By Adrienne Williams, Theodore Turley Family Organization Secretary
Those in attendance: Luana Rogers, Janet Packham, Mary Ann Clements, Carolee Pyper, Dan Rogers, Kay Lovell, Ann Turley, Sherman Feher, Carolyn Jaquith, Brent Turley, Ted Pyper, and Adrienne Williams.
Our first virtual meeting, held through Zoom, was opened by Mary Ann Clements, our Zoom host. Those in attendance introduced themselves and the meeting was turned over to Luana Rogers, TTFO President. The meeting was opened with an invocation offered by Janet Packham. The officers, effective the end of this meeting, are Janet Packham, President, Secretary, Adrienne Williams, Webmaster, Mary Ann Clements. With Luana and Carolee’s tenure ending (President – 2 years and Treasurer – 5 years) the need for new President-elect and Treasurer was introduced and election slated for the end of the meeting.
Luana outlined the 5 areas that our organization should focus on:
- Genealogy/Family Search/TTFO Website
- Connection to Ancestors
- Belonging – Family Reps (connecting to family lines) TTFO website
- Preservation of Records
- Encouragement of Family Reunions – Full Turley reunion would be too large so encourage smaller family groups to make that happen.
The minutes from the October 2019 meeting were summarized by Adrienne Williams. The April 2020 meeting had been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Carolee Pyper gave the treasurer’s report. For the year October 1, 2019 – October 9, 2020 Donations $866.24, Special Projects (the Mormon Colonies book fundraiser) $579.14, PayPal fee $19.62, Website expense $299.99. A Net Income $1,145.43. The balance in checking is $4,382.56, $0 in savings. Carolee felt that the nominal expense to PayPal is worthwhile compared to the uncertainty if members would expend the effort to write a check. Luana suggested the Webmaster should be paid due to the amount of time this position requires to accomplish the goals of the organization. Mary Ann felt that if the monetary expenses are covered then she considers her time is volunteered. One of the expenses was the Zoom account. Adrienne said she would ask about the possibility of using her husband’s account for our meetings.
Website/Membership/Genealogy – Mary Ann: We are using Mail Chimp as our email platform. Currently we have 981 email subscribers. 1/3 of emails are opened with about 5% clicking on something in the email. This is a typical ratio for non-profit organizations. We had 4 email campaigns this year. Our best performing one was the January one with the President’s message from Luana. The best months for the website views were January and July and those coincided with email campaigns. We have 10 GB of allowed space; we are currently using 1.4 GB.
Our top traffic on the website occurs on the home page and contact us. Our next biggest are the table of contents page for the Theodore Turley Biography from Rick Turley with all 47 installments being available; Crossing the Plains with the Silas Richards Company; and the response to the question “Do we have a Turley Coat of Arms?”. The Pay Pal donation button has been added. A new PDF version of the 1978 Red Book (The Theodore Turley Family Book) has been added to the website. Mary Ann got permission from Nancy Romans Turley and posted many of the chapters. Exceptions were made if there was information of living persons, then only the initial biography of the person who has been long deceased was included. The full PDF has been offered to descendants and those that requested it have been given the links to the smaller and larger size PDF. There are plans to do a Places feature. This will include maps, photos, tour outlines, etc. of things that apply to Theodore Turley’s life. She is working to get more of the biography on the website and fill out more on the timeline.
History of the Mormon Colonies Book by Clarence F. and Anna T. Turley; published in 1996: In August, Mary Ann was contacted by Doug Turley Lee, the son of Marilyn Turley Lee who was the daughter of the authors of the book. When Marilyn passed away, she had over 200 copies of the book, so the family donated them to the organization. The book was offered for $10, if you picked it up, and an additional $5 to have it shipped. It has great information and is very applicable to descendants of Isaac Turley and anyone else who has ancestors tied to the colonies.
Kay Lovell requested an email list by line so that we can “beat the bushes” a little more. This will help the family reps see who is currently connected with the organization.
Luana is grateful that we have been able to move so much of our resources and communication on-line but noted that for many of the older generation navigating the on-line world can be difficult. We need to be sure that we do what we can to facilitate their access.
Connection with Ancestors – Luana Rogers: FamilySearch’s Roots Tech Virtual Conference will be February 25 – 27, 2021. It will be free to all who want to access it, but you do need to register in advance. You can register at rootstech.org.
