Learn how to find a record for an ancestor in five minutes. Watch this video from FamilySearch.
By Yvonne Sorenson of FamilySearch
During the month of July, the Family History Library will be hosting a number of free online family history classes and webinars. These classes and webinars are designed to help individuals and families find their ancestors and teach important family history techniques. They are free to the public. Information about specific classes is listed below, as well as information on how to register for classes.
July 2: Danish Church Records—Feast Days Webinar. This webinar starts at 7:00 P.M.
July 9: United States Naturalization Webinar. This webinar starts at 6:00 P.M.
July 13-17: Wales Research Series Webinars. These webinars will be held Monday through Friday at 1:00 P.M. Classes include: “Welsh Naming Patterns,” “Wales Maps and Gazetteers,” “Wales Online Websites,” “Wales Anglican and Nonconformist Church Records,” and “Wales Probate Records.”
July 18: Danish Research Series Webinars. These classes will be held from 9:15 A.M.–12:15 P.M. Classes include: “Danish Probate Record Research,” “Accessing Danish Probate Records: Online and Microfilm,” and “Probate Records: Extracting Genealogical Information.”
July 18: 10:00 A.M. Boy Scout Genealogy Merit Badge (1-1/2 hrs.) To register, call 1-801-240-4673 at least one week before the workshop to find out which requirements should be completed before attending.
July 18: Fuentes en FamilySearch Webinar. This webinar starts at 1:00 P.M.
Jul 23: Beginning LDS Research Webinar. This webinar starts at 6:00 P.M.
By Jim Ericson of FamilySearch
Those using FamilySearch.org to find historical records can now enjoy a search experience that allows researchers to compare extracted indexes and the image the index came from in a single view, which results in fewer clicks and faster conclusions.
Indexes vs. Images
Volunteers have indexed billions of names from historical records that have been digitized and made available at FamilySearch.org. The indexing process makes key pieces of information from the original record searchable using modern technology, so researchers can find a record based on name, date, location, relationships, and other key pieces of information. While these indexes are invaluable, those reviewing records must still compare the index with the digitized image to ensure the index is accurate and to discover additional information that was not indexed. Prior to this new improvement, the indexed information and the actual digital image were only found on separate web pages. This meant that comparing the two versions of information required navigating back and forth between the index and the image or opening up multiple tabs or browser sessions to compare the pages side by side.
Now, the new hybrid record view makes the information that was indexed from an historical record visible when reviewing the digitized image of the record. This is achieved by creating a split pane, where the index appears below the image.
This new hybrid view of the historical record provides the person viewing the image flexibility for viewing both the image and the indexed information. The capability to zoom and move the image to focus on key details is preserved in the new experience. The indexed information is added in a scroll-able pane immediately below the image, allowing for easy comparison.
By Liz Zaleski
In honor of this dear man, my father, I wanted to share a memory from FamilySearch written by my oldest brother:
I will retell one incident (in about 1948) that had an impact on me as a growing, challenging boy: One evening we were at the old 3rd ward church (Delta, Utah) for a mutual meeting (Young Men & Young Women). About the time the meeting was to start, some of us youth boys and girls decided we were going to go to a movie up town instead of church. Somehow one of the guys had access to a car, which I can’t figure out! Anyway, just before we started to go, Dad found me and wanted to know if what he had heard about us going to town was true. Well, he was not pleased. He was the Bishop. – I told him it was true, we were on our way. He let me know that that was not acceptable. I said I was going anyway. I don’t recall if there were people close by listening in. If so, I was probably trying to save face with my friends and he may have been trying to keep his temper in check. It must have been awkward for him. I know it was getting awkward for me. – It soon became evident that neither of us was going to give in. – I just started to walk home. He just started to walk home with me!!
I was getting very confused as to what to do. I can’t drag him with me, he is the Bishop and has to be at church for this meeting. Still he was walking right along with me and we were beginning to make some distance from the church. He finally said something to the effect, “If it isn’t important to you to be at church, then it isn’t for me either. Family is what it’s all about!” I thought to myself, “He means to go with me all the way home!! I can’t do this.” I turned around and we went back to the church.
It was a learning experience for me. He was telling me that his efforts and service in the church would have little meaning if his family was out of it. I was important to him and he was also showing me that his concern for me was high on his list of priorities.
By Deborah S. Gurtler of FamilySearch
What do you get when you cross a family reunion with live entertainment, food trucks, bounce houses, and the world’s largest genealogical library? The Global Family Reunion Block party at the Family History Library! Over 3,000 people showed up on Saturday, June 6, from 10 to 2 in downtown Salt Lake City to take part in the festivities that were held in conjunction with the Global Family Reunionheld in New York City.The family-friendly block party included an outdoor stage with live entertainment by several talented local musical groups which included Japanese Drum Dancers, the Pecos Posse – Americana folk singers, Polynesian dancers, and a group of Scottish bag pipers. The final act on stage was storyteller Elaine Brewster. For the young and young at heart, there were bounce houses, a 24 foot slide, a rock wall, face painting, and carnival games.
By Tim Bingaman of FamilySearch
The Family History Library and the Research Specialists of the United States and Canada Reference team invite you to a free, never before offered, week-long seminar focused exclusively on U.S. research. The seminar, which will be held October 12th – 16th, 2015, is perfect for beginning and intermediate genealogists interested in learning about U.S. records, FamilySearch resources, and Family History Library collections.
