Getting Past Genealogist’s Block

Most of you have probably heard of writer’s block: it’s the point where a writer suddenly doesn’t want to write, and would rather use a pen to initiate the gag reflex than write. Well, family historians sometimes get genealogist’s block. So what do you do if this is you?

Jenni and I (and Lunch Bucket, Tootles, and Squeaker) attended a family history fair this last week. I also just finished the 12 week family history course in church. I am therefore… an expert.

Yeah, whatever.

But there was one thing that stuck out to me from both that I think is a good lesson, especially to those who want to do family history work but get terribly confused, frustrated, or just keep hitting brick walls. It’s simply this: find a niche.

Find one aspect of doing family history that really excites you. If you love writing the names on pedigree charts, do that, and do it well. If you love researching the places, focus on that. If you love doing the temple work, focus on that. Chances are, if you really work hard on your niche, it will get you working hard enough at it that you will find the other aspects of family history creeping in anyway.

My niche is the stories. I LOVE finding the stories. That may seem like a cop-out, like I’m neglecting the important stuff, but here’s how my nichefication came about. I’ve loved family history and have been doing research for about fifteen years now. I took the Family History on Computers Institute course shortly before my mission, and became familiar with the big chunk of IGI disks and other databases that were being used at the time. I became proficient in PAF and explored my ancestral lines up and down often.

Up until about two years ago, I would always, without fail, run into every brick wall imaginable. It was as though there was some invisible barrier that made every ounce of effort I put into family history completely futile. It was about two years ago that I reached a crossroads. I was terrible frustrated with all my efforts, and having nothing – NOTHING to show for all the work I had ever done. I was close to throwing in the towel and resolving to wait until retirement. But as a last desperate attempt to save my interest in family history (which by then was waning, of course), I decided to bag all the dates, charts, and “boring” stuff and focus entirely on the one thing about family history that I absolutely loved: the stories.

That opened a new universe for me. Suddenly I was bombarded with story after story, journal after journal, history after history, of the lives of my ancestors. Already I have a 300 page document of stories I’ve collected from Internet sources, library books, and various sources all over. In studying the stories, I found people I never knew existed, and have even found entire lines of family history that go many generations beyond what’s on the new familysearch site or even my own PAF files.

I’m not suggesting everyone change your work to searching for the stories. What I’m saying is find a niche that works for you. Jenni loves organizing. Some people love finding photos. Find the aspect of family history that works for you – that really gets you excited, and work hard at it. In doing it, you’ll find things that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Hannah Knight Libby (Carter)

Hannah Knight Libby is my great, great, great, great great grandmother. Here’s everything I have so far on her life. If you know of any other biographical, genealogical, or historical info about her, I’d LOVE to get it!

Mother Hannah Knight Libby Carter

(A Memorial prepared in 1941 by a group of her descendants)

Biography of

Hannah Knight Libby Carter

Hannah Knight Libby Carter was born October 9, 1786, at Scarborough on the coast of Maine. She was the daughter of Captain Zebulon Libby and Lydia Andrews. Her father, born about 1757, as a young man served three years in the Revolution and was afterwords a captain in the militia. He married Lydia Andrews, daughter of Deacon Amos and Ann (Seavey) Andrews on 19 of October, 1780. He died 6 December, 1836, and his widow on 9 December, 1838. They had 11 children, Hannah being the fourth child. Her brother, Amos, married, but his wife died a few years later. He then enlisted in the American army for one year and lost his life at the Battle of Plattsburgh in Canada, 26 October, 1831, during the war then being waged between Canada and the United States.

Practically all the ancestors of Hannah Knight Libby on both her father’s and mother’s lines have been traced back to the immigrant ancestor in America. The Libby genealogy was traced many years ago by a young man of 18 naturally inclined to genealogy who conceived the idea of tracing all his ancestors back to the immigrant to America. The first of the Libby family in Maine he found was John Libby who came from Sraodataire, near Canterbury, Kent, England. He, with others, settled at an early day in what later became known as Scarborough. There they suffered many attacks from the Indians, had many stirring adventures, and a number of their families were killed or carried into captivity.

