2019 Theodore Turley Family Organization Temple and Family History Day
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2019
Place: Family History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Speakers: David Roche Turley II and Richard Eyring Turley, Jr.
Conducting: Luana Rogers, President of the Theodore Turley Family Organization
Additional notes: Not all images were captured on camera at the time of the presentation. Appropriate substitutions have been provided when available. Transcription by Mary Ann Clements.
[00:00:02] – Luana Rogers
We’re just so pleased to have all of you here. This is just a sweet experience to be together and especially to have Rick and David with us. We are very blessed to have them. The very best part of it is that we’re their cousins. They’re our cousins. We’re their cousins. Let’s go ahead and have a prayer and then we’ll introduce Rick and David. Arnold, would you do that for us?
[00:00:40] – Arnold Wagner
You all right if I stand here?
[00:00:42] – Luana Rogers
Uh huh. And this is, this is my first cousin from Edward and Clara Ann Tolton.
[00:00:51] – Arnold Wagner
Our dear Father in Heaven, we’re grateful to be here this day, to be with descendants of Theodore Turley. We’re grateful for our cousins Rick and David, and for their efforts, and for Luana. We pray thy blessing upon them and their families. Bless us with thy Spirit this day that we might hear and understand. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
[00:01:17] – Audience
[00:01:19] – Luana Rogers
Thank-you so much. A fun story is that my father and his mother, they’re next to each other, the youngest and the next youngest. There’s some fun stories about that. And you know, even though Arnold and I don’t see each other very often, there’s that sweet feeling inside that we belong to each other. And that, Rick and I have talked on occasion, belonging is really an important part of being a family. When you can feel like you belong, then it really makes a difference.
All right. Rick is an amazing man. We’re glad that we’re related to him. He’s done some wonderful things in his life, and probably the very best is he married a wonderful woman and has six children. And they love each other. And I think that that is such a blessing in the world that we live in is that families can love and be together and love each other. But Rick has been the Assistant Church Historian, and right now he is the Manager, let me make sure I say this right, the Managing Director of Public Affairs, right? I put that right?
[00:02:49] – Rick Turley
There’s been an update this week, but I’ll talk about that. [Laughter]
[00:02:53] – Luana Rogers
Okay. Plus he’s written numerous book. Victims1 is one of the more well known, and it’s still being, it’s not out of print, right?
[00:03:04] – Rick Turley
It’s just been republished.
[00:03:05] – Luana Rogers
It’s just been republished. And the Massacre at Mountain Meadows.2 So those are probably the two most familiar books that he has written, but he’s written others. And he spends every night writing, true? He comes home from work, goes upstairs, and writes. So, anyway. And one of the great things about Rick is that he was the visionary behind FamilySearch, and all of us really enjoy that. And then a very close, not a relative but a friend, who knows Ann Turley over there is Steve Rockwood and he is now the, I don’t know, what’s his title?
[00:03:54] – Rick Turley
[00:03:55] – Luana Rogers
He’s Managing Director of FamilySearch. So, that’s very cool. And when I told Steve that Rick was my cousin, boy, I came way up [Laughter] in respect and love. That was good. Plus, Rick was the visionary behind Saints, and so I think he’ll talk a bit about that this morning, too. Just some fascinating, wonderful things that he has done.
All right, his nephew is David Turley, and David has been a wonderful assistant, associate. How did– Rick can just kind of tell you what to do and you just do it, isn’t that right, David?
[00:04:43] – David Turley
[00:04:44] – Luana Rogers
Pretty much so. He’s really good and I appreciate his expertise, and he will– You know, before we go into that, let’s—Everyone who is Isaac and Sarah Greenwood’s family stand up. Okay. All right. Everyone from Isaac and Clara Ann’s family, stand up. Okay. And then we’ve got Ann Lewis. Where’d you go, Ann? There you are. And Charlotte Bushman, stand up, Ann. If Dr. Fowles were here, he would stand up with her. He’s a cardiologist in town that we have just, that I’ve just discovered because of Janet. And, so it’s—There are more relatives around than you really realize.
Okay. We will begin with David. He will give us a part of the presentation that he did in San Bernardino, and then Rick will speak to us. And then we’ll have a question and answer after that. Okay, David you’re on. And this is– we have– without Mary Ann, we would not have this organization. [Applause] She has set up, and Ted Pyper is in Colorado, and he set up the Skype so that those who would like, who are not in the Salt Lake area, who would like to be with us this morning can do that. So, this is the Skype connection here. So, point yourself to that, okay?
[00:06:52] – David Turley
Okay. Can everyone hear me? Awesome. So here we’ve got Theodore Turley. Everyone recognizes that picture by now, I’m sure. And just something I always like to point out as I look at this picture is this heart-shaped locket that he’s wearing. I thought that was quite interesting. And then you come down here and you look at his hands, and he’s got really big hands. My dad has very similar hands from working. It’s just fun you get to see him as a person, see his personality a little bit, and you get to see the man. I love his hair, too. I’ve always thought that was fun. [Laughter] So, I kind of wanted to– I didn’t know how to approach this, so I did part travelogue to show the trip and then part informational, so you’ll get to see a little bit of both.
(Photo of Mormon Pioneers Heading to California)
First off, let’s see if we can get– There we go. So, this is a photograph that is labeled, “Mormon Pioneers Heading to California.” I’m pretty sure that it’s not Theodore and his group, it’s a little bit later, but you can kind of get an idea of the types of groups that they had, maybe the travel style, the camaraderie of your traveling through the wilderness. And these people that are traveling with you are your companions, they’re your protection, and they could also be a thorn in your side. And so, I thought was a very interesting picture of some Saints traveling down to California.
And the first part– I don’t know if any of you have read The Life and Travels of Parley P. Pratt. It’s very readily available. And what does it have to do with Theodore Turley? So Chapter 47 of his book, which is a fascinating read anyway, he talks about traveling to go down to California for a mission. And as he’s down there in Provo, he waits 10 days. And he meets up with Amasa Lyman’s group, which was the group that Theodore Turley was with, and then he talks about his travels down to California. A day-to-day kind of week-to-week type thing. We’re not going to go through all of that, but Chapter 47 of that book you can kind of get an idea of what Theodore would have been going through. He might have not been in the same group the same time the whole way down, but the travels would be the exact same. The same route, the same everything. And they break off with them at one point, and then that’s where we get our San Bernardino part.
So the reason they went down to San Bernardino was Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich were asked to go down there and settle. Both of them being apostles, they went down as being the leading figures. And Theodore Turley, being the father-in-law of Amasa Lyman, ended up in their group. Whether he was invited or not I don’t know, but he was in that group with his family. And so they were heading down there to start up a settlement. And so the State of Deseret, as designed and figured out by Brigham Young, was gigantic. It went all the way down to the Los Angeles/San Diego area, not exactly that area but down that far, and all the way up into Idaho. And this is a huge State of Deseret, and one of the settlements was San Bernardino.
So on the trip we met up with Marilyn Mills. (I just want to make sure I got that right.) This is her right here showing us one of the first stops we went to. At this location, it’s really interesting, this is where they come down the “hogsback.” I don’t know if any of you have heard that story. It was very steep, and they had to lock up the wheels and ride it down. They just skid down the hill. So she kind of explained a little bit and then she showed us the “hogsback” itself. So we’re going to pull it up here.
And I’ll just use the mouse. Can everyone see the mouse up here? So what they did is they went along this ridge right over here. And then they came down this right here, just right down the front of it. She’s been up there with Leo Lyman, and they said there’s an area where you can actually still see some ruts up on that ridge line. Cause it was the trail that everyone was taking, but that would have been the place where he came down the “hogsback.”
[00:11:01] – Dan Rogers
About where’s the location, David?
[00:11:03] – David Turley
So this is up the Cajon Pass. They have a monument up there. I don’t have the picture of the monument here, but it’s a big wagon wheel. And if you, the way that it’s turned, if you look straight down it, it aims right at the “hogsback.” So that’s the way they’ve decided to memorialize that place. And for those who went there, I thought it was pretty interesting to see just the landscape.
[00:11:23] – Audience Member
Which side of Cajon?
[00:11:26] – David Turley
So, if you’re driving up the canyon, it’s going to be on the east side. Yeah. Or on your right if you’re driving up the canyon.
[00:11:33] – Rick Turley
And you might, you might ask why were they going along the ridge line? Why didn’t they go through the valley or along the edge? The answer is, when you’re in a wagon, they tip very, very easily. So you have to stay on a very flat surface, so ridge lines are flat. If you get off to the left or right of the ridge line, you’re going to tip over. If you down to the valley, it’s going to be full of rocks or willows. So, it seems counterintuitive to us today, but it made perfect sense to them at the time.