Come and spend a week at the world renowned Family History Library learning from our expert staff genealogists on how to effectively use the FamilySearch Catalog, Historical Records, and Research Wiki. Explore such topics as cemetery, census, church, immigration, land, military, naturalization, newspaper, probate, and vital records. Learn more about African-American and American Indian research. And discover new techniques, strategies, and methodology to apply to your genealogical research problems.
Seating is limited to 50 participants, so be sure to register early to secure a spot. To register for the seminar visit the FamilySearch Wiki and search for the topic United States Research Seminar. Registration instructions are found under the subheading Registration. Each participant will be provided a free spiral-bound syllabus containing all class handouts and materials.
For those who would like to attend the seminar but are unable, fifteen of the thirty classes will be broadcast via webinar (*). For more information or to attend the webinar classes use the above link.
We hope this seminar will not only be informative and instructive, but that it will also encourage and inspire you to continue your family history research. Perhaps this seminar will be just what you need to break through that 20 year old brick-wall research problem. We look forward to working with you!
NOTE: This seminar is currently full but individuals can still register. Names will be added to a wait list and individuals will be notified by e-mail if a spot opens. Individuals can still attend by webinar by using the link below:
By Don E. Burton
When they arrived in Parowan, Faithful John commented to Joseph Lee, “Look at de grass, Massa Robinson! Da animals jes’ laughin’ all ova dey fases.” The group surveyed the town and started construction of a meetinghouse. Faithful John again commented, “You all shu’do member de’ good Lawd.” After the tents were pitched and camps were set up for their families, Faithful John and Sidney, helped Joseph Lee and the other men of the Company to explore the canyons, find water and start construction on a meetinghouse. The main body of the meetinghouse was up at the end of the third day and George A. Smith told the others to start building their own shelters. The foundations of the first houses ever built south of Payson were now being laided. Faithful John was also instrumental in assisting with construction of most of the public buildings that were built in Parowan during those early years including the Old Rock Church that is still located in the center of the town square.
Joseph Lee Robinson completed his mission to Southern Utah in August 1851 leaving Susan, Faithful John, William, Sidney and Mary Jane in Parowan to operate their home and farm. Joseph Lee had acquired two strips of farmland, one in the upper field and the other in the rabbit field. Susan was expecting their second child (Solomon or Sollie) who was born only a few weeks after Joseph Lee returned to Farmington on August 27, 1851. When Joseph Lee returned to northern Utah, Faithful John again became a principal support and advisor for Susan and her family as he had been during the years in Missouri and Illinois prior to her marriage to Joseph Lee Robinson.
Joseph Lee returned to Parowan in his calling as a missionary to both the northern and southern Utah settlements. In the spring of 1852, he returned and took Susan, Mary Jane and Solomon with him as he toured settlements for 7 –10 days. While they were away from Parowan, Faithful John, Sidney, William and neighbors in their Ward redecorated Susan’s home during her absence. She was naturally delighted when they returned.
In May 1854, a Parowan Ward census was made and included the following in the Susan Robinson residence:
#373 Susan Robinson Age 45
#374 Wm Parley Burton Age 18
#375 Sidney Rigdon Burton Age 16
#376 Mary Jane Robinson Age 5 ½
#377 Soloman Robinson Age 3
#378 John Burton (Black) Age 57
In May 1856, Joseph Lee Robinson returned to Parowan to take his Parowan missionary family back to northern Utah. Crops in the north were doing poorly whereas those in the south seemed much better so Joseph Lee decided that the family should stay through the fall harvest with the exception of Faithful John who returned north to assist him. Sidney had been called on a mission to the Las Vegas settlement, so Joseph Lee and Susan arranged for James Tillford and William to work their adjoining farms together until the harvest. Faithful John was a great help to the Robinson Family in Farmington even though he was now approaching 59 years of age.
Susan and the remainder of the missionary family returned to Farmington in December 1856 to a grand homecoming by all of the Robinson family. Faithful John was always appreciative of the attention given to him by the entire family and they indeed appreciated his dedication and service. William Parley Burton was extremely homesick for Parowan and returned in the spring of 1857 to live with the Tillford’s (James and Rozilpha). This event was much to the distress of Susan who was constantly concerned about his general health. Sidney had returned from his mission to the Las Vegas settlement and had joined the family in Farmington.
In the summer of 1857, word came that Johnson’s Army was coming to the Utah Territory to put down the “Mormon Rebellion”. Faithful John along with the rest of the Robinson family started to evacuate their homes in Farmington and moved south in accordance with the church leaders direction. They ended up spending this “waiting time” in Utah County west of Payson in Bunkers Camp. When word was received in 1858 that they should return home to Farmington, Susan received a letter from her friend Margaret West that William was sick, as was Zilpha Tellford who was taking care of him. The message also indicated that William was looking for his mother to come. Susan felt strongly that they should return to Parowan as soon as possible and that perhaps they had not completed their original mission.
After returning to Farmington, Susan and her family including Sidney, Faithful John, Mary Jane and Soloman made preparations to return to Parowan to complete their mission. Since Susan, Sidney, Mary Jane and Faithful John were part of the original Parowan settlers, they were all welcomed back home, especially by William. Other friends gave Faithful John a warm welcome and he was, as always, appreciative of the recognition. Sidney was extremely happy to be back home. The history records; when they came in sight of the picturesque hills of Parowan, Sidney threw his hat and shouted, “Hurrah for Parowan and Home”.
On March 22, 1859, Sidney was married to Anna Maria Fish. A building lot was obtained and Sidney, William and Faithful John constructed a home along with help of other men, as was commonly the case. The 1860 census records Faithful John living with Sidney and Anna Maria in their new home.
