Sunday, December 15, 2013


This is a festive time in LA, especially on Temple Hill. The Visitors' Center has a Christmas concert or devotional every night this month. Some nights, twice. They usually fill their multipurpose room and have overflow viewing in other smaller rooms. (They really need to have a large auditorium, as they do in the Washington, DC, Temple Visitors' Center.) We went to a concert by the Torrance Stake Youth Choir last night. They were quite good, with children from about eight to eighteen.
Looking to the Northeast

The back of the Temple
The Christmas lights around the Temple are very beautiful and interesting, especially the lights on the tall palm trees. Here are a few photos we took last Tuesday after we went to the Temple.

Sister Evans is in this one

The Family History Library was closed on our P-day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so we went with another couple and the three single senior sisters to the Los Angeles Science center. They have the last of the Space Shuttles, the Endeavor on display there. I made this picture. It is actually three shots stitched together to get it all.

The Science Center has a lot of great exhibits and films. We saw a 3-D IMAX film, The Flight of the Butterfly. It was beautifully done; very educational and entertaining.

One P-day was spent mostly Christmas shopping. We were going to walk on the beach, but it was too cold. The weather here is generally very nice, so we can't complain.We went to the Skirball Cultural Center last Wednesday. It is a new museum of American Jewish history, built above the Getty Museum in the mountain pass between the LA basin the the San Fernando valley. It's close to where we live. It has a well-done exhibit on the history of Judaism, especially in the United States. It also has a permanent children's exhibit, Noah's Ark, which is a lot of fun, even for old children like us. The also have a temporary exhibit on the works of architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the Skirball and the new Salt Lake City Public Library, as well as many internationally important buildings. Sorry, no pictures.

Like everyone else, we've been having parties. We had a Thanksgiving party with the senior missionaries one Monday night. There was a pot-luck Thanksgiving diner with those who were staying in the Patron Apartments, followed by a left-over dinner on Friday. We had our ward Christmas party. Since our ward is the center of missionary activity among the Iranian people in the mission (in the United States, actually), a Persian restaurant catered the dinner. It was delicious. I was sitting with the Farsi-speaking missionaries and some Iranian investigators who had been the U.S. for just 20 days. They said the food was very authentic. We also had a Christmas party with the Family History Library missionaries and volunteers. One volunteer is Jewish and she shared with us the history and traditions of Hanukkah. Everyone brought a pot-luck dish. Sister Evans went to the Relief Society Christmas party at a member's home high on the mountainside in Bel Air. It was outdoors, but in a heated tent. Elder Evans worked the late shift at the Library that evening. Mary and the Sisters from the Library got together with the Senior Sisters from the Mission Office to learn how to make miniature Christmas trees. They are made of hangers, lights, and garland, with an angel on top.
Our Christmas tree and Nativity
We are making plans to make the long drive to Salt Lake City next week. Let's pray for good weather as we travel. We will be home for a week while the Library is closed for Christmas and will return in time to go to the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena on New Years day. We are looking forward to seeing everyone.

Has anyone seen the movie, The Sarakov Approach, yet? We want to see it when we are in SLC. It doesn't open here until January 10. The producer, who also plays the part of one of the kidnapped missionaries, is in our ward.

You must think we play all the time. We don't really (just as much as we can). But we also work in the Library five days a week. Sister Grandma is amazing at finding sources for her family and keeps extending the line. The young Elders and Sisters are busy finding, teaching and baptizing, but Sister Evans just finds and baptizes - in the temple. We make it a point to go to the temple every week. Elder Grandpa is busy cataloging the Jewish Genealogical Society's collection of books and periodicals, which we keep for them. He also is getting ready to teach classes at the Library and at the Roots conference in March. President Weidman asked us if we have time to help the office Elders with organizing the referrals. We will start that after the new year. The most fun we have, however, is helping patrons one-on-one, both LDS and visitors, find family members. It is often a puzzle and sometimes we don't succeed, but we never fail; We just learn what doesn't work. We do enjoy the challenge and the patrons are all so very grateful. The days and the weeks go by quickly.

We love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas,
Sister and Elder Evans

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We missed writing last week because our Sunday was filled with activities. First, after breakfast, we went to church in the building next to the patron apartments where we live, from 10:20 to 1:20. We have four wards meeting in the building and ours and another one have joint primary, young men's, and young women's meetings. Its complicated.

Then lunch before we went to a meeting at 3:00 of the committee planning the next Discover your Root conference, an annual conference put on by the Black community, and the Church Public Affairs and Family History Library. Mary and I are members of the committee for the 2014 meeting in the Los Angeles Stake center.

