By Holly T. Hansen
The Genealogy and Local History Celebration was a hit with attendees. Those in attendance had a great time and can’t wait to see more opportunities to serve the genealogical needs of our community.
On Friday the group visited the Historic Summit County Courthouse in Coalville, Utah. All had a good time, as we visited the Summit County Historical Museum in the basement of the Courthouse. The museum preserves heritage that is more valuable than money or land.
The museum displays the legacy and example of hard work and honesty earlier generations have left for today’s families and children. My favorite exhibit was “Grandma’s Closet.” There was a sign on the door that said, “What’s in your Grandma’s closet? Open if you dare!” I opened it. Visit the museum to find out what secrets are held there.
A visit to the recorder’s office was educational. The group learned about records that are held in that office. Some of them date back to the 1850s.
Next, the group visited the treasurer’s office. This stop was full of information and the group saw more than tax records. One of the treasures in this office was early school records from the late 1890s.
The next office we visited was the clerk’s office, where we learned about the records held there, how the law affects the duties of the clerk, and how the records are kept. Some early records included naturalizations, which are no longer part of the clerk’s duties according to the current laws of today.
We had the opportunity to visit the IT (information technology) offices and see the online maps that document today’s land records.
We walked through the historic courtroom down the stairs into the historian’s office. We were welcomed and greeted with enthusiasm. Local history is important; it is where we all start our research efforts.
Kendra Rees found a book on the history of mink ranching and she was thrilled as this touches the legacy in her family. Arlene H. Eakle found a book on Jack Slade, an infamous man who was eventually hanged in Montana. Jack Slade married into her husband’s family and is buried near the family plot. She had no idea he had exploits in Echo, Summit County, Utah. Local resident Harvey Porter, who is more than 100 years old, was listed in a newspaper article for his achievements in baseball.
Summit County really has some great tools if your family history takes you into that area.
Many of the records held in the Summit County Courthouse are available online at http://www.summitcounty.org.
Next, we drove the historic back roads to the Croydon Cemetery, where we looked at pioneer graves and learned who kept the sexton records for this early Morgan County Cemetery.
A quick tour of the Morgan FamilySearch Center was fun for all. I told the story of what it took to have the Family History Department approve this building for a center. We also enjoyed the local family history book collection for Morgan families.
Neil Simmons, director of the FamilySearch Center, was thrilled with the support this celebration offered the center. He mentioned the subscription sites and other resources used for family history research that are available at the center.
Our keynote address and dinner were held in Morgan County’s Historic Opera House, presently known as Larry’s Spring Chicken Inn.
Classes held on Saturday were based on sound principles and strategies for successful research. Everyone learned new ways to engage with their family history and ways to share with others.
Attendees indicated they would like a monthly opportunity for learning. We are listening. We look forward to teaching attendees how to research their family, what sources to use, and how to acquire and share the documents that prove the findings. More details on the possibility of a monthly Family History Celebration will be forthcoming, possibly starting in January. Each month we will offer a different research theme.
Thanks to all who attended and to our supporters: FamilySearch, The Morgan County News, Celebrating Family History, and Family History Expos.