas, I am not the one running the show.  Church goes well.  I feel spiritually well.  Not the muscular behemoth I would like to be spiritually, but I feel strong enough to do what needs to be done and any forseeable adventure.