At 5:00 we went to the Library to assist members of the Jewish community - Rabbis, community leaders, and reporters - who came to the Visitors' Center and the Library as part of a tour of "sacred places" in Los Angeles. This was also sponsored by the Public Affairs office. We showed them what is available in FamilySearch and how to find their ancestors. They were very gracious and many were deeply interested and suprised by what we have to offer. While this was going on, our library director, Bishop McBride, held a class for one of the other wards in his stake.

Then, at 7:00, we went to a "Why I believe" fireside upstairs in the Visitors' Center. The speakers were Chad Lewis and his wife. He is a former BYU football stand-out and NFL player; she was an All-American volleyball player at BYU. They gave great talks to a standing room only audience. Since he had served his mission in Taiwan, he had given an early fireside in Mandarin for Chinese members and investigators.

Today was not quite so busy. We went to church as usual and had a great sacrament meeting. The mission nurse, who lives in our ward, and her family spoke. She is a great speaker, very entertaining as she told us stories of the miracles she sees in her calling. Then we went to the library and had lunch with the British Genealogical Society and stayed for their meetings and to help those who need help with research.

On Tuesday last week, Max taught one of the classes in the "Three-day Intensive" course. Mary continues to find new family members to do temple work for. We are both working to find documents to support what is in the tree. Mary is now doing the scheduling for the staff which means running off a daily schedule showing where everyone is assigned, depending on when everyone works and gets time off.  She also will handle the e-mails for the Center.  Sister Hunt is training her to take over some of the office responsibilities.

Last Wednesday we spent most of our P-day at a zone conference in Downey. It started at 8:00, so we left just after 7:00 AM and stayed until about 2:00 PM. The mission president and his wife spoke, and so did the mission nurse to encourage everyone to get a flu shot, and the local stake president. We had four break-out sessions led by the missionaries, then lunch, then the last session, before the president finished in a general session. Zone conferences with the young missionaries build our spirits and makes us feel like we are part of a great work.

The Wednesday before, November 13, we went to the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena for our P-day activity. The library has a wonderful collection of British and American history and literature, including rare books, manuscripts, and personal papers. They have a lot of western history related collections, including a strong Mormon history collection. But we spent most of our time visiting the 120 acres of gardens on the 307 acre site, and seeing the wonderful collections of British, European, and American art in the galleries. The library has a new exhibit on the treasures of its collections. It was a real treat to spend part of the day there.
Here we are at the Chinese Gardens

Sandpiper at Chinese Gardens
The British portraits collection 
Pinky by Lawrence
Blue Boy by Gainsborough

Our ancestor of the week is Max's great-great-grandfather, Edward Robinson. This story is based on the paper Mary wrote for a BYU family history class, 2011. 

Edward Robinson was born on October 16, 1807, in Little Sutton, Cheshire, England.  His parents were Joseph and Margaret Davies Robinson.  As a young man, he trained to be a footman at a manor house and worked with horses and blood hounds.  He had to dress immaculately, and be efficient and courteous.  He was somewhat heavyset, round-faced and of an optimistic spirit.  He had deep blue eyes and brown, curly hair.  He married Mary Smith and they settled in Salford[1] near Manchester so he could work as a guard or conductor on the first inter-city passenger railroad in the world, linking Manchester and Liverpool, England.[2]  Opening on Sept 15, 1830, it also provided faster transport of raw materials and finished goods between the port of Liverpool and the mills of Manchester. 

His training as a footman paid off. “At the age of twenty-two, he was engaged by the President of the Liverpool and Manchester railroad, Charles Lawrence, about three weeks before the line was open…Mr. Robinson continued in the employ of the company until 1842, when he left for America.  The Treasurer, Henry Booth Esq., of Liverpool, on his departure, presented him with a watch, …the inscription thereon, reads as follows:  “Liverpool and Manchester Railway, To Edward Robinson, In Token of Regard from the Directors, 1842.”[3] This watch is on exhibit in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.[4] 

The steam engine was an exciting scientific invention and the railroad an industrial milestone, but occurring at about the same time in America was the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When the Mormon apostles came as missionaries to the British Isles, Mary and Edward converted to the gospel and desired to gather to Nauvoo with other Saints.  With their family of six children—Richard, John, Elizabeth, Edward, William and Mary Jane, (1841 UK Census shows 5 children and Mary Jane being born in 1842) they sailed on the Henry, leaving from Liverpool on September 29, 1842 and arriving in New Orleans about six weeks later on November 10.  Aboard were 157 converts under the direction of Elder John Snyder and ship Captain Benjamin Pierce.[5]

Also traveling on the “Henry” to gather with the Saints in America were Ann (nee Turner) and John Wootton and their two sons, Attewall and John, along with husband John’s sister, Anne and her daughter, Elizabeth.[6]  Ann Turner was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire and was a recent convert to Mormonism.

