A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

Despite all the busyness of preparing for RootsTech, this morning I had a few quiet moments this morning thinking of our Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark. I wondered, what was she doing this week, so many years ago? I searched “Feb 27” on her Kindex archive, and found these diary pages from 1928:

Sunday Feb 26th

Stay home from S S with Virgil who has a bad cold. Go to church with Lucille & to Mutual. In our J class we discuss getting or “J” pin. Discuss contest numbers for M.I.A. Day & began plan for  Progressive Supper.

Monday Night Feb 27 Lucille P. and I went down to Galt Hospital to see Anna Nielson who had her appendix out last Friday. She was feeling pretty good. We took her some flowers in behalf of our Junior class.

Wed. Feb 29th – Leap year

We washed & in P.M. I went to bed as I had a little sore throat.

Thurs. Mar 1st Spring weather

March 2nd

Friday. I’m up & better. Sr. Wallburger sends us some cakes & tarts.

Nothing much: some church activities, a sore throat, a visit to a friend, and a comment on the weather. And yet, it is so much, because with every found page the knowledge of who she was becomes more complete. Getting face-to-face with her history is one the greatest gifts I can think of.

What will you discover when you index your family records? Try it out free on Kindex.org.


Solving Mysteries with Searchable Archives

Solving Mysteries with Searchable Archives

I recently accompanied my 5th-Grader on a field trip to the Utah State Capitol and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) Museum. As we passed the capitol on the west side, we our school bus drove by the Capitol Hill Ward where my grandparents first met in 1932. At the DUP Museum next door, we had a scavenger hunt with the students. As we were checking items off our list, I walked past these photos.



They were part of a larger exhibit on pioneer Charles C. Rich and his family.  I was immediately struck by the similarity between the lettering on the photo captions and our grandmother’s lettering. Could it be hers? I asked docents at the DUP if anything could be learned about the donor and date of donation, but unfortunately, there was no additional information.

But what evidence could I discover within our own family archive on Kindex? Even though the archive is only partially transcribed, I was certain I could find some clues. A quick search of “DUP” and “lettering” gave me answers in seconds. Let’s look at the connections.

Connection 1: Employment and Skill

Dorothy Smith did odd jobs hand-lettering for various local businesses. A quick search for “lettering” in her Kindex archive confirms this, revealing a list of lettering jobs she did in the early 1930’s.


Hobbies  Dot  JOBS Employment

3 Feb ’32 Clerked at “Everybody’s Store’ sale today (1.50) (script)

13 June ’32 – got show card order – Fred Bich[…]

Also job to tint 22 charts for NDA.

Jan 16 / 34 Kress Store clerk & Decorator 14.00 wk

Mar or Apr 33 thru Aug 34 Lettering signs after May 1/34 earn 17. – 20. wk

6 Dec 33 Hand-lettered some charts for Pres. B B Stringham

3 Feb

14-19 Dec 1931 – 7.65 earned from Christmas and orders from friends or kin.

Also 5.00 making 16 show cards for Realsilk Co. thru Chas. Jarman.

1.50 for business cards.

Connection 2: Physical Proximity and Record of Visit

In the same record as above, under the heading of “Church Work”, she mentions a visit the DUP Museum which was situated near her home.

going Wed DUP


Connection 3: Handwriting Comparison

In her archive are many examples of lettering she did for various family history projects.  This connection compares Charles Rich photo captions with examples of Dorothy’s own lettering in her Book of Remembrance, also found in her Kindex archive.





Connection 4: Family Connection

A final connection is a family one. My own 2nd Great Grandfather, Charles Rich Clark, was acquainted with Charles C. Rich family, as they both had families in the same towns in Southern Idaho.


While Dorothy has some variance in her lettering style with the use of script and various embellishments, there is a strong similarity between the writing in the Charles C. Rich photos and the writing from her own Book of Remembrance. I see a strong resemblance especially in the numbering. Below is a selection of Dorothy’s writing pasted on to the Charles C. Rich photo image.

While there is not direct evidence to support that she indeed did the lettering, there is strong circumstantial evidence that she did. What do you think?


Dorothy’s lettering in center.

It’s fantastic that this type of research takes just a few minutes when you have a searchable arhchive. With our built-in indexing tools, your family records can be searched in seconds, making solving mysteries like this fast and easy. Haven’t tried Kindex yet? Head on over to kindex.org and start your free archive.