[00:11:58] – David Turley
Thank you. Everyone heard that? Awesome. Appreciate it. So, looking at some of the Joshua trees as we were driving up the canyon, I did a little bit of history into it and they said some of them are several hundred years old. Some of them are even older. So they would have been there when Theodore and his family were coming down through the Cajon Pass. So if you ever go down there, look at the Joshua trees and they are there as a witness to our party that came through, which I thought was pretty interesting.
[00:12:27] – Natalie Tanner
Dave, do we know exactly who was with Theodore of his family? Like, what did his family consist of that he brought to San Bernardino?
[00:12:37] – David Turley
So we have some idea based upon, you know, other records who is down there. I don’t have that information on me so I wouldn’t be able to say exactly. But he did have family with him.
[00:12:47] – Ann Lewis
Charlotte was there.
[00:12:48] – David Turley
Charlotte was there. And we do know his daughter, Mary Ann, was there because she remembers some parts. A lot of it’s pulling together from people’s memories and things. I don’t think we have an official record, at least I haven’t seen it, of the Lyman company.
[00:13:03] – Rick Turley
Basically if you take the family that left Nauvoo with him. Drop off those who died in the greater Winter Quarters area (they weren’t all in Winter Quarters, some died in–his first wife died in Cutler’s Park, for example), drop off that number. Get ‘em into Salt Lake City, they have another wife who dies there. So he’s dropping family members all along the way. Then, most of the residue are following him out to California, which is where they expected to spend the rest of their lives.
[00:13:32] – David Turley
We do know Isaac was also there. So we have Isaac and Charlotte the big names for this particular group that’s here. Very fascinating, this is where they would have been. So the next part we’re going to talk about is the fort which was a big part of the life–
[00:13:48] – Mary Ann Clements
David, actually, Theodore’s daughter Mary Ann got married in the Sycamore Grove…
[00:13:54] – David Turley
[00:13:55] – Mary Ann Clements
On that way down. So Mary Ann got married to John Cook.
[00:13:59] – David Turley
Yep. I’ve actually got the news– We have a whole bunch more that we could say, specifically. I mean, we have babies being born, and I think it was Mary Ann said she remembers going through the sunflowers and the reeds down in the area, and she opens up and then she sees the first baby being born. I mean, you have a lot of these stories and we have a lot of this information. We’re going to compile it eventually to where everyone will have it. But for the sake of today we’re just going to condense everything down, but you will have all this information in a readily available format. It just takes a lot of time with all the other projects and things that we’re doing. But, that is definitely true. She was– There was two people, two groups that were married there, two couples down in the Sycamore Grove. So, very, very fascinating as you get going through this.
So we have the fort, we’ll pull that up here. This is Fort San Bernardino. And, the reason they built this fort, there was an uprising. And I’m probably going to mess up the name, it’s Cahuilla Indians down there. They had an uprising, had really nothing to do with the Saints, but it stirred up a lot of anxiety between the people that were coming in and the local natives. So, they built this gigantic fort, and it’s really not that big when you look at it. As you look, you’ve got these blocks are about the same size as our blocks here in Salt Lake City. And that’s where everybody lived who was in the group. So, each one of these little squares with the number represents the space that a family or a group would get to stay in. So, you imagine that’s what you get to live in, and how close you are to your neighbors.
Within the fort you have– Up here you have the meeting house and the schoolhouse. You have the wagon house and blacksmith’s office. You have where they went down to get their water, the tithing and store office, and then the colony office. Then you have a small ditch from Lytle Creek. They brought it in to the fort. That’s where they, you know, it’s very similar in ways to Temple Square where they had City Creek running through Temple Square, or down at Cove Fort where they have their little creek running through the middle of the fort. It’s very fascinating when you look at all of them how similar they are, but imagine living with all those people that close to each other on the same city block. You really have to have trust in your neighbor and have faith. And, you know, have a bit of common sense not to aggravate people. So, it’s very, very interesting.
The next thing that we got here is gonna show you the property where Theodore Turley owned, and we have the land records up here. We’ll have them available. But you’ll see how close it was to the fort. So it’s kind of hard to see up on this screen but right here is the fort, and this is Theodore’s property marked with the X. So one of the fun things that we did when we were down in San Bernardino is we actually went onto the property. And Marilyn had, I believe it was Marilyn, had some dolls that they made which were a lot of fun.
But I just wanted to point out across the street up here is some ball diamonds. So, what’s significant about these ball diamonds is that’s the old pioneer cemetery. They’re buried, as Leo Lyman says, under one of the outfields. When they were doing the ball diamond they actually found stuff, and so they had to be a little more careful as they were going through, but that’s where the cemetery is. They did remove some of the material that they had dug up, and they have– I don’t honestly know what they did with it, but they left generally left it on them. So there is actually a cemetery out in the outfield.3 [Laughter] Well that was just across the way from where Theodore owned his home. So this property right here was the property that Theodore’s home was on, his living space. And I should say living space in town. And then this piece of property is one that he had children on (is basically from what I can tell). And, again, we’ll have this available to everybody.
But I thought it was interesting how close he was to the fort. They used the area where the fort is for a while after, cause it had the pre-existing buildings, until they had a Council House and things. And so a lot of the meetings that they would have had would have been right there. And if you go down there, the San Bernardino County Family Court is right there, and you can actually– When my wife and I, this is kind of funny. We were on our honeymoon down in California, and on the way home I had a wild hair to go down and look where the fort was. And you can actually go down there and in the, like the sidewalk area where they’ve dug up there’s pieces of adobe in some of the areas. And so, I picked up a couple of little pieces that are just in between the street and that, and I put them in a McDonald’s cup that we had, and she was carrying a McDonald’s cup around San Bernardino on our honeymoon. [Laughter] But she’s a sweetheart for letting me do that. But it’s a really fun place down there.
I didn’t have the picture up there, but this is the Council House [holds up printed image] that they eventually were able to build down there. And a lot of the things that we are going to talk about happened in the Council House and they happened in the Bowery, just like they had on Temple Square. They built the Bowery and they had their meetings under it. So going down there they have similar weather to us in many ways. They have a snowy season, and they have a hot season. And so with the snowy season the Council House was a great place to try and stay warm. During the summer when they don’t have air conditioning, the Bowery was great because you get some, some wind, open air, and some cover.
So, I’m gonna just pull out—So we have an official journal for the Saints that are down in San Bernardino that’s available via the Church History Library. And you can go to it, you can search through it. One thing you’ll learn, as Leo Lyman loves to say, Theodore Turley being the leading high priest. So we have the apostles who were over everyone, but he was in charge of the high priests down there. He spoke a lot. And I thought, “Oh that’s nice of you to say.” And you start going through this journal, and it says Theodore spoke.
And it’s interesting, and I just noticed it this last time and maybe we need to research it more, they don’t distinguish between Elder and Father Turley. They go back and forth. I think they’re talking about Theodore both times. But even in the same sentence, they’ll say Father Turley spoke and then Elder Turley said the closing prayer. And so, it’s something maybe a little more research would help to do, but either way, Theodore was a big figure in this community and he spoke a lot.
One of my favorite ones, and we have that record which will be available, says he got up and he spoke about the Word of Wisdom. And he gave a talk about it and, I believe it was eight, but a group of men there then made a covenant with God that they would obey the Word of Wisdom. One of my favorite things about doing this is you get to see some of his words in summary. You get to see his testimony. And I think that’s great. You get to see the man, get a little bit more information. He definitely spoke a lot, though. And as you go through there you can catch little bits and glimpses of what he’s talking about. So we have a ton of that. That specific event where he’s speaking on the Word of Wisdom actually comes from the diary of Henry Greene Boyle which is available online. It’ll be available to everyone the parts that we have. And what they were doing is they were going down to Los Angeles on a mission to try and raise funds and gather converts to help pay for the property that they purchased up here. And we’ll get to the property in a little bit because it goes along the lines of another event that happened, but they went into a significant amount of debt to gather this property. When I thought of the property you know I think of square blocks because that’s me being raised here. This piece of property is all elongated, narrow, kind of gerrymandered a little bit. So, they were seeking to do that.
(Pic of Amasa Lyman’s letter)
And I’m going to just bring up here, my friend and– I’m a, I like to collect things old books, things like that. I have a friend who I share a lot of the stuff that I find with, and he shared this with me actually last week. This is a letter from Amasa Lyman written in San Francisco in 1854. So we’ll just kind of scroll down here, there’s a transcript. There’s nothing about Theodore in this particular part, but he purchased this on eBay, for like 60 bucks. And you have this original letter from Amasa Lyman right here, signed down here at the bottom. And what’s important about this letter is he’s up in San Francisco trying to work with the bank to pay off the debts.