On November 17, 1861, a council meeting was called to consider the building of a house for meeting. A committee was appointed to draft a plan. Two days later (November 19, 1861), the committee presented their plan for a building that was accepted by the council. The building was to be 54 feet by 44 feet outside, with three stories to be built of rock from the foundation up. Cost of the building was estimated to be $8,000.00 and would be constructed with funds raised by subscription. On November 24, 1861, General Minutes from the Parowan Ward, Parowan Stake (FHL Film #017995, 1861 – 1866) records the following: “It was decided to build the house in the center of the public square and Bishop Warren called for subscriptions. Eighty-two men came forward and subscribed a total of $7,495.00. The largest donations were $250.00 each from Ebenezer Hanks and Bishop Wm. S. Warren and the smallest was $15.00 from John Burton, African. Excavation began on the OLD ROCK CHURCH in March 1862 and it was finally completed in April 1870. Although Faithful John never lived to see the meetinghouse completed, it is evident that he was a prominent original pioneer and resident of Parowan, involved in the construction of the community, and an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
On May 27, 1865, Mary Jane (Robinson) was married to John Anderson West in the Salt Lake Temple. John had been called to serve a second mission to the Islands of Hawaii and was to take Mary Jane with him. However, they were delayed in reaching Salt Lake from Parowan and it was decided that they would go later. John decided to return to Parowan but encouraged Mary Jane to stay with her Father (Joseph Lee Robinson) and family in Farmington. It was during this stay that the last documented information on Faithful John is recorded. During the months of May and June, Mary Jane had received letters from her Mother (Susan), her Mother-In-Law (Margaret West), and one from Faithful John. The letter from Faithful John was dated June 28 (1865) and reads as follows:
I am glad that you thought enough of me to mention me in your letter. Tell Aunt Maria that I have not forgot her kindness to me. Tell your Father that I was glad he sent me a shirt for I was in want of one.
I understand that you have a good prospect of having plenty of fruit. Be so kind as to send me a little if you have a chance. I am suffering with chills and fever, but I feel good in spirits. I rejoice every day of my life in the spirit of Mormonism.
Give my respects to all the family.
Early family records (most that I think border on folk-lore) indicate that Faithful John remained with Susan until her death in 1876 when he felt that the boys (William Parley & Sidney Rigdon) no longer needed him. He decided to go back to Missouri and try to locate his wife. It was said that he left Parowan, traveling as far as Salt Lake City where he became ill and died and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. These records are included in their complete form in Appendix A to this history along with the comments/conclusions of the author as to why I think that they are fiction (inaccurate) or fact.
Faithful John is buried in the Parowan City Cemetery next to Susan McCord Burton Robinson and is listed as Burton Robinson.** They are buried in Block/Section 7, Lot 18, Site 3 (Susan) and Site 4 (Faithful John). His age at death is listed as 67 years, 7 months, 25 days and his Father is listed as James McCord and his Mother is listed as Elizabeth. Cause of death was “Indigestion”. The date of death is listed as 19 April 1876 and is the same documented date that Susan died. His actual death date was most probably in July/Aug/Sep 1865 time frame not long after his letter to Mary Jane Robinson West prior to her return from Farmington, Utah after visiting her Father. There are no subsequent recorded entries in any of the documentation that list or refer to him. His death age as recorded under the name of Burton Robinson of 67 years 7 months and 25 days would coincide with documented census records.
Faithful John Burton was a dedicated slave, servant, friend, family member, church member, pioneer and prominent settler of Southern Utah. He was a faithful, dedicated and committed member of the Burton and Robinson families and in my opinion his adopted descendants should be extremely proud to claim him as their ancestor. He truly demonstrated throughout his life the phrase that Susan thought of in the fall of 1848 prior to the birth of her daughter, Mary Jane Robinson.
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN
**The name of Burton Robinson was inaccurately created and listed in the History of the Iron County Mission and Parowan The Mother Town (page 18). Documented records from the daily diary of clerks, Henry Lunt and John D. Lee record the correct name listed as William Burton Robinson, Wm Robinson and Wm Burton Robinson. This William Burton Robinson is actually William Parley Burton, age 14 who was the son of John Newton Burton and Susan McCord. Subsequent census records and cemetery records (Snowflake, Arizona) verify this information. It would have been extremely easy to see why Faithful John would have also been known as Burton Robinson having lived with and served both the John Newton Burton and Susan McCord family as well as Joseph Lee Robinson and Susan McCord Burton family during his lifetime. William Parley Burton went to Snowflake, Arizona with John Anderson West and Mary Jane Robinson on November 9, 1879. He died on 16 Dec 1891 in Snowflake, Arizona and is buried in the Snowflake Arizona Cemetery (Row U, Section 34, Space 2).
Excerpts of the Original History of Black John
When Susan McCord Burton Robinson, mother of Sidney R. Burton freed her slaves in preparation to coming west with the Saints, there was one slave called “Black John” who refused his freedom and begged to come with Susan and help her take care of her two little boys, Sidney and his older brother, William. John had been given to Sidney R. by his father, Captain John Newton Burton. He was very devoted to the family, showing his love by many acts of bravery and sacrifice. At one time, previous to the trip west, he swam the Missouri River with one member of the family named Laboma, a half-sister to Sidney R. and William P., that she might join and marry the man she loved and come with Saints to Utah. John was a devout Latter-day Saint and the fact that he could not hold the Priesthood caused him genuine sorrow.