Treasure Hunting at Home: a Visit to the Alamo

Treasure Hunting at Home: a Visit to the Alamo

A few days ago, we visited The Alamo. No, not that one. The historic home of Ezra T. and Mary Stevenson Clark in Farmington, Utah, with its architectural stylings reflective of the Alamo, was the childhood home of Kindex founder Kimball Clark. On a mission to rescue records for a treasure hunt for the upcoming MyFamily History Youth Camp at BYU, we thought of no better place to start than in our own backyard.



Welcome to the Alamo.

I had a few minutes waiting for Kimball to arrive, so I poked around outside, walking deep into the expansive property. Situated on historic “Clark Lane” in Farmington, Utah, the property stretches north reaching the Farmington Creek Trail and Lagoon Park. So close is Lagoon that I could hear clack of amusement rides and the screams of thrill-seekers just a stone’s throw away.


Kimball’s father Charles Clark collected, among other things, wagon wheels.


And other kinds of wheels.


The random patterns of native field stones.


A marker for the old telephone system cables. It has not been disturbed.


At last, Kimball is here! Now, where’s that key.

Once inside, we had a great time exploring the home. I remember coming to this home once in a while to visit Charles and Sally’s family, but it had been at least 20 years. Wandering from room to room in the heavy July heat, we discovered some great things. Buried between craft boxes, tools, and boxes of old bills were family genealogies, old photos, letters, and a few other surprises.


A few items from a dusty old suitcase.

This 161-year old home is thick with memory. Treasure hunting aside, I loved looking around the various rooms and hearing Kimball’s memories of growing up here. With eight brothers and one sister, Kimball has no shortage of stories from this house.


A view in the kitchen.


A well-worn banister post cap.

Someday soon, Kimball will share some memories of him growing up in that historic pioneer home. That’s his story to tell. In the mean time, we’ll keep hunting for treasures and putting them on Kindex, one dusty suitcase at a time.

“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”

“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”

“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”
-Hyrum Smith, in a letter to June Bushman

People don’t talk this way anymore, much less write. The excerpts shared below are taken from letters written between June Augusta Bushman and Hyrum Smith during their period of engagement from 1906 to 1908.  Their tenderness and devotion with one another is an inspiration to read, and has deepened my gratitude for ancestors with such gifts and sensitivity.

Soon, the entire collection of letters will be added and transcribed on their Kindex family archive. In the mean time, here are some words to inspire us.


Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct 7 1906
My Dear June,

This is one of those beautiful Sabbath days that you read about in story books. The trees have a more stately appearance; the breeze sighs gently; the sun’s rays are soft and radiant; the clouds linger near the horizon so they will not disturb the spotless blue above; and the very air partakes of the peaceful influence of this Holy Day.

Snowflake, Ariz. Oct 31, 1906
Dear Hyrum,

For two long months I have been looking, anxiously for the promise you gave me the evening I saw you last. (Forgotten you say? Well I haven’t, and if the image doesn’t arrive soon I am going to take a peep at the original, (if the train that goes to Phoenix will stop long enough at the right place.) … Ah Sweet heart, you know full well why times seem dull to me for the first time in my life. I am happy and have always been, yet there is so much gone (that I never missed before I possessed) that seems essential for my complete happiness.

St. Joseph, Ariz., Jan., 1907
Hyrum my Beloved,

Do not say I’m answering rather early, even if your letter did come yesterday. The dearest letter I ever received, it was, and I could hardly keep from answering while I felt that you were near and I could talk instead of write to you. Your letters contain something that I cannot describe, perhaps if you could see me just after reading one you could better tell. They are essential to this little girl as long as your presence is lacking. Yes, I have everything to be thankful for. My Parents are so good to me and such a support. Home seems dearer every day and I am happy. How could I be otherwise with your love and all else that comes to me. Our climate has been almost the reverse from yours. We have had sunny spring weather and the birds are splitting their voices telling us how happy they are.

Flagstaff, Ariz., March 24, 1907
My Dear June,

Do you know how much easier it is to work, to do each day the duty that lies before you, when some one else offers encouragement and is interested in your success or failure? I imagine that I do. From the depths of my heart I appreciate your confidence and trust. Altho I fall far short of being what you say that I am, your unwavering trust is a great incentive to strive to be a worth and fit subject of such love as yours. Your letter was especially good. What do you suppose would happen to me if you should suddenly cease writing? Well, let’s not try just to find out.

Indianapolis, Ind., July 19, 1907
True Heart of Mine,

Ah, Love, you cannot know the joy your words of love brot to this little girl who is so far from you (and yet so near). I cannot believe there is such a distance between us when I feel your presence near me. Your good wishes for me are greatly appreciated, and I know I should be a happy girl, and truly I am and hope to prove worthy of all.

