Sunday, July 19, 2015
This coming week is the 24th of July, a statewide holiday in Utah. In my youth, the 24th of July was a really big event. The small community where I spent my summers had a parade, a Camporama, a rodeo, dramatic productions and many other activities. In fact, the events planned for 2015 include a volleyball tournament, a basketball tournament, a chile bean and cornbread dinner, an ice cream social, a youth dance, a junior rodeo, a campfire circle (Camporama), a family dance, a fun run, a parade, a rodeo, an indoor soccer tournament, a steak dinner and finally, a family dance. All of that in one week to celebrate the 24th of July. Where I am living now, in Provo, Utah there will also be a significant amount of celebrating, including a family reunion I will attend. In Utah, these celebrations are called the "Days of 47" and the events begin in April!
Why the 24th of July? This is the traditional date that the original pioneer company, led by Brigham Young, entered the Salt Lake Valley. There is, of course, some considerable amount of qualification and discussion about the actual date when the pioneers arrived. Some members of the company entered the Salt Lake Valley a few days before the body of the pioneers, including Brigham Young, arrived. See Brigham Young Pioneer Company (1847). Some of my relatives were in the original company, although my direct ancestors came in subsequent companies. If I believe the Relative Finder program, I have 12,845 ancestors (relatives) who were pioneers, including Brigham Young himself.
The image above is from the FamilySearch.org/Pioneers web page. It is supposed to list the pioneers that it finds in your segment of the Family Tree. It does a pretty good job except that it seems to ignore many of the children and women who came across the plains. My complete list would be many, many times longer than this. For example, my Great-great-great-grandfather, George Jarvis came across the plains from Boston in 1860. At that time, he was accompanied by his wife, Ann Prior Jarvis, and seven of his eleven children. The FamilySearch.org list is a good place to start, but not to end in reconstructing your family heritage.
For additional information, look at the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel website. I will be adding more pioneer websites and resources all week in celebration of the 24th of July.