Lydia Andrews, her mother, was a granddaughter of Hannah Knight, and for her she named her daughter, the subject of this sketch. Another maternal ancestor was May Ingersol who was also the progenitor of Laura (Ingersol) Sabord, the famous Canadian heroine of the War of 1812.

… On March 2, 1805, Hannah Knight Libby was married to John Carter. He was born in Scarborough, Maine, the son of Richard Carter and Jane McKenney the 17th of May, 1782. To them 11 children were born, the first three in Scarborough, and the rest in Newry, and as recorded by Phillip L. Carter, one of the children:

Dominicus born 21 June 1806

Almira born 3 January 1808

Hannah born 28 June 1809

William Furlsbury born 1 May 1811

Phillip Libby born 17 January 1813

John Harrison born 13 January 1815, died 11 April 1815

John Harrison born 6 October 1816

Eliza Ann born 28 September 1818

Richard born 8 August 1820

Mary Jane born 13 March 1823

Rufus born 9 October 1825

Nine of these children grew to maturity and had large families whose descendants now are numbered by thousands and may be found through the West and in practically all parts of the nation.

Hannah Carter was a refined, cultured woman. The family belonged to the Methodist Church. In 1834, Mormon elders brought to them in their home in Maine the gospel. The following account is written by Eliza Ann Carter Snow, daughter of Hannah.

I first embraced Mormonism in 1834 in the town of Newry, Oxford County, state of Maine. The first Mormon elders I ever heard preach were John F. Boynton and Daniel Bean. They came to my father’s house and my mother lay very sick. The doctors had given her up. The elders told her they were preaching a new doctrine and they told her that she could be healed if she could have faith, that they would hold hands on her. They did lay hands on her and said, “In the name of the Lord Jesus, be thou made whole.” And she was made whole and arose and called for her clothes and said, “I must go to the water. She walked one-half mile and was baptized in the river called Bear River and was confirmed. And there was a large branch raised up in that place.

John Carter did not join the Church. When his wife was healed he said, “That beats Doctor Bills,” but he never joined the Church.

Of the nine children, Dominicus, Hannah (who had married Aaron York), William F., John, Eliza Ann, and Richard were all baptized, most of them in 1834. Two daughters and one son never became members.

Responding to the spirit of gathering which rested upon them, those who had embraced Mormonism left Maine in 1836 and traveled all the way to Kirtland, Ohio, then to [the] headquarters of the Church. They attended the temple, took part in the wonderful meetings, and joined the Saints in singing the songs of Zion.

The next year an apostate movement arose and John F. Boynton, the missionary who had brought the gospel to them in Maine and had since became one of the First Quorum of Apostles, became one of the bitterest and most violent leaders against the Prophet. So intense was the persecution that those who remained staunch and faithful were forced to leave for Far West, Missouri.

Early in 1838 William F. Carter and Eliza Ann, who had recently married James C. Snow, set out together for Missouri driving an ox team. The graphic story of that trying journey is told by Eliza Ann.

It was cold weather and we suffered much with the cold, but we traveled until we came to Terre Haute, Indiana, and one of our oxen died, leaving us with one ox, so we were obliged to stop. We had no money, no house to go in, and we got the privilege of going into a horse stable and I cleaned it out and was glad to get into a place out of the storms. After stopping in Indiana a few weeks, Hyrum Smith’s company came along and he being acquainted with me, said to me, “If you will ride in my baggage wagon, I will take you along and you can drive the team and the men can walk.” I said I will do so.

We traveled until we came to Jacksonville, Illinois. There one of Hyrum’s horses died and he had to leave us. There was a branch of the Church nearby, but he did not leave us penniless among strangers, without home or friends, but he called for the president of the branch and told him to let Brother Snow preside over the branch as a missionary and to feed and cloth us until the Kirtland Camp company came along in the fall, and he did so. The president’s name was __errick, the brother that was killed at the Hann’s [Haun’s] Mill Massacre in Missouri. While we were there in the branch I looked out and, behold, there came my brother, William, with the one ox that we had left behind. He had made a harness and tackled him up, and the one ox carried his wife and three children to Missouri, and when I saw him I rejoiced to see him have so much faith, but the Gentiles made all manner of fun of him. “There goes a d___ Mormon with his ox.” But he got there just the same; and Father Joseph Smith said it should be in the annals of his history.