Fact The Five Branches of Love clearly state that Faithful John was given to Susan and John Newton Burton as part of a wedding dowry by Susan’s Father, James McCord. He was never owned by John Newton Burton prior to their wedding. Susan’s father obtained a promise from her and John Newton Burton that should she sell or release their slaves that Susan would reserve John and keep him throughout her life. He also obtained the same promise from Faithful John, which he was faithful to throughout his life.
The record of John swimming the Missouri River to rescue Laboma (also spelled Lahoma) so that she could join and marry the man she loved has not been substantiated or proven. Laoma Elizabeth Burton was born 3 Dec 1833 in Monroe County, Missouri. Her mother (Sallie Allred) died on 2 Dec 1834 when Laoma was an infant. She apparently lived with her mother’s parents after her father remarried (Susan McCord). I have found no record in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa or Utah of Laoma being with Susan’s family. Since Faithful John left Winter Quarters with the first company (as a teamster) in April 1847, Laoma would have only been 12 – 13 years old for John to have rescued her. It is possible that Faithful John could have returned to the Missouri River between 1848 and 1850 as a driver or teamster of wagons sent to bring other pioneers to Salt Lake. Joseph Lee Robinson records in his journal that he sent men and wagons to do that very thing at the request of church leaders. Laoma did come west and was married to William J. Allred in 1850 (on the plains). They raised a large family and lived in Beaver, Utah where she died February 10, 1909 at the age of 75 years old. She is buried next to her husband in the Mountain View Cemetery, Beaver, Utah.
The original history also states that Faithful John was married, but had left his wife in Missouri. There is no knowledge of any children, but after the death of Susan (Parowan, 19 April 1876), when he felt the boys no longer needed him, he decided to go back to Missouri and try to locate his wife. He left Parowan, traveling as far as Salt Lake City where he became ill and died. He is buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery.
The documented records (census, church & histories) with Faithful John’s name and information prove without a doubt that he arrived in Parowan at age of approximately 53 years of age. The histories and records show that he remained with Susan throughout his life and died in approximately 1865. He is buried in the Parowan City Cemetery next to his beloved Susan under the name of Burton Robinson. If he had, in-fact, lived until Susan’s death in 1876 (documented date) before attempting to return to Missouri, he would have been nearly 80 years old. The historical record also states that he still lived in Kentucky with the Simon Legree slave owner when his “wife and chillins” were sold up the river. In addition, there is no record of John Burton (Negro) or Burton Robinson being buried in any of the Salt Lake City cemeteries.
By Steve Anderson of FamilySearch
Ask anyone you know and chances are they can tell you about someone in their extended family line who has come to America from another country. The fact is, unless you come from 100% Native American descent, you have an ancestor who immigrated to America. America is a land of immigrants and it’s those immigrants who give America its unique character.
Finding your ancestor is now much easier as a result of indexes that have been created to help find records of immigration and naturalization. Below are links to some of the online record sources, indexes and instructional videos to help you find your immigrant ancestor.
Excerpt from the Life of "Faithful John," the First African American Pioneer in Parowan - Part Three
By Don E. Burton
The early years in 1840 brought many changes to the city of Nauvoo with the influx of new Church members and decision to build a new temple. Susan was approached by her Bishop in 1841 and asked if she would provide one of her teams (of horses) in helping with the construction of the temple. Susan agreed, on the condition that Faithful John be allowed to drive them. John was delighted that he could be part of the work and worked diligently to fulfill his and Susan’s responsibilities in helping with the temple construction.
After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his Brother, Hyrum in 1844, along with the increased hostilities, it became evident that the members of the Church would again have to move and re-locate to another area. Plans were being made to relocate to the West to the area of the Rocky Mountains. John had fallen ill with malaria and was too weak to work. Susan’s resources were now meager and she had no rentals to draw from and with John being ill, there was no income.
In 1845, Joseph Lee Robinson and his wife, Maria approached Susan and asked her to become his Second Wife. Susan was concerned about her family with her two (2) young sons and Faithful John but was also concerned about their ability to provide for their needs at that time. After careful consideration, she consented to his proposal and Susan and Joseph Lee Robinson were married in November 1845.
Everyone was making plans to leave Illinois in the spring of 1846. Susan indicated to Joseph Lee (Robinson) that she still owned considerable land and property in Missouri and that it would provide much needed resources for the general migration of church members to the West. In early February 1846 (after the Nauvoo Temple was completed), Susan, Joseph Lee and Faithful John returned to Florida, Missouri where Susan still owned property. When they reached Monroe County, Susan was surprised to find many old acquaintances and friends who remembered her. They had not forgotten John Newton Burton, whom they still proclaimed their friend. Largely, for this reason, they dealt fairly with Susan. They (Susan & Joseph Lee) traded her lands for several heavy teams of oxen, cows, and other needed equipment. It was a sad ordeal for Susan and Faithful John as they visited the graves of both her parents and her husband. However, Susan felt tremendous gratitude for the resources left to her by her Father and Husband that allowed them to share with others in Nauvoo preparing to leave their beautiful city.