And the other fun thing is the Church History Library has Brigham Young’s collection, and there’s a letter written on the exact same day by Amasa Lyman on the exact same paper as that other letter. Don’t know if it’s before or after but it was written on the same day from San Francisco, and he’s talking about how most of their hay got ruined. And he talks a little bit about San Bernardino in that.
So the reason I bring up this letter from my friend is it was on eBay, and we have all these family members all over the world, literally, who have items of interest to our family. So if you know of anyone who has items like letters and things, let’s at least get a digital copy before they do anything with them. And, you know, it’s their prerogative to sell or do whatever they want, but if we could just get a copy. If you have anything, let’s get together and just get copies of things so that we can preserve that history because I don’t want to see our stuff on eBay. Or, I’d love to see it if it was cheap, I guess. [Laughter]
So we’re going to go back to this here. This is a picture of Theodore’s car. No. [Laughter] This is a picture from Theodore Turley’s property looking over towards the cemetery. So it’s currently a big county building. And you can go into the parking lot, and you can stand on Theodore Turley’s property. And it’s actually raised up on a hill, and I don’t know if that hill was initially there or if it’s from the development of the building, but we’re standing there on the property.
And there’s a–
(Photo of women with dolls)
This is the activity where we–, the men stood aside while the women made the dolls. But these are all dolls that were made by descendants of Theodore Turley on his property which is kind of fun. So we had a good time.
So here we’re going to talk a little bit about the purchase of the property. So where we’re located at right here is the city library. And why is it important? We have– I don’t know if I can find it quickly. I’ll just paraphrase. On this property they had a dedication, and it says that they prepared that land for a temple. And it was right there at the city library. So this is the temple plot according to Marilyn Mills, and then the document here explains that. And when the city found out about that they’re like, “Oh, we don’t want to lose our library.” You know, and they said, “Don’t worry about it. We’re not going to take your library away.” But they dedicated that land for a temple plot.
Now it’s interesting that not too long later, when the Church built the Redlands California temple, they built it on–and they had a local surveyor make this map–they built it on the property that the Saints had purchased down there in San Bernardino. So you’ve got the Redlands California Temple right here, barely inside the– Like I said it’s a really elongated property. And then you have up here the Mormon Fort, and it’s not too far from where they dedicated the property. So, were they dedicating that spot? Maybe. But on their property where they had done that there is a temple mount, and I think that’s pretty, pretty amazing.
So, next, my wife and I on our way down. We went four-wheeling in my Altima, which was not [Laughter], not very comfortable. We went over to the Mormon Diggings. Now if I had a four-wheel drive vehicle, we would’ve gone right to them. But you have to cross railroad tracks and go through sand, I mean it is sandy, sandy, sandy. But this is kind of the area. We couldn’t get up to the hillside where Theodore was, according to Leo Lyman, known to go dig. So Mormon diggings was a collection site where all the members would go to get gold and platinum. And they still mine it. Each one of these little valleys and things, there’s a mining plot on every single one. So you can’t just go up and mine it yourself because they’re still pulling out stuff. It’s not very profitable, but for people who want to do it as a hobby it’s a lot of fun.
So this is kind of one of the areas that Theodore did. Now Theodore is all the way through this. There’s a newspaper article where it says he went all over the countryside looking for mining properties. And we know on the east side of the mountains he actually found what he considered to be the greatest silver mine that you would find in California. And we don’t know where it’s at. That’d be nice to know. But they do still have a lot of mining over there. But what Theodore is known for in his mining adventures, and ventures, is his quicksilver which is basically mercury. He did a lot of that. And when you read in this newspaper article, says he was able to get– and I don’t remember the exact portion, but he had just the two gun barrels that he would run the material through and then the mercury would come out. And he had a little system that he devised, and he was able to get a reasonable amount of it so that he could sell it. So, Theodore’s pretty enterprising in what he did.
So, what we’re gonna look at here, we have the property records for this thanks to San Bernardino County. They did all this research for us before we went down. They went and looked for all this stuff and then they sent it to us by email. So he owned a hundred and sixty acres of property at the bottom in the mouth of City Creek Canyon down there. And so this is just a generalized thing, this doesn’t represent exactly where it was, but that’s about the area where it would have been. He also had mining claims up City Creek Canyon. And we know that one of them is one of the quicksilver mines, was up that City Creek Canyon. So Amasa Lyman writes in his journal about Theodore Turley who was a miner. He got some of the quicksilver on his bread and he ate it. And he almost died. So when I said adventures, he had adventures. And it was scary for him. He had a hard time recovering, but he finally did. But from what I’ve seen, most of his mining claims that we could find were up City Creek Canyon, so that’s probably not bad to say that it might have been that area.
But we were able to go up that area, and that is the mouth of City Creek Canyon. We’re actually at a Wal-Mart parking lot [Laughter]. And he owned the– This is one of the hard things that the county was saying is when they say the mouth of City Creek Canyon, it could be half a mile up into the canyon or it could be a half a mile outside of. But this is the general area right here where Theodore would have been going through the mountains, just walking around looking for mining claims.
So, it was a lot of fun getting to go down there and kind of see as you read these things what the area actually is like. I thought it was more like the sequoias, with the big trees and things. It was more desert-like. So, imagine walking through the desert all day looking for mining claims.
So, the next part we’re going to talk about has something to do with the Mormon Battalion. So, as the Mexican army was retreating out of Southern California, the Mormon Battalion picked up a lot of their munitions, and they picked up their cannon. And this is one of the cannons that the Mormon Battalion had picked up, and they buried it down in the ground. And when the Saints went down to San Bernardino, they thought, “Hey, we know where some cannons are. We’re gonna go grab one.” So they went down and they picked this up, dug it up, and they brought it up to San Bernardino.
And why this is, I’m talking about this, is it’s another adventure of San Bernardino. There was a man, last name Benson, who– he came down a little bit later, and he was disenfranchised with the church soon thereafter. And he wanted the nicest piece of property that’s already developed. So, he goes up there and he squats on it. And the Saints didn’t like that. They said, “You got to go through the process like everybody else, and you have to buy it through the church because we have to pay off the debt. You can’t just settle down” like a lot of people were wanting to do. Well he took this cannon and he called it Fort Benson and he put it up on his property and aimed it at San Bernardino and said, “Come on at me.” So, kind of a funny story. The Saints still had a signal canyon, just a little tiny one that they had on the Fourth of July. And they set it off to celebrate the Fourth of July. Well, Benson thought it would be fun to set his up, and he over-fill it with charge and had a big explosion and things. But the Saints thought he was attacking, and it made the Fourth of July a little bit more exciting than it really should have been.
So, we were able to go as a group up there, and while we were there we actually ran into one of the local Latter-day Saint historians. He was able to tell us some of the history, and it was a lot of fun.
So, just kind of in closing, we have so much information about Theodore Turley now in the San Bernardino area, but there is definitely more to be had. I was just looking through– if you go through the list of people who live down in San Bernardino and you start going through their journals, you’ll have made mention that “Theodore had tea with us,” or “Theodore had lunch with us.” There’s a, if I can find it quickly–
There’s a woman who, I guess they spoke maybe differently back then, she says, “I saw Theodore for—” Oh, here we go. So, Carolyn Barnes Crosby. That book’s readily available of her journal. She says, “Brother Theodore Turley called awhile in the evening. We had not seen Brother Turley since he left Salt Lake. I discovered that he had become quite gray in the cause of truth.” And this is on Wednesday the 5th. So, Wednesday the 12th, “Brother Turley spoke to us upon the order and blessings of the priesthood and showed that it is the only true source to which God conveys intelligence to men, so as to make them wise unto salvation and brings him, brings them into his celestial kingdom.”
[00:32:38] – Audience Member
What year are we talking?
[00:32:39] – David Turley
So this is 1855. September ‘55.
So, these journals are full of character, like descriptions of their character, but it also– We have one of his sermons right there, right in her journal. So, from Nauvoo all the way, or even earlier than Nauvoo, all the way forward these journals are full of things. I know that Ann has done a lot of research in Nauvoo journals. So, as you’re going through your things, if you find anything, let’s share it. Let’s try and get this stuff out there. Let’s preserve it because there’s a lot to be had.
