“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…

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

If a photo is a window into a family’s life, then a letter must be the door whereby you enter. 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…

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…

Find What is Lost: Introducing found.kindex.org

A few weeks ago I was browsing in an antique shop when a stack of old photos caught my eye. As I examined these portraits and family poses one by one, I discovered names written on the back:  David A. Page. Teddy O. Keefer. Ester Olson. How did they get lost? As a self-proclaimed hoarder of my own…

“Male-Help-Only”: Breaking the Glass Ceiling in 1929

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we are sharing the stories of women who are examples of strength and courage.  It was December 1929, just a few weeks after the stock market crash, and many families were feeling the pinch. As a teenager growing up in the 1920’s Dorothy Smith developed an interest in art, and enjoyed…

A Gold Star Mother’s Letter: “I am not converted to wars”

Lehi Larson Smith1, son of Emma Larson and Jesse N. Smith, died in the Argonne Forest in France on October 28, 1918, while fighting as a soldier in World War I. His mother Emma later said that she knew she had lost her son from the moment it happened, and that there was no surprise when…

Banana Bread: A Recipe for Healing

Of all the cakes I could perfect, of all the pies I could master, of all cookies I could dream up, the highest honor I could achieve would be to perfect the baking—and spirit— of my mother’s banana bread.

Planting Pansies: A Remembrance

A remembrance of seaside days, gathering cockles in the shallow marshes of Bosham harbor. A remembrance of Ellen and the love of his youth. A remembrance of home and the flowers that bloomed there.

What’s in Your Closet?

I can’t remember what I was looking for, but something on the top shelf caught my eye. It was a red and black Nike shoebox, with “letters” written in black marker on the outside. “These are mother’s,” my mom said. “I got them after she died.” I opened the box, and we sat on the bed, opening letters. Unfolding their delicate pages, I was mesmerized by the handwriting, the words, and the photos that sometimes fell out as we opened them. These were my grandparent’s love letters. I couldn’t put them down.

Chasing Butterflies: When Clues Lead to Stories

Sometimes searching for stories in our family records is like chasing butterflies: we never know where the path will lead us, and catching them is elusive. With Kindex, our goal is to make that path easier through the ability to search and share family records.

Ellsworth to Dorothy, 1 August 1932

Oh Dot, I think of you in all my work. You just seem to pop up wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. Even though I’m busy and not able to write quite so often as I did I think of us often and with more real appreciation. At first it was sort of a devoid feeling I felt mostly because of my many evenings and days with you. It was a direct change in my way of living. Now I’m somewhat over that. I still am lonely but I’m realizing what it means to be a pal to you and be in your company. A deeper appreciation I believe. It’s surely the foundation for a very close friendship. I realize now that it is not a common infatuation or a short romance. If it were ever that it has changed into something which I want to keep and what means everything to me.