The new converts settled in Nauvoo in 1843, after spending the winter in St. Louis. Edward was a member of the 16th Quorum of the Seventy and was a soldier in the Nauvoo Legion.[7] A landowner in the city of Nauvoo, he purchased three pieces of property, one on May 13, 1843, for $200, where he built a fine brick house, another on December 26, 1843, and  one on June 12, 1845, for $120.[8]  He was able to sell one of the homes for $200 on August 27, 1847, while he was living in Iowa.  While living in Nauvoo, Edward and Mary had their ninth child, Joseph.  When Mary passed away,[9] the baby was cared for by the Kirkwood family until he died.  He was buried beside his mother in Nauvoo. Edward and Mary had two other children, Mary and Martha who also had died as infants while they lived in England.  

With a large family to care for, Edward hired a housekeeper, Ann Turner Wootten who had traveled with them on the ship “Henry”. Ann’s husband, John was injured in a work-related accident as a tile maker and brick mason and passed away in June of 1845.[10]  Now a widow with two children of her own, a sister-in-law and a niece, Ann also took care of the Robinson children. Edward and Ann were married in 1845 in Nauvoo[11] and were both endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on February 2, 1846 just prior to the family’s exodus from Nauvoo.[12]

Rather than leave with one of the early pioneer company crossing the plains, Edward and Ann chose to settle in Burlington, Des Moines, Iowa for a few years.   While in Iowa, a child was born to them, George Heber Robinson[13], on May 12, 1847.  Another child, Alfred Robinson was born in 1849 in Indian Territory as the family was traveling with the Ezra T. Benson’s Pioneer Company which crossed the Plains in 1849.  Alfred crossed the plains and was listed on the 1850 Federal US Census in Utah, but passed away as a child on December 23, 1854.  He is buried in the old American Fork cemetery, as well as his mother Ann Turner Wootten Robinson who died in 1864.[14]

After the Robinson family immigrated to Utah, arriving on October 28, 1849,[15]  they first lived in a rented house in Salt Lake City owned by John Taylor. The following year they were among the first settlers in American Fork where they farmed and lived in a small cabin in the fort.[16]  Later they built a large brick home. Edward was known for his landscaping, trees and roses. The townspeople called his place “Robinson’s Rose Corner”.  Today it is the location of Robinson Park on Main Street in American Fork.  After the death of his second wife, he married Margaret Grosvenor.  She lost her sight and he lost his hearing.[17]

[1] Edward Robinson household, 1841 UK Census, Salford parish, ED 16, folio 21, p 35, line 11.
[2] Wikipedia, Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Online, and Manchester Railway
[3] Millennial Star 40:35, The first railway conductor, 7 Oct 1873, p 630.
[4] Photograph of Edward Robinson’s pocket watch, Church History Museum,  230910-MUSM.
[5] Conway Sonne, Ships, Saints and Mariners, a Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830-1890, (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1987) p 95-6.
[6] John Wootten household, 1841 UK Census, Wolstanton parish, ED 6,folio 27, p 6, line 1.
[7] Richard Bennett, Susan Easton Black, and Donald Q. Cannon,  Nauvoo Legion in Illinois: a history of the Mormon militia, 1841-1846. (Norman, Oklahoma: Arthur H. Clark company, 2010) .
[8] Susan Easton Black, Harvey B. Black, and Brandon Plewe,  Property Transactions in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois and Surrounding Communities (1839-1858)  (Wilmington, Delaware: World Vital Records, Inc., 2006) Vol. 5, p 3314-6.
[9] Nauvoo Neighbor, 3 Sept 1945.
[10]  Old Nauvoo Burial Ground, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Nauvoo, Illinois: Nauvoo Restoration, 7 Oct 1989). Vol. 30, p 38.   
[11] Frank Esshom. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Western Epics, Inc., 1966). p 1137.
[12]Temple Records Index Bureau, Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register, 2 Feb 1846. P 266-7. typescript
[13] Typescript letter from Ann Robinson, Burlington, Iowa, 7 Jan 1848. In author’s possession
[14] Grave marker photograph, Old pioneer cemetery, American Fork, Utah.
[15] Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868. Church History Library, Online, 2 May 2011.
[16] Map of Fort of American Fork, 1855 manuscript. Original at HBLL map collection, Provo, Utah.
[17] John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 21, 28 Nov 1879, p 115.  
[18] Susan Ward Easton Black, Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1987). Vol. 37,p 212-215.