In the early summer (June10, 1846), six (6) wagons left Nauvoo that were provided by the Robinson Family (primarily from the Missouri properties owned by Susan). They included the lead wagon driven by Joseph Lee Robinson followed by a spring wagon with Susan, Maria (Joseph Lee’s 1st wife) and three (3) children. Faithful John followed driving the heavy wagon. Widow Laason came next. Father & Mother Thayer drove the fifth wagon and Brother & Sister (Ina) Johnson brought up the rear in the sixth wagon. Faithful John was approaching fifty (50) years of age but still fulfilled his full time responsibilities to not only Susan and her boys (ages 10 and 8) but now the entire Robinson family. Shortly after leaving Nauvoo during the first couple of weeks of their trek across Iowa, Faithful John was hurt while yoking a cow. Quoting Joseph Lee Robinson’s journal: “one of my drivers, the good colored man, a faithful member of our Church-and a saint if ever I saw one-who is the property of my second wife (Susan), while yoking a cow one morning was kicked on the knee. We missed his help mightily; but only a short time and all were well again.”
Faithful John was a great help to Joseph Lee Robinson with the teams, wagons and livestock that the Robinson family brought with them as they started across the State of Iowa. When they reached the main group of pioneers at Mt Pisgah who had left Nauvoo ahead of them, word was received that the government had asked for 500 men to form a battalion to help fight in the Mexican/American War. That would mean that 500 families attempting to cross the plains would be left without drivers or protectors. Calls were made for men and teams to return across the State of Iowa and bring those families to safety. Since Joseph Lee Robinson, along with others, sent teams and wagons time after time to retrieve the poor stranded families, Faithful John was a significant part of this rescue mission. Susan recorded one evening; “I imagine John will be home tonight with another load of tired, but thankful, folks.” He was also left with the family as Joseph Lee Robinson also made return trips. During these absences, Faithful John was considered a valuable advisor to Susan and the other Robinson family members. During one return trip of Joseph Lee Robinson from Nauvoo, he records on his return; “Dear lovable John was already unharnessing the horses being assisted by the boys in the family including Oliver, Sidney Rigdon (about 10 years old) and Eben.” Oliver and Eben were Joseph Lee and Maria Robinson’s sons.
In the spring of 1847 (April 5, 1847), the advance group headed by Brigham Young prepared to leave Winter Quarters for the Rocky Mountains. Faithful John was a member of the company and according to Joseph Lee Robinson’s journal was hired as a teamster. Joseph Lee records; “And it come to pass that I sent our colored man, John, with some feed grain and provisions to raise something for us to come to. He went as a teamster for a brother with the pioneers.” In the publication, 111 Days to Zion, based on notes and minutes recorded by William Clayton, the following is recorded; “Brigham noted there were a few non-Mormons in the camp (three blacks and Benjamin Rolfe) and said they would be protected in their rights as long as they conducted themselves well. Otherwise they would be left on their own.” As a member of this first company, Faithful John arrived in the Salt Lake valley in July 1847. He planted the seed given to him and undoubtedly helped with the initial establishment and construction of the City of the Great Salt Lake. In Oct 1848, the Robinson family arrived in the valley. Joseph Lee records; “We descended and entered the valley the first of October, 1848. I drove into the fort. The brethren had built a fort that they might protect themselves. The next day I went south six or eight miles to see some corn that John our colored man had raised, as he had raised some crops for us so that with what we had brought, we were obliged to make it do us until we could raise something the next season.”
The Robinson family settled in North Canyon (present day Bountiful, Utah) and later moved and established their permanent home in Farmington. He worked endlessly helping to provide the necessary food that they needed to feed and care for the large family. Susan was expecting her baby and on October 5, 1848 in North Canyon delivered a baby girl who was named Mary Jane Robinson. It was bitter cold and having no cabins or homes, her shelter was one of the wagon beds. John prayed fervently for their safety and care. Everyone was concerned that there would not be enough food to sustain both Susan and especially the new baby. They had established rations to help prolong them through the long winter until additional crops could be planted and harvested.
The following is recorded in the Five Branches of Love:
There was such a scarcity of grass on the hillsides that the cows were lessening in their supply. But Susan was amazed at her jar of meal. It seemed to remain about the same. She spoke to Joseph about it. I can’t understand it. The meal in my jar does not diminish. I take out my allotment and the next morning it’s just about the same. I can’t understand. Joseph said, I think, Susan, it is your imagination. I’m greatly concerned over your weakened condition and the demands of our hungry little girl. Yet I could not labor if I shared an ounce of my portion, and I know it is the same with each one of our family.
Susan said no more about it. Still, she knew she was not mistaken. She was watching closely now. A time or two she noticed traces of meal on the side of her jar. She must play detective. The family was all out in the sunshine for a short while one day. Susan came in quietly, and then stopped short. She had surprised colored John who was with trembling hand trying to spoon in a little meal into her jar. Susan’s throat and eyes seemed to work in unison. Tears dimmed her eyes and her throat seemed to swell until words could not come. “John, John”, she gulped. He was startled. “Missa Susan, you have a chile to feed; there am two of you all”. “But John, you must listen to me. We have to depend so much on your help, John, that you must not fail us. You must be honest”. His eyes were big. He was honest. What did Miss Susan mean? Finally he understood and he promised. Susan stood still for moments after he had gone. She shook her head slowly as her lips moved, GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN. She then prayed as she quietly stood there. Dear Father, help my POSTERITY, throughout all time, to have tender tolerance for John’s people, the colored race.
Faithful John was a pillar of strength to Joseph Lee and the family as they constructed homes, corrals, barns, granaries and the other facilities necessary for them to survive. Other significant activities and events occurred during their time in Farmington (or North Cottonwood as it was initially called). The fall of 1849 brought the plague of the crickets that could have destroyed the grain crop. Faithful John was undoubtedly involved in fighting them. Construction of three (3) homes for the wives of Joseph Lee Robinson was undertaken and completed along with the construction of a new meetinghouse that was completed in a one (1) week period. The Robinson family prospered from their efforts and all three (3) families were comfortable in their surroundings.
