1 Nephi 1: 1, 3
...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

^^That pretty much explains this blog.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July Family History Tradition

While rockets red glare lights the skies over this part of Utah on July 4, I always find myself writing some family history, so proud am I of my heritage.

But I will be spending time on another family history project this Fourth of July.

I found out recently that the website I built since the middle-1990s was taken down--MyFamily.com, owned by Ancestry.com. I cried, and I wanted to cut my heart out because it hurt so much throbbing inside my body. All the photographs. All the comments. All the neatly organized photo files of my siblings, grandparents, parents, cousins, trips, ancestors, family recipes, current family events--GONE.

I wasn't even informed, because the email I began the website with is not the email I have now, so they probably tried to notify me, but I didn't receive any notification. I learned, when I researched some more, that Ancestry.com only sent the website owners the photographs that were on the sites. They didn't save any data that went with them--no photo captions; no comments back and forth between relatives. I have all the photographs, but I don't have the captions that I got when I was avidly into family history with kissin' cousins. I have no idea how to reach a lot of them either.

There are a lot of grieving souls out there who counted on Ancestry.com to preserve their family history. We paid for those sites. I'm still mad at that company. I sent them most of the information they now have on my family. They are charging others for it. Anything they have on my ancestors, came from me. I had my whole family tree on there. They should pay me for the information!

But, enough said.

I didn't want another year or month to go by without trying to re-preserve all the information. A lot of my family history is on FamilySearch.org, but that website is so hard to maneuver. I even took a class in it, but the information went over my head and I got so confused. I guess, unless I'm working with it on a daily basis, I'm not going to learn it. And I don't have pictures on there.

So, I still have my Legacy genealogy program. I thought it was lost when my computer crashed, but, thank the Lord, I just downloaded the newest version and was able to whisk my data into it. Really, on my knees, thanking G-d. And I'm thanking the friend who fixed my computer. It's like it's brand new.

So, I am going to start a blog of our family history. Hopefully Google won't forsake it, or will have the kindness to give me some time to move it to another format, if that is ever needed--unlike Ancestry.com.

I will have a link on this blog. I'm working on it tonight.

The noise is dying down now, but we will have more over the whole month. Utah celebrates its founding on July 24th, so there are fireworks practically the whole month. They're not illegal here, and people down the street and around the whole neighborhood fire off the cannons and rockets and whatever they're called. It's a smoky mess out there! s.m.i.l.e.

Happy Independence Day!

What it Means to Me to Be an American

Each year I spend Independence Day feeling a great sense of gratitude to my ancestors, both direct and collateral (uncles, brothers, cousins), who fought in the Revolutionary War, and in the Civil War (both sides), and in WWI, and in WWII, or have been a member of the military during peace time, to uphold our freedom.

I am grateful we have so many freedoms in the United States. Have you read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights? I don't want to see any of those rights taken for granted, or slowly fade away into the sunset as if they aren't relevant anymore.

If you read history, you know, after two hundred years, the initial ideas of new countries, with their ethics, morals and standards, are questioned, tried, and put to unwanted tests. I believe we are on the cusp of that time, if not already crossed the threshold.

If you read history, or scripture, you know how that pans out, and you know what causes the demise.

When we get soft; when we forget what makes us great (humility, gratitude, service); and when man thinks he is better than God, or forsakes God's hand in our lives altogether, the downfall is imminent. Pride takes over when we think it was us, our very limited selves, who deserve all the credit. Pride goeth before a fall. Read the history of any great empire and tell me what you find. Greece. Rome. France. Spain. England. Has America hit that crossroads now? Are we so proud that we forget Who forged this country, and what this country stands for?

In years past, no matter the immigrant, they had hard times to prove themselves when they came to this great land, until the next group of world-weary travelers landed. They, also, had to prove themselves--and could, finding great opportunity here for those who worked hard.

The Puritans, the Catholics, the Huguenots, the Jews; the Germans, the Irish, the Chinese, the Italians--all had to put aside the notion that this country gave them everything--unearned. They had to prove they were worthy of the freedoms they sought. And prove it, they all did.

I am part of the great American melting pot. My ancestors are European--Bohemian, Moravian, Huguenot, Catholic; Germans, Swiss, Scots-Irish, English, French. Our blood mingled and blended with other blood until they could no longer say "I am German," or "I am English."

One word should describe us all--American. I am an American. I'm not European American. I know a lot of black people who do not consider themselves African American. They never lived in Africa. They always lived in America, and don't want to be set apart from the nation like that. I am a full-blooded American. I'm not immigrant, or first generation even, still struggling with the English language. Those who come to America, should take on this pride of country. If you live here, and you have taken the oath of citizenship, you are now an American, striving to do your part to build up this great nation. You are not Mexican-American, Cambodian-American, or Persian-American. If you live here and reap the benefits, you are just plain old American. Your oath is to this country now.

I know there are still more than 50 good people in our nation, that the angels might not destroy us. The time might come, and perhaps already is on the doorstep, when that number will dwindle due to lack of caring or action, and those of us who are God-fearing and still love our country and our constitution, will hearken back to what our country initially stood for--life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; one nation, under God; forged from Judaeo-Christian principles. Other principles are not like Judaeo-Christian principles. Think about it. It is ridiculous to think any other way will work, unless we want to be guided by fear and corruption, as in monarchies, dictatorships, or terrorists' groups and laws. If you moved here, and became a citizen, you are now part of that Judaeo-Christian culture. It was your choice.

Oh, God, please let freedom still be our cry--the real definition of freedom, as written in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Please rain down your tender mercies on us so more will be for freedom than against it. Please don't ever let us forget what this country stands for. Let us always remember Thy hand in our creation. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and Redeemer, I pray. Amen.