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