Richmond, Inde., Aug. 4, 1907
My Beloved

This earth is a beautiful garden, with golden sunshine and pearly dew. Then why should we not, as human plants, rise up in strength of our youth and glorify God for his tender mercies, for boundless love? I feel that it is good to live. To know the One who have his life that we might live. Can we appreciate such sacrifice? Do we realize the extent of his love for us? Truly I am guarded every hour, and the blessing of confidence and love is mine.

A sweet sense of peace is mine from the knowledge of your faithfulness. This charming, charming Sabbath day, wish you could feel the serene stillness. Maud and I went to the United Presbyterian Church this morning.

Greenville, Ohio, Aug. 19, 1907
My Own True Heart,

… Well dearest, I rattle away here as if I never intended to stop and I don’t know as my wanderings will interest you at all, but I have to tell you anyhow it seems because you know I am not satisfied to have all the pleasure by my lonesome. I find myself invariable wishing some One were here to make enjoyment doubly sweet.

It is quite impossible to collect my thots for real thinking when I am in so many strange places and seeing so many strange faces, but know this, my beloved, that some one things of someone all the live long day. With undying faith in my over, I remain your devoted June

Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct. 27, 1907
My Dear June:

On this beautiful Sabbath morning I would certainly be out of harmony with the day if I were anything but happy. The quiet dignity of the pines and the mountains with their majestic calmness bespeak the handiwork of the Creator. The mountains are especially beautiful. Their tops are freshly capped with snow, which makes them stand out in bold relief against a deep blue sky.

Your letters always bring good cheer. I envy you your ability as a correspondent. A person who sees and appreciates beauty in everything, unconsciously puts that spirit into everything they do. That is the great difference between us two, you always see the bright side of things while I am inclined to see only the opposite.

Flagstaff, Ariz., Nov. 24, 1907
My Dear June:

This beautiful Sabbath morning fills my mind with thots of love and home. Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved? Of course you do, but it isn’t that often that I take time to enjoy it.

It is hard to realize all of the confidence and trust that is reposed in my by my sweetheart, my mother, brothers, sisters and friends. The realization makes me feel my unworthiness, but on the other hand is an incentive to greater effort. My progress is very slow yet I believe with J.G. Holland that “Heaven is not reached at a single bound, but we build the ladder by which we rise from the lowly earth to the vaulted skies, and we mount to the summit round by round.” Hope you will not work too hard, but take all the pleasure you can get. I know you must have enjoyed that trip with the Salt Lake people. I trust that you will have a pleasant time Thanksgiving Day. I would enjoy being at home with the folks to join with them in their first Thanksgiving Day in the new house but if school work is my business I must attend to it. I can tell how many days it will be until the Christmas vacation but will not trouble you with it now.

Write soon to your Patient Plodder

Letters copied from the June Bushman and Hyrum Smith Family History compiled by Virgil Smith and June Adele Smith Harker.

Photo courtesy of David Clark.

Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

If a photo is a window into a family’s life, then a letter is the door. This 1904 portrait of the Emma Woolley and Charles Rich Clark family is beautiful, but offers few clues about the challenges, personalities and relationships between these family members.


Today, we transcribed a letter written by Emma Woolley to her husband Charles Rich Clark while he was away serving a church mission in 1892.  In this letter we learn that Emma had a migraine, and that the oldest child, Marion, was the serious one who concerned himself with his mother’s help and offered a little prayer on her behalf. We learn that Vernon, the next oldest, was the silly one and said funny things that made his mother and neighbors laugh. We learned how devoted Emma is as a wife, managing the family accounts, nurturing sick children, doing laundry,  and settling debts. She closes the letter saying,

“I guess this is not what would be called a love letter but it is written in love all the same, and I am proud of the man I love, and hope to keep ever fresh and alive that affection that exists between us”

To read the full transcription, go to the Ezra T. Clark Family Archive.

Make insights like this possible with your own family records and start your own family archive.


Stealing Peonies

Stealing Peonies

To Annie Virginia Chamberlain

My grandma’s home in Poplar Grove (a neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah) was an oasis of certainty in an uncertain place. Her double lot on the corner of Navajo and Wasatch had been in the family for two generations, but it was just hers now. Inside, it was an evolving patchwork of hand-hewn cabinets and pink homewallpaper. Outside, a bright stamp of green and pink in a neighborhood of thumping cars and chain link fences. Years of raising chickens made the roses flush with color and grass so thick that mowing was an aching chore that stole the Saturdays of our fathers and brothers. On one corner there was a pine so tall we could play under its boughs standing up. On the other, a patio surrounded by roses, a clothesline, and large patch of pink peonies. (more…)