Preservation of Records – Luana Rogers for Rick Turley: Rick had asked to help cataloguing Turley Family records that have been donated to the Family History Library. Due to COVID-19, the project, which was scheduled to begin in April 2020, was put on hold until the Library reopens. If anyone has time (5-10 hours a week with a 1-year commitment) they are still welcome to join when it starts up. Ted Pyper would like to participate on this or any future projects if there is a way to do so virtually.
Ancestral Family Organization – Janet Packham: Luana had asked Janet to look at the Belnap family organization (BFO) to look for insights to benefit TTFO. On LDSAFA all of family organizations that have a pioneer ancestor are listed. There about 34 families right now. In looking at other family websites the opinion is that the TTFO website is superior with all the information that is available. She recommended advertising the website, for example the chapter from Theodore Turley biography on the missionaries would be beneficial for those families who have missionaries going out. Belnap family website originally had a video with music and photos that told the story of a Belnap ancestor. They used a YouTube channel. Mary Ann reported that we have a YouTube channel; the video from Clarence Franklin Turley is posted there and we can use it for any other videos. The BFO had 6 training sessions for family reps, there was no description of the training sessions, but Janet doesn’t think they helped because they are still having a hard time making a connection with family members both old and young. Other ideas: Monitoring of FamilySearch to keep the data accurate, Large scale service projects other than preparing names for the temple, Coloring book pages for children/FHE lessons (Posts from Ann Lewis or chapters from the TT biography could easily be made into FHE lessons), DNA research page (ability to email DNA matches on Ancestry.com to invite to the website). The BFO has 11,700 know descendants of Gilbert Belnap, only 112 devices connected into their virtual family reunion. The challenge is to figure out how to get connected with family.
- Ted Pyper – Engagement w/young people and expanding our reach: Build upon the idea of a children’s corner. His brother has written 2 paragraph bedtime stories of their pioneer ancestors which is an easy way to share “nuggets” of family history. With the roll out of the Children & Youth program last year, youth leaders and parents are looking for more access to easy family history. Could we have a section with small stories, YouTube videos, etc. that would be more accessible to kids/teens/young adults? Information that teenagers need for trek or talks. Kay Lovell mentioned that he has also put together a book of his ancestor’s stories back to when they joined the church that he gave to all his kids and grandkids. Ted is willing to work on this and Mary Ann requested that Ted and Kay send her what they have as she would like to post those now. She also requested that if anyone else has anything like this that they send it to her. We could then use those as a launching point for videos. Once these are ready, email the older generation and encourage them to send out texts to the next generation(s) to get them connected to the website as they tend to not use email as much. It also more personal to come from someone you know rather than from a big organization, i.e. the TTFO. These stories could also be connected through the FamilySearch Memories section. Janet recommended that we have a big kid’s picture that could be clicked on to access this type of content. Brent Turley suggested that we not make is so easy that it become superficial. We need to be sure that there is access to the detail also. Mary Ann commented that by giving them the little nuggets now thus increasing awareness of the website, as they become more interested in family history, they will know how to access the detail.
Luana suggested that for our future meetings we could do 1 in-person and 1 virtual per year. Mary Ann said there were more interested in attending this virtual meeting but there may have been some confusion about the Zoom link.
April Theodore Turley Commemoration – If the church buildings are open, we will proceed with the Steve Rockwood presentation
Officer Election – Ted Pyper was nominated for President-Elect and was unanimously approved. The requirements for Treasurer were outlined: understanding of finances and relevant tax guidelines, ability to categorize, debits/credits, and the applicable technology. Carolee said that she would be available to assist getting the new Treasurer up to speed. Luana asked Kay Lovell if he would be willing to take the Treasurer position, and it was agreed that he and Carolee would discuss the possibility.
Status of Theodore Turley Papers? Rick is catching up with all his other projects and will most likely be able to come back to the TT papers soon.
Additional Field Trips? Natalie has taken that responsibility. She has current family commitments that require her time. Possible future trips; St. Joe, the Colonies, Birmingham England, The Honeymoon trail. St. Joe, AZ would be a little easier. Ted wondered if we could do a virtual tour of the colonies or Birmingham. Brent Turley said that Marshall Turley (Clarence Turley’s son) still has properties in Colonia Juarez and took Brent and his brothers on a tour in 2000. Brent also served a mission in Birmingham and has contacts there. He will check to see if we could arrange a virtual tour in those locations in the future. Mary Ann also thinks that either of those would make great videos to add to the website. Videos could also be made of the previous field trips using photos and the historical information.
The meeting was closed with a prayer offered by Ted Pyper.