I n November of 1850, Joseph Lee Robinson was called to fulfill another mission to settle Southern Utah. Under the direction of George A. Smith, one hundred (100) men and some of their families were called to colonize the Little Salt Lake. Susan, William Parley, Sidney Rigdon, Mary Jane and Faithful John were selected to go with Joseph Lee Robinson. John seemed to age. He was now approaching fifty-three (53) years of age. One could almost read his thoughts. Another new country to settle, all over again. Sidney Rigdon (almost 13) and William Parley (age 14) were leaving their best friends (half brother & sister, Eben and Anna Robinson). On 10 Dec 1850, Joseph Lee along with Susan’s family left the remainder of the Robinson family in Farmington and began their trek south. Joseph Lee drove the first wagon and Faithful John drove the second wagon.
As the small wagon train proceeded south, additional pioneer missionaries joined them. They were to meet George A Smith and the rest of the company at Provo, as it was the last major settlement South of Salt Lake. Joseph Lee Robinson’s journal and Five Branches of Love Manuscript, record events as they passed between the Salt Lake Valley and Utah (Provo) Valley. “It came to pass that in ascending a long and heavy hill on the divide between Salt Lake and Utah valleys (most likely what is know as Point-of-the-Mountain today), our cattle refused to pull their load. John, our colored man, was singing away with all diligence, for he was a good Saint. The little boys (William & Sidney) were helping him but their oxen (cattle) refused to pull up the long hill and no coaxing could entice them. Joseph Lee came down to Faithful John and saw the situation. Wait John, called Joseph Lee. We will unhook the wagon, relieve them and then let them walk up the hill. If they find it is not too steep, I’m sure they will try again. If they fail, we’ll hitch the other team. But true to the plan, the animals found it was not to steep and pulled the load up.” They were able to proceed on to Provo without further trouble.
The main Company had already left Provo and was camped at Peteetneet Creek (Payson, Utah) waiting for the remainder of the company to join them. On December 21, 1850, the official list of the company was recorded and included all men and women over 14 years old. There were one hundred twenty (120) men, thirty (30) women and eighteen (18) children (all under the age of 14 years old). These children included Sidney Rigdon Burton (almost 13) and Mary Jane Robinson (age 2). Those listed as part of the adult company included Joseph Lee Robinson, John Burton (Colored), Wm Robinson and Susan Robinson. The Wm Robinson listed was actually William Parley Burton (14 years old).
The journey was slow, as the weather was getting colder. When they reached the Sevier River, the cold was intense and William along with others had to wade up and down the riverbanks to find a place to cross. William had his feet wet and with the excitement failed to notice his condition. Several hours later, he stumbled and fell and was unable to continue on. Faithful John carried William to Susan where others were summoned to help treat his frozen feet. Susan and Faithful John spent considerable time with him, as he was very sick even though they traveled on. They made their way past Pine Creek, Cove Creek, Beaver Creek, Elk Horn Springs, Yellow Creek and Red Creek. The George A Smith Company arrived in the Parowan valley on January 13, 1851 and immediately set to work establishing a community. The official record of George A. Smith (written by Henry Lund, Assistant Clerk and Private Secretary to George A. Smith) again records those that arrived in the Little Salt Lake (Parowan) from the Northern Settlements in December 1850. This record listed John Burton (Colored), Joseph L. Robinson, Wm Burton Robinson and Susan Robinson. John’s age was listed as fifty-three (53) years old.
By Yvonne Sorenson of FamilySearch
Please join us this July for a special webinar research series on Danish genealogical research. The first class in our series will be held on 2 July 2015 at 7 pm (MT). This class will explore the occurrence of liturgical feast days (such as Easter) in the church records and how to easily and quickly determine the numerical date.
The second part of the series will be held on 18 July 2015 beginning at 9:15 am (MT). This will be a series of three consecutive classes that will introduce the beginner researcher to probate records, including a basic history, research strategy, how to access the records, and how to extract the genealogical information in the records. For more information about these classes and how to join via webinar visit our website:
By Don E. Burton
The McCord and Burton families did suffer trials as a result of their difficult lives on the frontier and their membership in the Church. Robert McCord (Susan’s younger Brother) died from cholera as a member of Zion’s Camp in Western Missouri in June 1834 and was buried near Rush Creek by Liberty Missouri. Elizabeth McCord (Susan’s Mother) died on September 4, 1834 and was buried in Florida, Monroe County, Missouri. James McCord (Susan’s Father) became ill in January 1837 and was lonely and tired. Both Susan and Faithful John spent a great amount of time with him. John had spent most of his time with him since Elizabeth’s death two and one half (2 1/2) years earlier. James enjoyed having John with him, as he seemed to be the much-needed link to the past that James enjoyed. Faithful John was constantly attentive during James’ illness and at times remained up all night watching over him. Late in the early spring (1837), James McCord suffered a stroke and lay for sometime unconscious gradually fading into a final slumber from which he did not wake. John continued to be the faithful and vigilant companion to James during the remaining weeks and months that he lived. James was buried next to Elizabeth in Florida, Missouri. In the spring of 1838 (shortly after their 2nd Son, Sidney Rigdon Burton was born - Jan 1838), John Newton Burton (Susan’s Husband) suddenly died suffering from great unbearable stomach pain. There was no comfort, no cheer, and no warmth at his funeral, just cold death. Susan stood alone with her two (2) young children and Faithful John by her side. John Newton Burton was also buried in Florida, Missouri.