Elder and Sister Evans

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


      Max and Mary continue to be active workers at the Family History Library.  Often Mary is at the Welcome Desk or the Cash Register.  Copies or scans are 10 cents each or 5 cents for those who work there. The young missionaries come in to email and what they print up is free.  Also free are FORs which are family ordinance requests.  Then we help patrons by printing up cards for the temple. We also charge for flash drives and some classes ($20 to pay for the book that we print for them).  Most classes are free, and are mainly to help people with Family Tree or increase awareness of the sources and how to use them. Max is usually at the Help Desk which is the family history consultant.  Helping patrons is our major focus.  Max also is busy cataloging books.
Dick Lisle and the 15hp. Star 
     We can also work on our own family history when we are not busy.  Yesterday Mary googled "Star Cars" to see what was on the internet about Edward Lisle's Company. We know all his family worked in the business.  But she did not know that our Grandpa Dick Lisle was one of the main car racers and won trophies for racing cars.  Here are a few pictures of him :

Dick Lisle in his Comet outside the factory
     Some of the races were for over 300 miles or even 12 hours.  The 15hp. Star won a gold medal in the Wolverhampton Automobile Club's meeting on October 2nd, 1909. It also won the 1909 October Senior Handicap at Brooklands.  Dick Lisle was racing from 1909 to 1914 when Mary's mother was born, and possibly up until 1922.  And if you read the account, at one time he lost a race because he crashed into a bridge.  
Mary at the "Blessing the Animals" mural at the Pueblo
Union Station
     For preparation day this week, Max and Mary rode the Metro (light rail which turns into heavy rail) to downtown Union Station. We visited the Pueblo de Los Angeles; in the center of this Mexican place is Olivera Street where there are a lot of outdoor shops, museums and eating places.  Then we walked to the Walt Disney Center for the Performing Arts where the Los Angeles Philharmonic plays in the winter.  It is a very unusual-looking building designed by Gehry.  We also went to the main library which is enormous, covering 8 floors and saw their genealogy section.  Max says this is a busman's holiday to look at what we do all the time.
Walt Disney Center