After that the Kirtland camp came along and we went to Missouri with them. We went into an old log house that we could poke a cat out between the logs and there my first child was born; it was the 30th day of October in the year 1838, Sarah Jane (her child), who became the wife of Marshall Kingman and afterward wife of President Joseph Young. It was cold and snowed every day and the mob came into Far West the very day of her birth, and we were much excited. I could not keep the midwife long enough to dress my child. Sister Diantha Billings was her name, well known among our people. The mob was blowing horns and firing guns all night long. We were without bread or anything to make bread of, but by the help of the Lord we were preserved by the brethren giving up their arms and promising to leave Far West. We left for Illinois in the month of February of the following year [1839]. There were three families to one wagon and one span of old horses, we took turns in walking. There was Brother Winslow Farr and wife, Garner Snow and wife, and James Snow and wife. We traveled all day and at night lay down at a campfire, as we had no tent.

In the famous Kirtland Camp which traveled from Kirtland to Far West were Dominicus Carter with six in his family, Aaron York with four in his family, and John Carter with two. Dominicus, on July 18, [1838], was appointed commissary of the camp. Once when three of the camp members were unjustly thrown into prison, Dominicus Carter voluntarily returned and stayed with them in prison until their release was obtained.

On August 11, [1838] in the fore part of the night, Sarah Emily, daughter of Dominicus Carter aged about two years and three months, died. Hers was the fourth death of the journey. Her funeral was held at two o’clock the next day.

But still further sorrows awaited him as the camp neared Far West. Every day they saw numerous men of the community take up arms and go to join the mob militia to drive the Mormons from the state of Missouri or exterminate them.

Someone suggested that a member of the camp turn back and not run into certain danger, but this proposal was unanimously rejected. The camp arrived at their destination July 4th, [1838]. Persecution and massacres were a frequent occurrence and mobs preyed upon the community.

During this time, Lydia, the wife of Dominicus Carter, was confined. When the baby was but five days old she was ordered by a mob with blackened faces to vacate her home by midnight, as they were going to burn it. She went into a nearby woods with her children and remained there through the night. There was a cold heavy rainfall, and as a result of this exposure so soon after the birth of her baby, she took cold and passed away shortly afterward, October 23, [1838]. Her surviving children were scattered among the relatives.

In February, 1839, the Saints were driven from Missouri. The leader of one group was Isaac Morley. He found a suitable spot for settlement near Lima, Illinois, where four walls of a log cabin had been set up. He moved it while it had neither roof, floor, or windows. Other families joined him, and soon a prosperous community had arisen, known as Morley’s Settlement. It was also called _____.

In the space of five years fertile farms had been developed and the community was a vertible hive of industry. On June 15, 1844, a mob of 2,000 men headed by bitter anti-Mormon Levi Williams, came upon the Saints at Morley’s Settlement and ordered them to make a choice of one of three alternatives. First they were to take up arms, join the mob and go with them to Nauvoo and help them to arrest the Prophet Joseph Smith and 17 other leaders. [Second], they must abandon their homes and go to Nauvoo, or third, give up their arms and remain neutral. They were given until eight o’clock to decide and told that if they did not join the mob they would “smell thunder.”

These brave and devoted Church members did not join the mob nor remain neutral, so they were compelled to leave their homes and flee to Nauvoo for safety. The Prophet heard their story and sent messengers to report this outrage to Governor Ford. Before any action was taken, however, the martyrdom of the Prophet and Hyrum occurred on the 27th [June, 1844], at Carthage Jail.

In the months that followed, the situation became more peaceful and the group returned to their homes in Morley’s Settlement, and peace reigned until September 10th, 1845, when another mob bent on destruction came upon the settlement and for eight days and nights fired upon the settlers, burned between 70 or 80 homes, all their stacks of grain, shops, and other buildings. The inhabitants were ordered out into the cold night during a drenching rain, and the aged, sick, and little ones suffered intensely, and many deaths occurred.