They found that her Father had arranged for Robert’s portion of the land to be deeded to Susan McCord Burton. His land (James McCord) was to be divided equally among all of his children. He had left to Faithful John some cash to claim as his own and also a supply of clothes. John continued to serve the family faithfully as a trusted slave and became very interested and desirous in becoming a member of the Church. Prior to the death of James McCord, John had asked James if he thought they would let him join the Church. James told him that he felt he was as worthy as any man he knew and asked Susan to see to it that his baptism could be taken care of very soon. Although, no records exist indicating that he was baptized, subsequent histories and journals substantiate that he was in-fact a baptized member of the Church in those early days of the Church. John had told James and Susan, “I’ve heard you all talk about the good Lawd, and ah believes ah kin see ma wif’ and ma chilluns if ah does ma part.” He would have been nearing forty years old at this time.
After the death of her husband, Susan leased a portion of her holdings to friends and neighbors and she and John continued to work the remainder to provide for and support her family. Fortunately, good friends and neighbors surrounded them, one being the Eli and Ellen Blythe family. They were all concerned with the rising tensions in Western Missouri regarding the persecutions of the members of the Church. Susan was working and carefully saving (with the help of Faithful John) to provide for her family and prepare for the inevitable move from Missouri if the persecution continued into Eastern Missouri. For the present she at least felt safe because of her deceased husband’s friendship with people who had become enemies of the Church.
As she and Ellen (Blythe) discussed their concerns, little did either of them know that it would be almost two (2) years before they would see each other again because of these persecutions. That very night, Susan was awakened to the screams coming from the Blythe home. This was the day (27 Oct 1838) that Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of the State of Missouri signed an order to “EXTERMINATE THE MORMONS” or “DRIVE THEM FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI”. Mary West Riggs records the events that occurred that night and the involvement of Faithful John in saving Susan as well as other members of the Blythe family as follows:
Susan grabbed her coat and ran to colored (Faithful) John’s cabin. John! John! She cried as she pounded on his door. Come quickly John, Ellen’s home is afire. We must help. John was into his clothes and out of the door by the time Susan reached the edge of the cornfield that separated the two farms. The corn was thick and high and it was difficult to make haste. As Susan rushed onward, she heard the shrieks from Ellen’s house multiply and increase in terror and her blood ran cold. “Run, John, run, they must not perish in those flames”. John flew past Susan as they neared the far side of the cornfield. Suddenly, he froze in his tracks. Stop, Missa Susan, he hissed, Drop to de groun! Ignoring John’s command, Susan rushed past him and then he lunged, knocking her flat just before she emerged from the tall corn. “Look, Missa Susan, John whispered, Its de Mob!”
Susan raised her face from the dirt and her eyes beheld a horror that would forever sear her memory. Two men were beating Ellen’s husband (Eli) with ropes. Two of the children were fleeing in terror toward the corrals. Martha, the beautiful daughter was being dragged toward the woods, her gown half torn from her body. Ellen was fighting to save her, but was knocked to the ground unconscious. John managed to carry Susan home, her eyelids fluttered and hazily she saw John’s weeping face and heard him cry, “Pleas der Lawd, save her fo har little boys”. “Oh John, they are dead, they are all dead”. “Now, Missa Susan, get hole yo self. Ah’se goin’ back tu see what ah kan do-if you all is able ter let me go”. She sat up and said, “Go John, but do be careful. This terrible mob will kill you too.” “Don’ yo wuyee, Missa Susan, ah kin takes keer masef. Now yo jes’ pray fo de Blythe’s and ah’ll run to hep’em”. Susan did pray – she prayed all night and she waited. Morning came and no John. Oh, Father-in-heaven, don’t take colored John; he’s the only strength I have left. At noon the next day John returned, his face held that stricken look which told Susan the tragic news. Martha and little Eli were dead. Ellen and Big Eli were being taken care of by friends. The two children who had hidden in the corral were alive, suffering hysteria. John had taken them to a Mormon settlement some miles distance. The mob had not yet harassed that community. I guess I’ll never see my dear friends again in this life, Susan sadly commented. “I don know, said John. Dat’s up to the Good Lawd now.”
After the brutal attack on the Blythe family, Susan realized that she would soon also need to leave the State of Missouri. She told John that they would need to leave and gather with their people in Nauvoo. However, before they could leave, Susan needed to sell some property and collect rentals for the last year as well as the present year. She sold part of her property in the fall of 1839. This also apparently included divesting herself of the other slaves that she had. John told Susan, “Oh, Missa Susan, ah neva dreamed you’all ud be lef like this!” Susan replied, “No John, neither did I. But I’m sure my Father had some sort of premonition, even on my wedding day, when he made me solemnly promise that I would never part with you, and you to promise never to leave my service.” John replied, “I know, Missa Susan, our Marsa James was a powful smat man. He tole me much and ah knows that two times-even afta the fist time he say, Memba, Joh, yo won’ neva leave Missa Susan, will ya? The las time he sez dat ah say, Massa, you’all knows ah won’ neva leave Missa Susan-neva. And he sez, Dat’s good.”