Los Angeles Public Library
     On Sunday, Max substituted in Sunday School and gave a lesson on "Finding joy in family history and temple work". The high priest group leader came over last Tuesday to ask us to teach a series of lessons starting in January to acquaint ward members with the "Tree".  This was a direct answer to our prayers.  Most of the other senior missionaries go down on Sundays to help with a struggling branch in the Watts area of the City.  They have asked if we wanted to join them.  So, we prayed about whether we should go down and help them or stay in this ward close by.  Staying close by, we can more easily help on Sundays when the Hunts, who are now our Family History Center managers, leave.
     Also on Sunday we enjoyed going to the Artesia Ward in Torrance for a Fireside for the departing missionaries.  There were 13 young Elders and Sisters who bore their testimonies, including our neighbor Sister Bateman.  It was very inspiring to hear their stories. When they go home, there are many more missionaries that will come to fill their places and then some.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Hi everyone,
     Last week was quite cool, requiring a jacket on our walks.  But now it is back to sunny and beautiful weather.  We have also discovered another fruit that grows on the back fence.  It is orange, soft and about the size of an apricot, but with small red seeds inside.  It is edible, but having very little flavor.  So far, besides this fruit, there are figs, oranges, olives and a bunch of small bananas.  The figs are actually quite good.
     Last week we both had the opportunity to teach classes in the Center for the 3-day intensive course. Max taught the "getting started" class. Because one of the teachers couldn't be there due to her daughter being sick and needing her help, so we taught two of her classes. Luana Gilstrap had great power-points so we had to study them and maybe add our own insights. The death records class that Max taught was Luana's and Mary taught Luana's class on wills and probates.  The classes went well.   As Mary was researching and studying about wills, she thought she should use a couple of her own ancestors' wills as illustrations.  So she looked up on "The Genealogist" to find the will of James Wheatley which was written in 1825, but was not probated until after he died in 1846.  He mainly wrote his will to make sure his daughter Maria would be taken care of since she was a child born to them later than the rest of his children.  He doesn't mention any of the other children; they probably were already established or possibly got their inheritances already.  He also wanted to be buried in Bunhill Fields, a nonconformist cemetery in London (a nonconformist is anyone who does not belong to the Church of England).
     Anyway Mary also looked on "Ancestry" since they have a site called "England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations 1858-1966)" where you can find a summary of a will if you just type in their name; so she found "Joseph Rollings' will with effects under 100 pounds [proved] on 12 Feb 1866.  The Will of Joseph Rollings late of Monmore Green Bilston-road Wolverhampton in the County of Stafford[,] Miner deceased who died 12 July 1865 at Monmore Green aforesaid was proved at Lichfield by the oath of Benjamin Davis Rollings of Monmore Green aforesaid Carpenter the Son one of the surviving Executors." Joseph was the father of Sadie Rollings, her mother's grandmother.
     And while searching she found the 13-page will of Daniel Williams which she hadn't seen before, dated 20 September 1841.  There were pages with an inventory of all his books and which child would get them. He was a Baptist minister in Fairford, Gloucestershire.  He listed all 6 of his surviving children (2 had passed away).  His 2 sons-in-law were the executors of his estate. Earlier that year, in 1841, Daniel appeared in the census as an 80 (really 82)-year-old father living with his daughter Sarah who was married to Henry Gamble (also a minister).
     The sister missionaries next door asked us to help them teach Jonathan, a new member of the Church. They were going to teach a lesson about the first principles of the Gospel.  Even after baptism, it's good to continue teaching them.  So Max and Mary went to the Visitor's Center on Friday evening and helped by sharing our testimonies about faith and some scriptures.  It was good to remember our lessons we learned in the MTC.  We also have been teaching parts of  Lesson 3 in Preach My Gospel in prayer meeting since there is a nonmember who meets with us that everyone agrees could accept the gospel and be baptized.
     We also went to the Jewish Society and then again to the British Genealogical Society that meet in the Family History Center, none of whom are members.  We talk with them and help if needed.  We are also involved  on a planning committee for the Black "Discover Your Roots Conference" which will be held in March.  We might also be involved in teaching then: Max about Archives and Mary in teaching young people.  We need to work on these lessons, that's for sure.
     We often help patrons who come in to the Center:  helping them print cards to take to the temple, work with the Family Tree, and whatever they are trying to find.  Mary helped Sister Tucker, wife of the Institute director from our ward, to sort out who was her ancestor's mother, since the father had two wives. She had a great family picture.  She wanted to be accurate since she was making a book to give to each of her six children.  We found her answer on the Census and on Find-a-Grave.
Pat Nixon's tombstone
Richard Nixon's tombstone
     For our day off last week, Max and Mary went to the Nixon Library and Birthplace.  That is where his boyhood home is.  All the furniture had been stored and was authentic.  They didn't have electricity.  Even the dishes were preserved. Did you know he played 5 instruments:  piano, accordion, clarinet, violin and saxophone.  He also was on the cover of Time magazine 54 times.  There was a very good commentary on Watergate; in a film presentation was piece of an interview with Elder Christofferson of the Council of the Twelve. He had been a law clerk to Judge Sirica in Washington.  He said because of all the true and accurate testimony given, he was proud of his profession.  And we saw the helicopter that the presidents use around Washington and fly back and forth to Camp David.

   This week we went to Hollywood to see the stars on the Hollywood "walk of fame." Each star in the sidewalk has the name of a famous actor, singer, dancer, director, or producer. Nearby at the famous Chinese theater are performers' signatures with their hand and footprints in the concrete.  It was late in the afternoon so we took a tourmobile of Beverly Hills in the dark to see where movie stars live or lived.

Doris Day added hers the year Max graduated from high school.  Remember Red Skelton?

Love to all,
Elder and Sister Evans

Sunday, October 20, 2013


After General Conference and our following week's stake conference we realized that the theme is "Hastening the Work" -- that is, missionary work. In addition, we both just finished Clayton Christensen's book, The Power of Everyday Missionaries: The What and How of Sharing the Gospel. Yet, our assignment in the family history library actually forbids proselyting. Sure, we can and do help a lot of people who are not members of our faith, and we think that most of them have a good experience and leave with a positive opinion. If they have questions about the Church, we can answer them, but not to the extent of teaching them missionary lessons. If they express an interest, we are instructed to take them to the visitors' center upstairs where we can teach them, or better, introduce them to the full-time missionaries there, one of the six senior missionaries serving in the Visitor's Center or a pair of young sister missionaries. Nevertheless, we decided that the least we can do is pray for having missionary experiences.

