In Utah, the 24th of July is a state holiday. Elsewhere, depending on the number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their awareness of their pioneer heritage, the 24th of July is just another hot summer day or a holiday. As I was growing up, the 24th of July was the biggest holiday of the year. We had pancake breakfasts, parades, dramatic events, rodeos, dances, parties, reunions and the huge pioneer Camporama circle where we would all go out into the desert and cook our dinner over a fire. Let's just say that the 24th was a big deal.
OK, if you still don't get it by this time, you need to bone up on your Church history. The 24th of July is the traditional date the Brigham Young Party of pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley. Well, we all know that some pioneers got their earlier and a hundreds of thousands got there later, but the day we celebrate is the 24th of July.
Actually, the 24th of July was a genealogical bonanza. It was a time when I got to meet all those relatives I didn't know. Since most of my ancestors lived in the same small Mormon community at one time or another, going back for the 24th Celebration was like a course in family history. I must admit that I was too young to fully appreciate the opportunity but I did get a sense of the involvement of my family in settling western part of the United States. Much of what I know and how I feel about the pioneers originated in those 24th of July Celebrations.
Now, we can't pass up this 24th without thinking about the pioneers. FamilySearch.org has sent out an very interesting email inviting some of us to look up our pioneer ancestors. Pioneers are defined as those who crossed the plains before the advent of the railroad. The specific definition of a Utah Pioneer is one who came to the Valley, was born here, or one who died on the way before May 10, 1869. Here is a screenshot of the invitation:
The information gathered is based on the entries in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree program. The link to the Web page is here. Here is an example of results showing my own "pioneer ancestors."\
Perhaps, from this list, you can begin to understand my interest and obsession with genealogy. Remember you can click on any image to enlarge it.