And I didn’t have the picture of it up there, but I think it’s important to go back to a major event, I think, in Theodore Turley in San Bernardino. And then I’ll close. Theodore Turley was approached by Hosea Stout to write a memorandum about Joseph Smith, and he was down in San Bernardino when this happened. And it was early enough that you, you’re pretty sure–I actually think it says on there in one of the records that Theodore was there that day–there’s going to be somewhere inside this fort where he’s writing it, probably in one of those buildings. But he writes about Joseph Smith. And, paraphrasing, he says that Joseph Smith is his best friend and he can’t hear about Joseph Smith without crying. And I think his memorandum down there in San Bernardino is one of the highlights for me in Theodore Turley’s life, where he’s able to put out his testimony of Joseph Smith.
That’s readily available online. The Church History Library has it on there digitized, and you can go read it. It takes a long time to read. We read it down in San Bernardino, and it took a little bit. But I know that Theodore Turley, for his good and his bad, he did have a testimony of Joseph Smith. And that he did do a lot of good, and that we can learn from his example of the good that he did do. And that is what I have to say. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
[00:34:37] – Audience
[00:34:40] – Luana Rogers
Thank-you, David. David is Rick’s nephew, and Richard’s grandson. Thank-you.
[00:34:53] – Rick Turley
I had the good fortune of moving into Dan and Luana’s ward a few months ago. So, we see each other quite frequently, and sit by each other in our church services. And she asked me to come and speak today. And I asked, “What do you want me to talk about?” And she said, “Well, you need to begin by introducing yourself.” And I said, “Nobody wants to hear about me.” But she insisted I did so, under duress, I’m going to talk a little bit about myself before I get into the main subject of what I want to address today. Which is embodied in that title that you probably read which was “And You Thought Family History Was Boring.” But before I talk about myself, I want to talk about two other people who are here who have been of tremendous assistance over the years.
One of them is David Roche Turley II, who you just heard from. And when I think about David, I think about a passage in [Mormon] chapter one verse two: “And about the time that Ammaron hid up the records unto the Lord, he came unto me, (I being about ten years of age, and I began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people) and Ammaron said unto me: I perceive that thou art a sober child, and art quick to observe;” and you know what followed from there. He said, “Since you have this natural inclination towards record keeping, I’m going to task you to be the next record keeper for our family.” I had an experience much like that back in my early twenties.
I became interested in our family history in my teens. My parents took me and my brother and our siblings to church history sites when we were living in the midwestern United States. They taught us about family history, had us build books of remembrance, had us copy down family group sheets and pedigree charts. So, I became very interested in this as a teen. And so, when I went to BYU and entered the Honors Program and had to find–my sister is here as well, one of the others who was with me–when I entered the Honors Program and found that I needed to do an Honors senior project, I decided to put together a project on Theodore Turley. “I mean, how hard can it be,” I thought. “Just gather the things that people have already pulled together. There’s probably one or two other things they missed. We’ll put it all together, and we’ll create this book on Theodore Turley.”
Well, in 1982 I graduated and completed that senior project, but the problem I ran into was the following. There were a few things that people missed, think of them as being like these little threads. So, I grabbed the little threads and I started pulling on them one at the time, and as I pulled on the threads I came to a knot and from that knot there were two threads. So, I started pulling them and there were two more off of that and so on. I never ever got close to the end of pulling on all the threads.
So, I started casting about and talking to other family members. One of those family members was the then-current genealogist for the Turley family organization. Olive Turley. Anybody here ever know Olive Turley? Okay, one or two. Anybody closely related to Olive? Your mother?
[00:37:58] – Steve Turley
[00:37:59] – Rick Turley
Okay, aunt. Olive recognized immediately that she had a lot of records for the family. She had gotten those records from the prior Turley family genealogist (you can see kind of where this is going). And so the prior Turley family genealogist handed those to her. She took them to her possession for decades. Now she was entering that stage of life where you begin to think more about the next life than the one you’re currently in. And her husband, Floyd, at the time was quite ill and looking like he might not be around for very long, so she was looking for a place to deposit all of these family records.
I was in my twenties at the time she contacted me and said, “If you’ll come down to Arizona, I will give all of these records to you.” And so, from the prior genealogist to Olive to me came the records. So, you’re always looking as the record keeper for the family what you’re going to do with them. I want to talk to you at the end about what I did with them, but I was always looking for somebody who I could sort of pass the baton to, and quite naturally David emerged. He had the sort of natural inclination to do family history, to keep records. I was just telling his wife before the meeting, “You also have to be a little bit obsessive-compulsive and a bit of a hoarder in order to do this kind of work well.” And David fits that mold as well (as do I). So that’s one of the two people I want to talk about before we begin. David is doing tremendous work. In addition to his regular job to make a living, he’s doing tremendous work in gathering information about our family. And we’ll talk in a moment about how we hope to make that available to everybody else.
In addition, there’s another person who naturally gravitates to all of this with whom I’ve been working closely and that’s Ann Lewis. How many of you know Ann very well? You really need to get to know Ann. I’ve often thought that Ann has more energy than any human being I know. The closest I can compare it is to ten tornadoes at once. And I figured if I could somehow bottle it, I’d make billions selling her energy because she’s just, she’s just like 10 tornadoes all sort of bouncing around the room at one time. Ann also has this natural inclination towards our family history, and she publishes her own blog online where she puts information about family members. You ought to figure out where that is and begin to look at it because there’s new information put up all the time on her blog.4
The three of us have gotten together, we’re kind of the Three Musketeers, and we’ve been trying to figure out ways of taking our information and making it available to you. We’ll talk a little bit more about that towards the end. But you really need to get to know David and Ann because they have that natural inclination. Now I know there are others in our very large family. Theodore has a huge posterity, not just the few in this room. I meet Theodore Turley family members all over the world when I travel. There are, I would guess, tens if not hundreds of thousands of us around scattered throughout the earth in various locations. So, Theodore’s posterity is tremendous. It’s not just among Latter-day Saints, but it’s among others as well since a lot of his family left the church early. But there are a lot of Theodore Turley descendants who you can see everywhere.
So now I just want to talk briefly about me at Luana’s request. As I mentioned, I got into this area of family history and church history kind of together naturally because our parents just took us to places and you naturally become interested in the places that you visit. I did this Honors project on Theodore as my undergraduate senior project. Then I went to law school and retained an interest in history. And after law school I graduated and went to work for a Chicago-based law firm that had a Salt Lake office. And when I was getting ready to select my final destination for my career, I put all of my offers out of law school on a matrix–part of the obsessive-compulsive thing, you know–line them all up. I had all of these cells, all these columns with factors in it. One of the factors was proximity to the Church Archives and the Family History Library. I figured I would practice law the rest of my life, and I want to be close to the two institutions where I could go and do family history and church history. So I chose a law firm that was located on the block just south of Temple Square. When I say just south, in the summertime when they would crank the oval windows to the assembly room over the Salt Lake Temple open to let the heat out I could see end of the assembly room and out the other side. I literally was just south of the temple there.
As I mentioned, I expected to spend my entire career there. I graduated in April of 1985. In December of 1985, after I’d been there just a very short period of time, I answered a telephone call from a man named Dallin Oaks. And without talking about how all this came about, I’ll just simply say that that was the end of December. Three weeks later, roughly, I was working for the Church as the head of the Church History Department. I did that for ten years, and then they asked if I would move over and become the head of the Family History Department. So, when I said I want to be close to church history and family history, I didn’t know it was going to be this close, okay. [Laugher] But I ended up, as it turned out, being in the Church History Department for thirty years. Twenty-two of those years as the Managing Director of the Church History Department, eight years as Assistant Church Historian. Then, overlapping that time, I was also the Managing Director of the Family History Department for twelve years. And, in fact, what happened is for ease of administration for eight of those years we just put the two together and formed one department.
Then three years ago, the church leaders came to me and they said, “Mike Otterson, who is the head of the Public Affairs Department, is retiring.” He was going to become the new head of the London Temple, the temple president. They said, “We’ve been spending eight months trying to find a new director, a Managing Director for the Public Affairs Department” (which is responsible for church media, government relations, hosting, and has a worldwide network of about 8,000 people). They said, “We did our due diligence. We interviewed people both inside and outside of the church employment structure, and we finally narrowed it down to a shortlist of four people. And then as we do with stake presidents, we went to the Lord to find out which of these four the Lord wanted. And your name came out, and you weren’t on the list.” I thought I’d spend the rest of my life in Church History, but what do you say to that? So, three years ago I became the head of the Public Affairs Department.