In the summer of 1840, the little family left their Missouri home of almost twenty (20) years. Susan had collected the rents she needed and saved enough funds to provide for their trip and help them get established in Nauvoo. Susan drove the first wagon with her two Sons and Faithful John followed with a second wagon, the family milk cow and two young colts. Their trip was uneventful (due in part to Susan’s careful planning) and they arrived in Nauvoo and settled in a neighborhood that included the Benson, Robinson, Hales and Lee families. Susan had sufficient resources to insure that her little house and properties were paid for in full.
After they arrived and were getting settled in their new neighborhood, they were reunited with the surviving members of the Blythe family. The Blythe’s expressed their deep gratitude and appreciation to both Susan and especially Faithful John for helping to save their lives. Eli said, “We lay unconscious for some time, but when we recovered, the good people who took us in told us that a colored man (Faithful John) had brought us there in the night. We’ll be forever grateful to you (Susan) and John.”
Check Out This Video From Mormon Messages
"Don't underestimate the influence of the deceased in assisting
your efforts and the joy of ultimately meeting those you serve.
The eternally significant blessing of uniting your own families is
almost beyond comprehension."
~ Elder Quentin L. Cook
An Excerpt from the Life of "Faithful John," the First African American Pioneer in Parowan - Part One
By Don E. Burton - Parowan Native
John Burton (also known as Faithful John) was born in about 1797 in Virginia according to available census records. He was of African American descent and was a slave. The first recorded event relating to John was in approximately 1815 –1820 in Kentucky where he was the property of a very cruel slave owner referred to as a real Simon Legree (because of his cruelty to slaves). He was married and had children according to this early record.
James McCord and Elizabeth Barnett McCord (Parents of Susan McCord Burton Robinson) lived in Kentucky, also owned slaves, and were neighbors of this Legree. James had noticed that John was never idle, even when the overseer was not around. On a visit he made to John’s owner (Legree), James found John laying in the field more dead than alive. He had been beaten unmercifully. James inquired of the overseer the cause of the beating and was told, “Why our Marsa jes’ soe’ the ole man’s woman and chilluns down the river, and this ole fool, jes’ bellered out loud-jes’ scremed, he did. Marsz sez lay de whip on him ‘til he larned his place. Marsa sez ole John don’t own nothin-not eben his ole black hide, ‘cause Marsa bought and paid fer dat, too.” (CORRECTED NARRATIVE -Why our Master just sold the old man’s woman and children down the river, and this old fool, just bellered out loud, just screamed, he did. Master said lay the whip on him until he learns his place. Master said old John don’t own nothing, not even his old black hide, because Master bought and paid for that, too.) James said nothing to the overseer, but went straight to Legree, telling him that he was in the market for another man or two, and that he’d like an older man if he could get one. Greedy Legree thought that he could get the best of James by selling half-dead John to him. James took John home and immediately began nursing him back to health. During the next few days, James also searched up and down the river trying to find the buyers who had purchased John’s family, but was unable to find them. John’s family was gone and was never found. (This account depicts the cruel reality of slavery in the 1800’s.)
In about 1821, James McCord found that he could make an excellent exchange of his Kentucky property for equivalent property in Monroe County, Missouri (near the town of Florida) with an additional tract of land adjoining it that he could purchase at a very reasonable figure. He believed there were excellent opportunities for them, so the McCord family made the move. Through the Missouri Compromise, he would take most of his help with him. It required weeks to transport their cattle, their fine Kentucky bred horses, machinery, and all household belongings into a new home. Much time was spent in improving living quarters for the help (their slaves), better barns, and the new home. Monroe County was organized in 1831 from Rails County and Rails Country was organized in 1820 from Pike County.
John became a trusted slave, especially being good in working with James and Elizabeth’s children. It is evident that the name “Faithful John” was indeed earned because of the great trust that James and Elizabeth (McCord) and later Susan placed in him.
In the early 1830’s, two (2) young Elders introduced James McCord and his family to the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of these elders was John Carlos Smith (Brother to the Prophet Joseph Smith) and the other was an Elder Morris. Several members of his family were ultimately baptized. Even though James and Elizabeth were considered to be successful in their affairs, trials and challenges were forthcoming after their baptism. John continued to serve the family faithfully as a trusted slave.
When Susan was married to John Newton Burton in May 1835, James McCord had prepared a wedding dowry, and among the many generous gifts were several colored people, one being Faithful John. James exacted a solemn promise from Susan that if she ever felt it necessary to dispose of any of these trusted people, or to give them their freedom, she would reserve John and never let him go. Faithful John made the same promise that he would remain with Susan until the end of time. Her husband (John Newton Burton) was also asked to make that promise, which he did willingly.
By Steve Anderson of FamilySearch
Each month, FamilySearch publishes a list of new changes and updates to the FamilySearch.org website. This list includes changes to Family Tree as well as other parts of FamilySearch.org. In some cases, these changes will also be published as individual articles where the need to do so exists.
New Memories FeatureWhen you add photos from a person’s Memories page, Family Tree automatically adds a tag to the photo. You usually have to adjust the position and size of the tag, and you may want to add a description or add tags to other people in the photo. That’s easy if you add one photo at a time.
Many users prefer to upload several photos for a person and then adjust or add the tags. You had to go to the person’s Memories page, open one photo, adjust or add the tags, and then return to the person’s Memories page to open the next photo. You had to go to the person’s Memories page between every photo. Users have asked if we could simplify the process. So we did.
Arrows have been added to the page where you tag the photo. Open one photo, adjust or add the tags, and then click anarrow to go to the next or previous photo. You no longer have to go to the Memories page between each photo.