We started doing this last week in our morning companion prayer. On Tuesday, we planned to go the the temple; we like to go once a week. We got off work at 5:00 and knew we needed to be to the temple for the 6:15 session. We went back to the apartment and got busy doing something else and forget to get dinner until 6:00, so we decided to eat after the session. We thought we would settle for fast food, and since we've never been to the Jack-in-the-Box, we decided to go to the one just a few blocks away. We like to go inside instead of eating in the car, but found all the parking was taken, so we went through the drive-through, placed an order, then drove ahead to pay and pick up food. As we waited, the young man at the window noticed Max's missionary name plate and with the name, "Jesus Christ" prominent. He asked us where we went to Church and we told him we are with the church that has the big temple up the street. "Oh, I know that building," he said, "My sister attends the middle school next to it. I wonder what it was, but I've never been there." He also said his mother is a member of an evangelical church and that he reads the bible every day. Max invited him to go to the temple grounds and stop at the visitors' center where he can learn more about our church. He said he would.

We know, this doesn't sound earthshaking, but it is exactly the kind of thing we are being asked to do and is, as brother Christensen says, "everyday" missionary work. And it shows that God answers our prayers when He can trust us to do what we pray for.

We are busy at the library this week, mostly preparing to teach some classes for the three day intensive course next week. Our director, Bishop McBride, asked Max to teach the first class. Then a volunteer who teaches four out of the 12 classes, called to say that a family emergency requires her to leave town for a couple of months. Our director will take two of the classes and Mary and Max will each take one of the others. We can use her PowerPoint slides, but we need to master the subjects. Mary will be doing wills and probate and Max will teach about other death records. We hope it will go well.

Among our many patrons at the library were a grandfather and his 13 year-old grandson. The grandfather came from out of state for a family visit and the grandson wanted to visit the library to see what we have. The older man said he was a Methodist and the boy is a Jew. Max sat down with the boy while the man watched and answered questions, but it was clear that this young man knew his family history. Names, dates, places in three continents, and  for three or four generations. Max showed him what is in the FamilySearch digitized historical records collections and what is in Ancestry. He also introduced him to the FamilySearch wiki and the catalog, the latter leading to microfilm. The boy know how to use the computer and was very quick to learn what was taught. He was amazed to find and view original census records for his family and to learn that he can do all of this (except Ancestry) for free at home. It was fun to see his excitement.

For our P-day Wednesday, after doing the laundry, getting a haircut (Max), and washing the car, we went again to Griffith Park, this time to go to the Observatory. It has wonderful exhibits and planetarium shows, a nice cafeteria with outdoor seating overlooking Los Angeles. We sat there for a gorgeous sunset. Then, at dark we got in line for a chance to view the moon through their 12-inch-diameter lens of the refracting telescope (The actual telescope fills the room of the dome.) The night was clear and the full moon was visible so we could plainly see the bright image of the moon with its craters with our own eyes next to the eyepiece.

LA looking south from the observatory
Looking west toward the Pacific Ocean

 The above photos were taken from the waiting line. The line ended inside the round white structure on the roof. Inside, a docent was telling about the telescope and what we would see. The photo below (from Google images) is what we saw through the eyepiece when it was our turn. But we saw a much enlarged segment of  just a fragment. It was awe inspiring.

President and Sister Weidman
This afternoon, after dinner, we attended a meeting of the committee to plan the 12th annual "Discover Your Roots" conference, sponsored by the Church and the local African-American genealogical society. We represent the LAFHL (Los Angeles Family History Library) on the committee, which also included the missionary couple assigned to public affairs, Sandy and Ken Hyer, as well as Black Latter-day Saints and non-members.  Mary and Max both expect to be asked to teach one of the classes at the conference, to be held in the Los Angeles stake center. It should be interesting.

Then, this evening at 7:00 we attended a "Why I believe" fireside at the visitors' center. President and Sis. Weidman spoke. A quartet of young elders sang the opening song and they were joined by a quartet of sister missionaries for the closing song. It was very spiritual. Afterwards, we visited with people, including a new convert, a young adult man from Iran, and an investigator and her 12 year-old son. They had watched Conference last week and were very moved by the fireside. The work continues.

Our ancestor of the week is Max's great-great-grandfather, Abel Evans. The following is from the life sketch on FamilySearch Family Tree (KWJC-W24):

Abel Evans was born on June 17, 1812 in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. His parents were Samuel Evans and Anne Hughes Evans, who were living on a farm, Castell Dragnog, when Abel was born. Abel was christened in either the Hennlan Amgoed or the Llanboidy Independent Chapel on October 20, 1812. Abel and his parents apparently moved around considerably while Abel was young. Samuel Evans was a farm laborer at the time of Abel’s birth. Sometime between 1821 and 1826, Samuel and family moved to Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorganshire. 