Then this week. On Tuesday, there was a meeting held at 1:00 p.m., right after the annual general authority assignment meeting. So, for those of you who don’t know how the general authorities get their assignments, every April they have general conference, and on the Tuesday immediately after general conference they call all the general authorities into the church auditorium. And they throw pictures up on the board, and they say, “Okay, you’re headed to Africa Southeast. You’ll be visiting Madagascar and Zimbabwe. And you’re headed to, you’re headed to the Asia area. You’re going to be from Mongolia all the way down to just north of the Philippines.” And they give them their assignments in the same fashion that they used to dispense assignments from the Tabernacle. Still happens today. Could you imagine that? Where you’re in a room, you don’t know what’s your next year’s going to be and suddenly they throw pictures up on the board and there you have it. Gratefully, a few years ago if you were going a long distance away and it took a lot of preparation, they call you in a little bit early and give you a preview. They didn’t do that when I first arrived, and I’d hear stories about people going in there seeing their assignments and, particularly the wives the general authorities, audibly gasping. So, to reduce the gasp factor they now call you in a little bit in advance if you’ve got a distant assignment, but if you’ve got a close assignment this is the first time you hear about it, is in this Tuesday meeting.
So, immediately after the Tuesday meeting there was a lunch break, and then at one o’clock, four members of the Quorum of the Twelve, five Seventies, and a member of the Primary General Presidency came together along with the staffs of the Public Affairs Department and the Office of Communication Services (which is another communication entity for the church). And Elder Christofferson gave some background, and then Elder Rasband announced that the church was going to merge the Public Affairs Department and the Office of Communication Services. So, I’m now the Managing Director of the Church Communication Department, which combines public affairs responsibilities with a lot of tech-related responsibilities related to communication as well.
So that’s background. When people ask me, I just basically say I’m an innovator by nature. I like to innovate. And in the church history realm, we created the new Church History Library, the Joseph Smith Papers, the Gospel Topics Essays. We put the Church History catalog online. We began digitizing all the records and putting them up so they’re available to anybody any time of the day. In the family history side of things, we put together a team. We built the FamilySearch system, we connected all of the family history centers together through the internet, we build a worldwide support system. And then, as we conceived this digital highway, we decided to digitize all of the microfilm that was in the Granite Mountain Records Vault, changed out all of the film cameras, microfilm cameras, for digital cameras in the field and create this flow of digital images that was coming in to us. Then we had to make those machine-searchable. So, for that purpose, we created the system that many of you have used called what?
[00:47:55] – Audience
[00:47:56] – Rick Turley
Yes. FamilySearch Indexing, okay? So then once those were indexed, we created the FamilySearch system that would allow that information to come into a large database. We were having tremendous duplication of temple records and tremendous duplication of temple ordinances because of the Personal Ancestral File individual software. So we got rid of it, had everybody work off what today we call the cloud. They didn’t have that terminology when we first built this, but essentially we were building a cloud.
And then the interesting thing about that was that, as far as Theodore was concerned, he’d been baptized dozens of times because individual family members just go to temples and do it for him. Folks, he was baptized in life, he does not need to be baptized again. [Laughter] Now I think maybe you later know that he left the church. He was rebaptized. You only need that once, okay? We don’t all need to go out and rebaptize him again. He’s done, okay? Theodore is done, as are much of his posterity.
And then we had another challenge related to all of that, and that was clearing names for temples. When I first became the Managing Director of the Family History Department, one of my early assignments was to go into the temple president seminar and explain to temple presidents and matrons how you clear a name for temple work. I think in those days there were twenty-one steps that were required to clear a name for temple work. I being new in that department, I brought a tech expert with me and we put up PowerPoint slides and we walked through the twenty-one steps on how to clear a name for the temple. And I looked out at the audience and the temple presidents and matrons were all like this. [Throws head back. Pretends to be asleep and snoring. Audience laughs.] And I thought to myself, “If we can’t get the leaders of the temples to be able to clear a name, we got something wrong here.” So, we went back to the staff and we said, “We need to make this very, very simple.”
So, you know how it is today, if you simply go into FamilySearch you do a couple of clicks, and you’ve got your name ready for temple work. So, all along the way we tried to keep a couple of visions in front of people. One was the old system–in which you went in and studied an index and then ordered in a microfilm. Paid three dollars and seventy-five cents for the microfilm, waited for it to arrive, put it onto a microfilm reader, scroll through until you were blind, didn’t find anything. Ordered another one, brought in another index, finally found a reference to another one, had to order it–it took weeks and months and years. The goal was to reduce the grunt work of family history and allow family history to be productive intellectual time. That was the vision for all of this system that we put together.
Related to that was the idea of accessibility, not just in small locations but globally. Both in church history and in family history, the goal was to make information available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, while you’re in your pajamas and your stocking feet in the middle of night with insomnia (which I suffer from frequently, which is why I write a lot). And I think we got it there.
Now why am I saying this? Because in a minute, we’re going to talk about how you can use the resources of the Family History Department and the resources of the Church History Department–which are available to all of us without cost–how we can use those to do what we really need to do as family members. So I’m now transitioning to this idea of, “And You Thought Family History Was Boring.” A lot of people do think family history is boring. When I was the Managing Director the Family History Department, we worked to develop a system that would be of interest to the general church members. What percentage of the church population, without urging, does family history work?
[00:51:43] – Audience Member
[00:51:44] – Rick Turley
[00:51:46] – Audience Member
Two and a half percent.
[00:51:47] – Rick Turley
That’s it. Two and a half percent, okay? About two and a half percent of the membership the church would naturally do that. These are the obsessive-compulsive hoarder, naturally interested types like the Three Musketeers here. We’re just naturally that way. But here’s the thing, those people are going to do family history work whether you give them any tools or not. They have a natural inclination toward it, they develop the skills, they’re curious enough to find the resources and go out and find it. What happens to the remaining ninety-seven and a half percent?
I’ll tell you what happens. They get the bug, what we sometimes call the Spirit of Elijah or what President Nelson has simply explained to us is the Holy Ghost. It inspires someone to want to do a little bit of family history work. So with that bug–this little cattle prod, you know, hitting you in the side–they decide that they’re going to go to somebody in their ward who’s interested in that, and they normally go to who? The enthusiast, okay? The enthusiast. And often the enthusiast drags them to a family history center, and at that family history center they plop them down in front of a computer. They bring up a whole bunch of programs. They type really, really fast. They say, “And you do this, and you do this, and you do this, and you do this, and this and this and it’s really simple, see?” And there’s all kinds of acronyms they are spewing at them. And here’s what happens. I heard numerous stories like this when I was the head of the Family History Department. They were– I called them, “I went to the family history library and I came out crying” stories. People would walk away, and they would say, “That just confirmed my supposition that family history is too hard and too time-consuming for the average person to do. Therefore, I’m going to postpone it until retirement.” They get to retirement, and they say, “You know what? Nowadays, there’s too many computers involved. I’ll leave it to the young people.” And they never do it.
So today I want to talk about what you can do as individual family members to help advance our family’s history in a way that you will find interesting and not boring. Hence my title, “And You Thought Family History Was Boring.”
So when I say, “Do your family history,” what most people think about is, “Oh, no. Oh, no. Somehow I have to sit in front of a microfilm and in old German or old French click through thousands of records until I’m blind. And then somehow or another find in the midst of all of that some ancestor born in the 1300s who has never had their work done before.” So, the first thing I’m going to tell you, which may seem absolutely opposite of what you’re thinking, is don’t start by worrying about doing temple ordinances. There’s a reason for that.
How many of you have a login for FamilySearch today? How many of you have received little messages telling you that you might have a temple ordinance that can be performed. How much work did that require on your part? [Laughter] Okay, that’s what we conceived when we built the FamilySearch system. The idea was, we would microfilm– We would take all the records around the world that were useful, digitize them, run them through FamilySearch Indexing to make them searchable, and then have our computers match them to our pedigree chart and serve them up for us.
That requires zero effort on your part. Zero. Except when you get the little hint to go in and reserve the name and go to the temple. Now that’s a whole lot easier than sitting in front of a microfilm reader, trying to go through records in old French to find somebody born in the 1300s. Oh and I didn’t tell you, if you have a family member born before fifteen hundred, the Family History Department probably won’t let you do the work anyway because by the time you get down to those records, you’re into gateway ancestors that belong to millions if not billions of people. And the work’s probably already done. And if it’s not done, they’re going to do it for you so that it’s done for everybody.
So that’s the first idea. Do not worry about doing painstaking research to get names for temple work. The system we built is going to do it for you. Now, if you have a natural inclination to do that and you want to spend your years doing it, by all means do it. There still are these little veins–to use the Theodore Turley mining analogy–there still are these little veins you can track. And if you get your thrills from doing that, as I do, go ahead and do it. But you don’t need to feel a huge burden of guilt that keeps you up at night because you didn’t sit down in front of a microfilm reader and go blind. Does that make sense? So that’s point number one. Don’t worry about going after names for temple work.