Edmund Durfee, one of the leaders of the community, was shot by the mob.

Brigham Young and the leaders advised them to abandon their homes and possessions to the mob, but to save as many of their families as they could and come to Nauvoo. Teams were sent from Nauvoo to assist in bringing them in.

In February, 1846, the exodus from Nauvoo began. Hannah Libby and her husband, John [Carter], had moved to Nauvoo as early as 1842 when they signed a deed in Hancock County purchasing land at Morley’s Settlement. She had received a patriarchal blessing from Isaac Morley in 1844.

At last the day of separation came. John Carter persistently refused to join the Church. Hannah, his wife, elected to come west with her people and her children who had embraced Mormonism. Before leaving Nauvoo, she was sealed for time and eternity to Isaac Morley.

They traveled westward with the body of the Saints as far as Council Bluffs. When the call for the Mormon Battalion came, Richard Carter, her youngest son, enrolled and was mustered into service July 16, 1846, at Council Bluffs. He served as a private in company “E” of the Mormon Battalion, commanded by Captain Higgins. On November 19, 1846, he died in service on the march to California, and was buried by his comrades at Puertelo, four miles south of Socow, New Mexico, on the Rio Grande, leaving a wife and two children. On April 12, 1852, at Council Bluffs, Iowa, his wife died of smallpox, and the children were brought across the plains by their aunt, Eliza Ann Carter Snow.

It is said that Dominicus Carter would have been one of first company of 1847 pioneers, but being an expert blacksmith, he was requested by the leaders to remain at Council Bluffs and help prepare the immigrant trains for the long journey.

He crossed the plains in 1851 accompanied by his aged mother, and they arrived in Salt Lake City 20 June, 1851. Shortly afterward he went to Provo, and in 1852 was selected as counselor to George A. Smith who was called to preside over the settlement. This position he occupied for years. The first president of Utah Stake was James C. Snow, son-in-law of Hannah Carter. In 1852, William F. Carter, another son, was appointed to a mission in India. He bore a letter of recommendation signed by the First Presidency, which read:

This certifies that the bearer, William F. Carter, is in full faith and fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and by the very authorities of said Church, has been duly appointed a mission to Hindoostan to preach the gospel and administer in all the ordinances thereof pertaining to his office. And we invite all men to give heed to his teachings and counselings as a man of God sent to open to them the door of life and salvation; and assist him in his travels in whatsoever things he may have need. And we pray God, the Eternal Father, to bless Elder W. F. Carter and all who receive him and administer to his comfort, with the blessings of heaven and earth for time and all eternity. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

BRIGHAM YOUNG

HEBER C. KIMBALL

WILLARD RICHARDS

He was also given the following letter of introduction.

To whom it may concern. Know ye that I, Brigham Young, governor of said territory in the United States of America, and I am personally acquainted with the bearer, William F. Carter, and know him be a respectable, high-minded, and honorable man.

And as Mr. Carter proposes visiting Asia on a mission, I cheerfully recommend him to the protection and the respect of all sovereigns, ministers of state, magistrates, and police authorities, and to the esteem of all honorable men among whom he may sojourn.

In token of which I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the seal of said territory to be affixed at Great Salt Lake City, the first day of October, 1852, and of the independence of the United States of America the twenty-seventh by the governor.

BRIGHAM YOUNG

WILLARD RICHARDS,

Appointed by the Governor secretary protem.

During this mission he traveled completely around the world. He returned in 1853, visiting on his way back relatives in Maine and Illinois.

In June, 1852, Hannah Carter dictated the following message to her son, Dominicus, showing her deep interest in temple work for her kindred dead:

By request of your mother I am writing to you. She wishes to communicate to you some of her wishes with regard to her deceased relatives. She is well at present as common, but as life is uncertain, if it is not her privilege to live in this world to do the work for her parents and relatives that have gone the way of all the earth, she wants to leave this work so that it may be done and done right. She wishes to be ready to go when she is called. This is the way we all should leave.