After the family moved to Merthyr Tydfil, Abel spent his boyhood and early life in the coal mines of the area around Merthyr Tydfil. In those days children of the working classes started to work at a very early age. In 1840 Abel heard the Gospel some place in Glamorganshire, and on February 10, 1844, he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Elder William Hinshaw. Previously Abel had never joined any of the religious denominations but he was known among his fellowmen as a moral and honest man. Abel Evans was soon ordained to the priesthood and spent the following six years traveling through Wales teaching the Gospel. He was a man of great faith and during these years in the ministry he baptized over 2,000 Saints, 700 of these members in Merthyr Tydfil alone. Along with his wonderful faith, he possessed the gift of healing to a remarkable degree. 

In 1849, Abel Evans was put in charge of all the branches in North Wales and assisted President William Phillips of the Welsh Mission. He was ordained a High Priest at Liverpool, England on February 7, 1849 by Orson Pratt and Dan Jones. Abel Evans left Wales for America in 1850. 

According to the History of Lehi, while Abel Evans was crossing the ocean in 1850 he became acquainted with Mary Jones, whom he married after landing in America. They spent the next two years in Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, where Abel was called as a High Councilor. 

A great many of the Saints were working to obtain an outfit for their overland journey to the valley of the Great Salt Lake or awaiting the return of fine weather before starting across the plains. In June of 1852, Abel Evans and his wife Mary left Council Bluffs with ox teams in Captain Morgan’s company. Their team consisted of one yoke of cattle, one cow and a two-year-old heifer. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September of 1852 and went directly to Lehi, where they made their residence. Shortly after their arrival, Abel Evans was called as second counselor to Bishop David Evans of the Lehi Ward. In 1863 he was called to serve as the first counselor in the bishopric. Abel also served as president of the high priest’s quorum at one time. 

He married Martha Morgan some time before June 15, 1857. A son David Morgan Evans was born to them. Abel also married Jane Davis. They had one child. He was elected as a member of the Lehi City Council on March 6, 1854 and served until 1861. 

He was appointed Marshal of Lehi City in 1863 and served until 1865, when he was called to serve a mission to Wales. During his mission to Wales, he served as a traveling Elder and then as President of the Welsh District, where he labored. In May of 1866, Abel contracted a cough and cold. He struggled against this cough and cold until his death in November 1866. 

We love you all and hope you have a great week.
Love, Elder and Sister Evans

Sunday, October 13, 2013


 Hi everyone,
       Last week we were able to see all the sessions of General Conference either on the big screen at the Visitor's Center or on our computer.  It was wonderful to see live the leaders of the church and hear their messages. And then to see our grandson, Lincoln in the choir at the Priesthood session.
Stained-glass windows and stenciled walls in the Stake Center 

      Today was Stake Conference which was held at 2 different buildings:  the Stake Center yesterday for the adult evening session and the Vermont Building today, which is much larger and can accommodate more people and more parking.  They are very distinctive architectural designs; the Stake Center has high cathedral ceilings with stained glass windows and looks like a Catholic mission.
Courtyard at Stake Center
Inside the chapel of the Stake Center
We carpooled with other missionaries.   In the meetings today, the hymns have 3 numbers listed in the program so they could be sung in Spanish, Korean and English.  Elder Packer, our Area Seventy spoke along with President and Sister Weidman of the mission, and Stake President Bragg and his counselors.
Vermont Avenue Meetinghouse

For our day off, it rained for the first time since we have been here.  We went to the Newport Beach Temple which is small, but very beautiful.  Inside the doorways are arches and there is a mural of the beach in the session room.  The outside fits well into the surrounding area and is reddish rather than white.  As with all temple grounds, there are beautiful flowers and trees.

Newport Beach Temple
Mary at the entrance to the Newport Beach Temple
Max at the temple grounds

     A week ago last Wednesday we went to the Getty art museum and gardens.  We must have walked miles up and down steps and got a great view of the city from an upper balcony; we could even see the spire of our LA Temple in the distance.
Max and Mary on the tram to the Getty
Mary at the gardens
One of the museum buildings from the gardens
View of the city and the ocean with the gardens in the foreground
     We continue to be well and healthy, and work most days in the Family History Center.  Sometimes we come back and help with visiting wards that need instruction in the evenings.  One Sunday we helped the members of the Jewish Genealogy Society who had come in and needed help.   Max has been asked to teach some classes and Mary is thinking of doing a class in British research.  But that will not be for awhile.