So, what should you be doing? Here’s what you should be doing. You should be doing what the Church does except on an individual level. So, what does the Church do? When I was in the Church History Department, we came up with a very simple formula for what the Church History Department does: we collect, we preserve, and we share. So, repeat after me, “Collect. Preserve. Share.” Okay, I want that to become your new mantra. When you’re lying in bed at night unable to sleep, I want you to repeat a thousand times, “Collect. Preserve. Share.” You know if you want to do something like this, go ahead. “Collect. Preserve. Share.” Okay? If you want to sit in the lotus position, all power to you. “Collect. Preserve. Share.” That is what we need to do individually and collectively as a family member.
So, what do I mean by collect? David made a plea to you that if you have any information related to the history of the family, share it. I’ll get to that in a minute. But I want you to think to yourself, you don’t need to raise your hand, do I have any records related to my family? Some of you are instantly going to nod your head and say, “Yes.” Because I know a lot of you, and I know some of you have some real treasures in your personal possession. But I want to talk to those of you who think you don’t.
I was asked to appear on the “Today Show” with Matt Lauer to give a primer to the world on how you do family history work. So for the purposes of that “Today Show” program, I just walked around my house. And I found little things that I then blew up onto posters and took them onto the “Today Show” and walked Matt through them. One of those things was a driver’s license for an ancestor that I just happened to have. You know, it’s one of the things got passed down, pile of stuff. I blew that up. Another was a photograph of my grandfather in a World War I uniform. I put that up there.
So what I said to Matt and to the world, and what I’m saying to you today, is we all have family history records. And when I say family history records, I mean your own personal records. Do you have a birth certificate? Do you have a blessing certificate? Do you have ordination certificates? Do you have marriage certificates? Do you have certificates for family members who have predeceased you, death certificates? Do you have letters? Do you have journals? And most of all, do you have photographs? If you have any of those things, you have family history records. Gather all those things together. There are complicated ways in which you can organize them, but President Boyd K. Packer used to put it this way. He said put them in a shoe box. All you need to do is find a box and put the records in the box. Now, so far, have we exceeded the skill level of anyone in the audience? Look around your house. You don’t need to go anywhere. You don’t need to come to Salt Lake. Look around your house or your apartment or your trailer or whatever, wherever your living quarters is. Look around and find all the things that relate to your family history and put them in a box. That’s what I mean by collect. Pull them all together.
Step number two, preserve. Now what do I mean by preserve? Well I mentioned that there was this string of record keepers in the Turley family. Della Turley Shook gathered together all the family records. She died without posterity, but before she died she gave them to Olive Turley. Olive Turley gathered together a vast amount of material during her lifetime. Before she died, she passed them on to me. What am I going to do with them?
[01:00:25] – Luana Rogers
David’s going to get them.
[01:00:27] – Rick Turley
Trick question. Wrong. There’s a reason why I’m not giving them to David. And that is because we have built a better way of doing this. So, let me tell you the biggest problem with collections of family history records, including everything that you own. What do you think is going to happen to your shoe box when you die? Anybody going to raise a hand and tell what you think’s going to happen? Yes.
[01:00:55] – Monita Robison
It often gets thrown away.
[01:00:57] – Rick Turley
Okay, how many of you been have called to a funeral, family funeral? How many days do you typically take to go to a funeral? Three is the answer, okay. Typically three days. Most people have three days of family leave for a funeral. So here’s what happens, and I know this through decades of working with people in church history and family history. You have records. You die. The word goes out that you’re going to have– You die on Tuesday. The word is out there you can have a funeral on Friday.
So, here’s what happens. The family scrambles to get airline tickets. They fly into town on Thursday. What do they do that first day before the funeral? Hugs, kisses, crying. Commiseration. Catching up. That’s Thursday. Day number one is gone. Nothing has been done about your shoe box.
Day number two, Friday, what happened? Funeral. Family luncheon, the burial, ceremony, whatever you can do with respect to that. By the end of the day everybody’s exhausted. You’re going to go back to your relative’s house or the hotel. You collapse. That’s day number two.
What happens on day number three? Come to the house, everybody gets together. You figure out some way to distribute what you want that’s there. What happens to everything else? You get a realtor, you get a dumpster, everything goes into it, and then a few weeks later somebody says, “Didn’t mom have–?” And it’s at that point you realize it went into the dumpster, okay? And it may have been that the shoe box was in a dresser that nobody wanted, and nobody thought to pull open the drawers and that went to D.I. and disappeared that way. I could tell you of immense treasures that have disappeared in this fashion.
I will also tell you this, that often the shoe box owner had this vision of the children coming in and wanting no more than anything else the shoe box. They wanted that more than they wanted the house or its monetary value. They wanted that more than they wanted any of the other treasures in the home. But you know what? How frequently does that happen? Two and a half percent. If you’ve got somebody in the family who has that natural inclination, they’re going to go after that first. For the most part it just doesn’t happen, folks. You may have visions of it preserving. It just doesn’t happen most of the time.
Okay, here’s situation number two. You are one of those obsessive-compulsive hoarder types who wants to pass it on to your family members. Then of course, “Oh, I can’t choose which of my fifteen children I want to give it to. So, I’m going to take the seven journals that I have that were passed down to me and I’m going to give one to each of my seven oldest children. And then a pile of letters I’m going to divide up among the rest of the other kids.” What happens to the collections if you think enough ahead of time to do that? They disappear, okay? Because one more generation down, most of them are in the dumpster. And even if they’re not in the dumpster, these kids are scattered all over the world and you can’t find the stuff. And even the ones who still have it don’t remember that they have it. And some of the ones who remember they have it, they’re not going to share it.
So, I’m not going to pass the material I have on to David for that reason, because I don’t want to put the material at a ninety seven and a half percent chance of risk in another generation. I collected hoards and hoards and hoards and hoards of family history records from our family from the time that I was a teenager until just about three years ago. And I took all of those materials, and I donated them to the Church History Library where they reside today. The Church History Department had a new employee, Harvard-trained archivist. She’s responsible for my gigantic collection, and she’s working with a series of missionaries and volunteers to take all that material, put it together, digitize it, and put it online. Now when that process is over, who will have access to it? Everybody raise your hand, okay? You’re not going to have to go out searching for it. You’re not going to have to worry about it going into a dumpster. You’re not going to have to worry about a house fire, a basement flood, or a hot attic, all of which will destroy your records. Instead, it will be preserved.
So I ask you, what are you going to do with your shoe box? If what you have is of the right level, the Church History Library might take it. Well, what if it’s not? What if it’s of interest to you and your immediate family, but not to the Church as a whole? What are you going to do with it? Yes.
[01:05:51] – Audience Member
Can’t I load it into FamilySearch? Aren’t there all those–
[01:05:54] – Rick Turley
Correct answer! How many of you– You said most of you have FamilySearch logins, right? Most of you know about the Memories component of that? Take your shoe box and digitize it and upload it onto FamilySearch. Then it’s available to everybody once again. Yes.
[01:06:11] – Mike Mullen
See, that’s even better than you donating it to the Church Archives, the Church History Library, because it is attached to the people that it pertains to.
[01:06:18] – Rick Turley
[01:06:19] – Mike Mullen
And available to everybody.
[01:06:20] – Rick Turley
And easy to find, okay? It’s simple. We’ve built this system for you. And again, you don’t have to worry about dumpsters. You don’t have to worry about house fires or hot attics or basement floods. Because you’ve loaded it. Yes.
[01:06:36] – Natalie Tanner
I wonder sometimes, because I am a hoarder, does the Church want ALL of those news articles and letters and everything that I have uploaded?
[01:06:51] – Rick Turley
Yes. They want you to upload whatever is of interest to your family, and I would err on the side of inclusion. If you’re not certain, put it up there. Put up more rather than less. Now, if all of us did that, if all of us put our material up online? You’d be surprised how much there is. I’ve gone all over the world, visited family members, there are incredible treasures just in this room. I won’t point them out because you don’t want to be burglarized by other family members who are obsessive-compulsive. [Laughter]
[01:07:21] – Audience Member
One of the problems is they forget to put names on the back of the pictures.
[01:07:24] – Rick Turley
Ah. I was just getting to that. A moment ago I mentioned photographs. You may say I don’t have the inclination to click through microfilm, but one of the most important things you can do with your family records is identify the people in the photographs. And there are lots of ways of doing that. One of the collections that I donated to the Church History Library has probably 50,000 photographs or more in it. So, with that particular collection we’ve digitized them, and we have put them onto a website, and we have created a spreadsheet, and we’ve organized that particular branch of the family. And given them logins so they can go in, and it will tell them the number of the photograph. They bring up the spreadsheet and it has a series of columns–it says, you know, date, time, place, people, situation–and some of our older family members who still remember these things are going through and saying, “Okay, I remember that one.” And they’re typing all that information in. Once it goes into the spreadsheet, it will go back to the Church History Library cataloging people, they’ll upload it onto the catalog, and it will become a natural searchable part of the catalog. So, if your picture is in that collection, you’ll be able to do a Google search and find it based on that. Yes.