Then followed a detailed list of relatives she remembered for whom temple work was to be done.

She remained at Provo during the time of the Echo Canyon War, and when the body of the saints moved south to Provo and adjoining towns. She lived in her later years at the home of Dominicus Carter. Those who remember her describe her as short in stature with a round face, impressive blue eyes, and refined and dignified bearing. She frequently wore a lace cap and was very prim and neat. She was well educated and always very industrious, keeping her knitting close by and working even in her advanced years.

Almost the last glimpse we have of her was obtained from a letter written on March 5, 1867, by her son, Dominicus, to his brother, Phillip Carter, living on the site of Morley’s Settlement in Illinois. Said he,

“Mother is still alive but very feeble. I don’t think she can live long. She is getting old– rising eighty. If you should want to see her before she should die you better come this spring and not wait till the railroad is finished. Mother wants me to say to you that she does not expect to live long on this earth and she wants that you should prepare to meet her in the world to come. She says the path she has pursued for the last 30 years is the only path by which you can enjoy her society in the world to come and be accepted of the Lord.

“Myself, John, Hannah, and Eliza Ann live in Provo City. William and Aaron live 25 miles from here at a place called Santaquin. Aaron did live in the Cotton County but has moved back. It was too hot a country for him. Aaron’s health is very poor, he is afflicted with rheumatism.

“I have quit smithing and gone to farming, my eyes are so weak. I have a large shop rented. Blacksmithing is a very good business here. Brother John works at the business about half the time.

“Now Phillip, the world is in a bad situation and they don’t know what the matter is. Therefore, I will honestly wish to give a little advise to my blood kin, whether kindly received or not to come out of Babylon or confusion and be with us from the trash of the nations. Yours respectfully, Dominicus Carter.”

Her death had occurred shortly before November 2, 1867, for on this day a letter written by Mary E. Whiting from Springville to a relative in Manti states “Mother Carter is dead.” Her funeral was held at the grave side in the Provo Cemetery. The day was very cold. Dominicus Carter spoke at the funeral of his mother and told how faithful she had always been. And he said she should come forth in the first resurrection.

The true spirit of her life mission is summarized in the inspired words of the Patriarch who pronounced upon her and her posterity this marvelous blessing:

“The heavens and the earth are stored with blessings for thee and thy posterity after thee. Thou hast been faithful in the day of trial. The principles of virtue are planted within thy bosom. The last day shall be thy best days. As the desires of thy heart shall be. Thy day shall be lengthened even until thou are an lawful heir and by proxy thou shalt adimmster and be blessed in thy administration in behalf of thine progenitors.”

By Patriarchal Blessing–May 5, 1844 Book 14.

On Memorial Day, May 30, 1941, 155 years after her birth, 90 years after she crossed the plains, and 74 years after her death 90 members of her posterity held a memorial service in her honor, sang again the songs that were sung at her funeral and listened to a sketch of her rich life story. Then once again they gathered at her grave side and dedicated a bronze marker as a Iasting memorial to her name and noble character. It bore this inscription beside the motif of a covered wagon.

HANNAH KNIGHT LIBBY CARTER

OCTOBER 9,1786 – NOVEMBER 1867

“FAITHFUL IN THE DAY OF TRIAL”


Hannah Knight Libby Carter Biography
Photocopy of typescript. Grammar has been standardized.

Almost the last glimpse we have of her was obtained from letter written on March 5, 1867, by her son, Dominicus, to his brother, Phillip Carter, living on the site of Morley’s Settlement in Illinois. Said he:

Mother is still alive, but very feeble. I don’t think she can live long. She is getting old, rising nightly. If you should want to see her before she should die, you better come this spring and not wait till the railroad is finished. Mother wants me to say to you that she does not expect to live long on this earth and she wants that you should prepare to meet her in the world to come. She says the path she has pursued for the last 30 years is the only path by which you can enjoy her society in the world to come and be accepted of the Lord.

Myself, John, Hannah, and Eliza Ann live in Provo City. William and Aaron live 25 miles from here at a place called Santaquin. Aaron did live in the cotton county but has moved back. It was too hot in the country for him. Aaron’s health is very poor, he is afflicted with rheumatism.