Elder and Sister Evans

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Dear family and friends,
Pool at the Getty Villa
We have had a busy two weeks. On our P-day, Monday September 16, we went to the Getty Villa. This is not the more well-known and larger Getty Center, but is at the site of J. Paul Getty's Pacific Palisades home. As it filled with his private art collection, Getty opened an adjacent gallery. Quickly running out of room, he built a second museum, the Getty Villa, on the property down the hill from the original gallery. The villa design was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum near Pompeii in Italy and incorporated additional details from several other ancient sites. It opened to the public in 1974. After the completion of the newer Getty Center, the Villa was remodeled and dedicated to the exhibiting Getty's collections of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The Villa is a wonderful work of architecture, with marble floors and walls done in the classical style, gardens, courtyards, and a wonderful ocean view. It is very peaceful and beautiful. The collections are priceless and are exhibited in ways that make the museum both educational and interesting. It has a very nice restaurant where we had lunch, and a Greek Theatre. It was a nice day.
At the Villa
Mary with the statue of Mercury

In our stake are three Spanish-speaking wards; we were invited to the Hollywood building where they had a Spanish fiesta on a Saturday night.  The food was from Ecuador, Peru and Mexico and was delicious. The entertainment included the members wearing beautiful costumes as they performed in typical Hispanic dances. The emcee spoke only in Spanish.
Mary with Peruvian dancer
Work in the FH Library continues as before. We still enjoy helping people and teaching them the basics of family history research and of the FamilySearch family tree on the Internet. That week our stake had a temple day. We did baptisms, confirmations, initiatory work, and sealings for some of the people in Mary's line that she continues to find, and attended a chapel meeting. 

We also follow the directions received in a recent zone conference to read the Book of Mormon again and mark it with colored markers. We have a study schedule indicating which chapters to read every day (about 1-4 each), and to finish before Christmas. We are to mark the passages that relate to faith in Christ, faith in his atonement, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We have kept up with the schedule so far and find that the focused approach helps to increase our understanding and testimony of the gospel. 

We left here Friday afternoon to fly to Salt Lake City for a quick weekend to attend Nicholas Gillen's funeral. It was sad, but hopeful, knowing as we do, and as Nick's family does, of the plan of salvation, certain of our faith in a life after this one, in the resurrection of the dead, and that we will all again be together again.

We went to church in our home ward on Sunday and had dinner at our house with David and Becky, Joe, Laura and Jared, Emily, and the grandchildren that could come. We flew back to LA on Monday, our last P-day. We arrived early enough to do the laundry and go to the grocery store. We started again at the library on Tuesday and learned that our P-day has changed to Wednesday. Now we can visit the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, and the Newport Beach Temple, all of which are closed Mondays.

We went to the Temple again this week and on Saturday attended a Mission zone conference at the Westwood building here next to our apartment house. It was the last of three zone conferences in our mission and the last of seven days touring three missions by Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy. Elder and Sister Richards taught the missionaries important, fundamental lessons about how to teach the gospel: keep it simple and brief. Teach President Hinckley's four essential truths: (first) faith in Jesus Christ, (second) the first vision, (third) the Book of Mormon, and (fourth) the priesthood. They left early to catch a plane back to Salt Lake City and President Weidman took over. It concluded with the vision for the stake by our stake president, then with a lesson on the "eye of faith" by Sister Weidman. It was all very well done and inspiring. We ended with lunch with the missionaries in the cultural hall. Since Max has a cold, he spent most of the rest of the day relaxing and resting. We did take a walk in the cool of the evening.  

Elder and Sister Hurley, Elder and Sister Chandler, Sister and Elder Evans, Sister and Elder Dorius

Also on Saturday, Mary went to the Visitor's Center where she could view the Women's Conference on the big screen.  It was very inspiring to hear the Relief Society leaders, the message from President Monson, and the wonderful sister missionary choir.  Today was fast Sunday in our ward, because of General Conference next week and our stake conference the following week. It is also the fifth Sunday, so we had a lesson on families from our bishopric. We have been resting the rest of the day, hoping Max will feel better tomorrow.

The ancestor we want to focus on is Edward Lisle, Mary's mother's grandfather on her father's side.  He was the developer of the Star Motor car in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England in the 1890s and 1900s.  He started out designing bicycles and tried his hand at airplanes, then settled on a touring car.  Most of his children worked in the business (He had 12 children).  
Edward Lisle
1920 Star Car
1922 Gold Medal winner

Love you all,
Elder and Sister Evans