[01:08:46] – Audience Member
So, location, and date, and–
[01:08:51] – Rick Turley
Yes. I would put– If you’re doing photographs, I would put the names of the people, the location, and the date. Now I’ll tell you why those three pieces of information. When I was over the Family History Department, we were bringing in vast amounts of data. Any of you here in the computer, space, anybody work in tech? Any of you ever heard of big data? It’s in the news a lot. What is big data? Big data is all of this vast amount of information the world is collecting about you from your computer searching. So, if you get online and you don’t put the proper privacy controls on there and you buy a bottle of Hunt’s ketchup you’re going to start seeing advertisements for ketchup show up on your searches because they know you like Hunt’s Ketchup, okay? They collect that data on you. And every time you make searches or make purchases, that’s all going into these huge computer databases, and they’re learning more and more about you. Computers are learning about you as an individual.
We were collecting vast amounts of computer readable data through our digitization and FamilySearch Indexing. But we had to figure out a way to be able to get the user into this, into these billions of images and petabytes of information. Have you ever done a Google search and gotten a results set back, “There are 1.2 million answers to your question.” How many have you gone down through all 1.2 million answers? None of us. It’s crazy. We go to the first page, maybe the second page, and that’s it. We did some very technical research, and we discovered that you can very quickly get to any piece of family history information if you have three pieces of data that you can triangulate on. One is a name, one is a date, and one is a place. It just so turns out that of all the billions of people on earth, there’s only a tiny number that are on this spot today. Notice what I had? Those people, this spot, today. That’s the three pieces of information. So, if you say, “Here is Lula Tanner in Beaver on this date,” you’ve identified your picture sufficiently for anybody to find it. Does that make sense?
So, just put those three pieces of information onto your picture. Now, if you want to do it right, you’ll use a–, you can buy inexpensively online photograph markers. They don’t fade. You can write on the back easily because they’re not pointy, they won’t destroy the image on the other side. But I will make this plea to you, I would rather have you use a sharp ballpoint pen and write on the back of your photograph and get the information on there and risk potentially destroying the image on the other side than leaving it blank. Because if it’s blank, it’s worthless. And chances are it will never get used.
Now, I will add this one caveat to what I just said. Still want you do identify them if you can, but I’ll add this one caveat. The more you can identify, the more in the future computers will be able to use your identification to identify the ones we haven’t identified. How many of you today are affected by face recognition software? You may not think you are. Have you ever walked through an airport? Homeland Security is taking pictures of you and running it through their terrorist database to see if your face matches the database of terrorists. You don’t know that’s happening, but it is happening. The technology exists today, and a lot of us use facial recognition technology. I use it to get on to my phone. If I go like this [looks directly at his phone], it takes picture of my face, compares it against the picture my face already in here. I don’t need to use a thumb print or a password to get into my phone. I use facial recognition software. So don’t throw your pictures away if they’re old and you don’t know who they are. Store them, put them up online as unrecognized people, and sometime in the future perhaps an elderly family member who knows these people already will identify them. And, if not, a computer might be able to do it based on other photographs. Make sense? Yes.
[01:13:15] – Natalie Tanner
Is it better or worse to guess?
[01:13:19] – Rick Turley
It’s better to guess, but note that you guessed… So, it’s better to guess because you may be right and if you’re not right you may have guessed somewhere in the ballpark and somebody doing research can find out, “Oh, it’s not that person, but it’s that person’s brother.” Or, “It’s not this person, but it’s her aunt.” So, go ahead and guess, but just put in parentheses “guess” or question mark or something like that. A question mark is just the easiest thing. Very simple. Put it on there. Now, we end up with some problems. Ann, do you want to talk about the problem of the image of Frances Amelia Kimberley Turley? Just very briefly?
[01:13:51] – Ann Lewis
Someone posted a photo, identifying it as Frances Amelia Turley, and family members have copied and pasted that photo in histories all over the place. And it is NOT Frances Amelia Turley. It’s another Turley relative. And there are some family members who, because they grew up seeing that picture, insist that that is Francis Amelia Turley. And, I’m in a battle right now with a relative who is really upset at me for asking her to remove that photo. It gets perpetuated and people tend to believe it because they see it in print with her name on it.
[01:14:32] – David Turley
So, we have in the red book, which is wonderful, the Theodore Turley home photograph, and it’s not Theodore Turley’s home. But we have this image, which you can go see after the meeting or over at the museum, of Theodore Turley’s home. It’s this little tiny log building right here, down at the bottom. So, we do have an image of it, it’s just the one that’s in the red book. But it was identified as Theodore Turley’s home.
[01:14:58] – Rick Turley
I wrote a long article about this in this Turley family newsletter, maybe we can reprint it, on the Theodore Turley home. There have been lots of homes misidentified as his over the decades. We know a lot about Theodore Turley’s home today because that property, owned by the Committee of Christ today, has had multiple archaeological digs including recently. Artifacts have been pulled up from it. We know the basic layout of the homes and businesses he had on his property, and they were multiple. So, don’t be fooled by old newspapers from the 1930s or elsewhere saying, “Theodore Turley home,” because somebody made the wrong conclusion. It turned out to be, for example, here’s one. Hugh White was an early settler along the Mississippi. He built a two-story home. He was one of the early settlers there. So, somebody said “Oh, first home in Nauvoo. It says over here that Theodore Turley built the first home in Nauvoo. Ergo, this is Theodore Turley’s home.” Easy mistake but wrong. That make sense?
So, any other questions about photographs before I move on? Please, please, please identify the photographs. Now, there are other ways that you can do it simply if you have too many of them, if you think, “This is impossible.” Just quickly write numbers on the back and dictate a tape. And then find a family member who is willing to transcribe the tape. Then you’ve got a catalog of your photographs. Or, go through your photographs and say, “Okay, really there’s only ten main people here. I’ll at least identify the names of the ten main people on the back and the rest of them are duplicated in these photos.” So, you don’t have to write all the people all the time, at least give a clue to future discoverers of your collection, of your shoe box, who’s who. And they can make the connections. Yes.
[01:16:40] – Audience Member
Is there a way to estimate date or place?
[01:16:43] – Rick Turley
There are ways to estimate dates. Places are harder. One way that you can estimate dates with a fair degree of accuracy, I’d say within twenty years, is clothing. Clothing styles change, and if you want to get a book or there’s a couple of dissertations that are quite good on historical clothing in an area, you can just match up the clothing.
Let me test you. Here’s the image of, we’ll call her Mary Jones Turley. She’s in rainbow-colored leggings, with a latex pink upper clothing dress, and she’s got a ponytail on the side. Dating?
[01:17:27] – Audience
[01:17:28] – Rick Turley
Eighties, okay? You can all do this, okay? You can all do this, because clothing styles change and hairdos change, okay? So it is possible to do that.
Locations can be extremely trick, so I’d be a little bit more cautious on locations. I’ve seen people misjudge by thousands of miles. And even if you think you have it right, you have it wrong. For example, there’s a famous image that used to be on the main floor of the Church History Museum of a group of pioneers having their photograph taken. It’s reproduced all over the place. And people, people often say, “Well, that’s a photograph taken in Wyoming.” And that is correct. It’s in Wyoming, Nebraska. [Laughter] So, a lot of problems that happen with sort of misnaming based on assumptions that people make.
Here’s another one. How many of you been to Kirtland? In Kirtland, when we were doing all of the archaeology and the research leading to the restoration of the Kirtland area down on the flats, we had a building that was said to be the Orson Hyde home. So, we started doing our research, and we found out that Orson Hyde home, as you peel back the layers of the onion, was the Hyde home. Not Orson Hyde, but just Hyde home. As we keep peeling back the layers, the Hyde home is H-I-D-E home. It was a tannery. [Laughter] So, because it was a tannery where they collected hide, somebody called it the Hide House, and somebody said “Well, Orson Hyde was here, must be the Orson Hyde home.”