I have quit smithing and gone to farming. My eyes are so weak. I have a large shop rented. Blacksmithing is a very good business here. Brother John works at the business about half the time.

Now, Phillip, the world is in a bad situation and though I don’t know what the matter is, therefore, I will honestly wish to give a little advice to my blood kin, whether kindly received or not, to come out of Babylon or confusion and come with us from the crash of the nations.

Yours respectfully,

DOMINICUS CARTER

Her death had occurred shortly before November 2, 1867, for on this day a letter written by Mary E. Whiting from Springville to a relative in Manti states, “Mother Carter is dead.” Her funeral was held at the graveside in the Provo cemetery. The day was very cold.

Dominicus Carter spoke at the funeral of his mother and told how faithful she had always been. She had always been a true wife, had always held the priesthood, and he said she should come forth in the first resurrection.

The true spirit of her life mission is summarized by the inspired words of the patriarch who pronounced upon her and her posterity this marvelous blessing:

The heavens and earth are stored with blessings for thee and thy posterity after thee. Thou hast been faithful in the day of trial. The principles of virtue are planted within thy bosom. The last day shall be thy best days, as the desires of thy heart shall be. Thy day shall be lengthened even until thou are in lawful heir and by proxy thou shalt administer and be blessed in thy administration in behalf of thine progenitors.

By Patriarchal Blessing—May 5, 1844, Book 14

On Memorial Day, May 30, 1941. 155 years after her birth, 90 years after she crossed the plains, and 74 years after her death, 90 members of her posterity held a memorial service in her honor, sang again the songs that were sung at her funeral, and listened to a sketch of her rich life story. Then once again they gathered at her graveside and dedicated a bronze marker as a lasting memorial to her name and noble character. It bore this inscription (beside the motif of a covered wagon):

Hannah Knight Libby Carter

October 9, 1786-November, 1867.

“Faithful in the day of Trial.”

SOURCE(S):

  1. Carter Pioneers of Provo, Utah compiled by Arthur C. Coleman; pgs 137 – 145
  2. Writings of Early Latter-day Saints by Various authors
  3. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~marlaprice/Histories/Hannahcarter.htm
  4. Hannah Knight Libby Carter, biography. Photocopy of Transcript
  5. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~colby/colbyfam/b580.html

Jenniology – The Meaning Behind the Music

play-button2

Jenniology – The Meaning Behind the Music

img_3389

Tab 2 It took me awhile to decide what to study in college.  I had a lot of interests, and narrowing it down was difficult.  By the time it was time to sign up for school, I had it down to either music or genealogy.  I loved studying family history, and I thought it would be cool to go into a profession where I could help others with theirs.  But ultimately I knew I was more passionate about music.  Besides, I spent a lot more time practicing and thinking about music than I did genealogy, so I decided on music.
tabIt wasn’t until I had been going to college for a few years that I realized what I really wanted to have as my life study.  With only a few credits needed to get my Associates degree in music, I met Jenni.  She was the sweetest and prettiest girl I had ever met.  After a year of bumpy on and off dating, I asked her to marry me – the best choice I could have made.  It was then that I pledged myself to the study of Jenniology.
tabWe have been married since October 6, 2004, and I love her now more than EVER.  She is AMAZING!!!!  I am now a full time Jenniologist, and I am learning more every day.  Here are a few random Jenniology facts that I have learned already:

Tab 2Jenni loves candy – especially fruity candy, like Sprees and Bottlecaps.
Tab 2Jenni’s hair curls in a water fight.
Tab 2Jenni’s laugh makes any bad day great.
Tab 2Jenni has taught me that full-time motherhood is the best career possible.
Tab 2There’s nothing in the world like cuddling up to a sleepy Jenni.
Tab 2Eternal family is worth any price.  In fact, it’s worth every price.

Tab 2And she’s teaching me more all the time.  I love her, I love her, I love her!!!  Thanks, Jenni, for being who you are and letting me be your most dedicated student!

Read the meaning behind the music for more of Chas’s original pieces