That type of mistake is made all the time. It’s made with artifacts, too, passed down in families. We once got a William Clayton organ which the family swore was used to compose “Come, Come Ye Saints.” Well, a couple of problems with that. First of all, he composed the lyrics, but the music was an old, we’ll call it, folk song. Kind of thing that when you’re drinking at the pub you sing, okay? And so, he didn’t make up the music. If he had an organ would he have maybe chimed it out while he puts the lyrics in? Maybe. But, we accepted it as a donation, brought it in. Conservator stripped it down to clean it and found a manufacturing plate inside that postdates the “Come, Come Ye Saints” composition. So, things like that happen all the time. Any other questions? Yes.
[01:19:58] – David Turley
I think, if it won’t be accepted by the Church History Library, there are other locations that would be happy to have a collection of items. If you want to go into that more.
[01:20:08] – Rick Turley
Yes, and so I would try– If you have– Everybody should put their material up on FamilySearch, but if you have things that you think are materially valuable enough that you do worry about them going into the dumpster, burning up in a fire, you can find locations for them. If they relate to the history of the Church, the Church History Library will quite often accept them. If they relate to the history of a community, local community libraries or historical societies will often accept them.
And it’s better to put them in an institution than not. And the better the institution in terms of its physical facilities, the more likely the material will be preserved. The Church History Library which we built, we built after doing research all over the world in state-of-the-art facilities. It is one of the best facilities in the world for preserving records. So, if you look at it, the top two stories are just the equipment necessary to keep the temperature and relative humidity even year-round regardless of outside conditions. So, inside your house, the temperature and the relative humidity is going to fluctuate widely according to what things are going on outside. The Church History Library that will not be the case. The storage areas will always be 35 percent relative humidity and 55 degrees Fahrenheit in ten of the vaults. Two of them will be always at minus four degrees Fahrenheit to freeze certain things that will degrade if they’re at a higher temperature.
The reason we chose 55 degrees is that there is research done at the Library of Congress showing that you can come down on certain lines they mapped out called thermoclines. If you come down one thermocline, the material lasts for one order of magnitude more. So, if you store it at 72 degrees, then it’s going to last a hundred years. If you store it at 55 degrees, it’ll last a thousand years. Why not go deeper for most of the paper? Because people want to use it. If you go deeper, you have to thaw it through about a week-long process before they can use it. So, to balance accessibility and preservation we chose one thermocline as the temperature for most of the paper materials in the Church History Library. There are a few materials like highly acidic papers that off-gas or color images that very quickly degrade that we store at minus four degrees. That way the color images last a long time.
Those of you who are old enough to remember film in cameras, if you look at your old Kodachrome or Ektochrome images, what happens to them? Color has faded, okay? Now don’t throw them away. There are ways in which you can digitize and color correct and restore those images again, but we freeze the color film in order to keep them from degrading. And then, as far as acidic paper which we ended up with a real acidity problem the last quarter of the 19th century, and that lasted until quite recently. There’s still a lot of things printed on acidic paper. What happens if you take a newspaper and just say leave it on your front porch without collecting it for a week? What happens to the paper? Turns yellow and brittle, right? Because it’s highly acidic. If you try to store acidic paper, including your newspaper clippings, something’s going to happen to your collection. They’re going to off-gas. They’re going to off-gas things like SO2. Any chemists here? Anybody remember their college chemistry class? Sulfur dioxide. If you off-gas sulfur dioxide, and it gets in the atmosphere where there’s water, what do you get when you add H2O?
[01:23:28] – Audience Member
[01:23:29] – Rick Turley
Sulfuric acid. You get sulfuric acid. So, to keep sulfuric acid from getting into the air and browning everything else, we freeze it. In your own personal collections? If you have your shoe box already and you have newspaper clippings? The first thing you should do to preserve your collection is to go through it, take the newspaper clippings, and put them in just an inexpensive sheet protector. Because otherwise, it’s going to off-gas. It’s going to bleed to everything on either side of it. If you got this beautiful certificate you don’t want this big print on there of the cut out newspaper clipping.
So collect, preserve, and the last part is share. If you put something up on FamilySearch, you’re sharing it. Everybody can look at it. There are lots of other ways of sharing, but FamilySearch is the easiest. Yes.
[01:24:21] – Mike Mullen
Our family history center has a printer-scanner that you can scan directly to your FamilySearch account.
[01:24:27] – Rick Turley
[01:24:28] – Mike Mullen
Do all family history centers have that?
[01:24:30] – Rick Turley
You bring up an excellent point. I know that many of you may not be versed enough in digital technology to know how to scan something, how to make it digital. A lot of the family history centers today, or at least major ones in various regions particularly in the western United States, have all kinds of scanning equipment. If you want to take your shoe box down to them, there are eager people who in a morning can scan all of your material. Ann, we had a lot of that material from Olive. You took it down to the Utah Valley Regional Center. How fast did it take to do it?
[01:25:03] – Ann Lewis
You mean the BYU Family History Library?
[01:25:05] – Rick Turley
Which is the Utah Valley Regional Family History Center.5
[01:25:07] – Ann Lewis
[01:25:08] – Rick Turley
[01:25:10] – Ann Lewis
Ten, twenty boxes, and it took me a couple of weeks.
[01:25:17] – Rick Turley
Just hand-feeding it in?
[01:25:18] – Ann Lewis
I can do a carry-on suitcase in a day of scanning.
[01:25:23] – Rick Turley
And the scanners keep getting better. I used to use the flat kind, and I have that at home, to digitize family history materials. I bought an inexpensive, it was probably a hundred and fifty dollars– I bought an inexpensive scanner called [ScanSnap]. It just folds up. I leave it on my desk all the time. If I have things that aren’t very fragile and I don’t worry about ripping through a scanner, I can open that up, put a stack of 50 items on it, and they’ll be done in about one minute or two minutes. And that automatically does a lot of the trimming on it already, unlike trying to put it on a plat and then use a mouse and so on. So, lots of ways of doing it.
[1:26:00] – David Turley
So, here at this facility they actually have one that will do books for you where you lay the book flat. It takes a picture, and then it has lasers that will actually take the fold in the book and through algorithms flatten the book pages for you. So, that’s here in this library. They are free to use. There’s limits on time, I think it’s 30 minutes if there’s people waiting.
[1:26:19] – Rick Turley
If you have old books with fragile spines and you don’t want to open them past 90 degrees because you’re afraid of breaking the spine, then you’ve got a nice sense. Keep that sense with you, don’t ever lose that. But there are photocopiers that either have cradles in them like this [opens hands like a book] so you can put it in at 90 degrees and it will copy both sides that way, or there are copy machines that have the plat that goes clear to the edge, and you can open your book just 90 degrees here and flat and not break the spine when you’re making a copy of it.
So, lots of ways to digitize it, and if you don’t know how ask your grandchildren. [Laughter] They will know how, okay? And I say that with all seriousness. One of the challenges we have is getting the next generations involved in family history. Getting your grandchildren to help you record your oral history, to digitize your collections, is an easy way to begin to draw them into and have them feel the sense of and power of family history.
The other day– I’ve got three grandchildren living with me right now temporarily, they’re moving to Oregon next week, but they’re living with me temporarily and they had a school assignment to learn about their family history. And they came to me. Their mother could not rip them from my computer to put them to bed, okay? Soon as I started pulling up photographs and videos and so forth they were just absolutely smitten. And it’s something they say to me all the time, “Grandpa, we need to do our family history again.” So, you’d be surprised at how these kids, who you think are just immersed in video games, can do when it comes to family history if you computerize it. Or make them part of it. Yes.
[01:27:54] – Dan Rogers
Question, Rick. A lot of our generation have personal journals, years of personal journals. What do we do with them?
[01:28:01] – Rick Turley
With those years of personal journals, I would find a repository for them. If you have personal journals, the Church is often interested in them because that’s a major historical work. I have personal journals that I’ve kept since I was sixteen years old. And they’re very, very detailed. In the early days I kept them by hand, I’ve since digitized all those handwritten ones. And since then, I’ve kept them on a computer but printed them out on archival paper, and I keep them in archival sleeves.
I have—Well, it would take a lot of shelves to hold my journals, okay? Those are going to the Church History Library when I die. And if you think the Church is only interested in you if you’re a prominent church leader, that’s not true. They’re interested in getting a cross-section of members of the church. And so if you live in a location where they don’t have a lot of journals represented already, and you keep a really good journal, they’re going to be interested in them. So that’s an excellent question. Yes, David?
[01:29:05] – David Turley
Could you address sacred items?
[01:29:07] – Rick Turley
Yes. So occasionally you have things in your collections that might be sacred. A good example, a lot of families pass down temple aprons that they sometimes think of come clear down from the Nauvoo days. I happen to know a great deal about aprons, and so I’m usually the one that can date them if people have them. We don’t want those types of things to show up on eBay. Occasionally there’ll be some temple-related things that people have that are also— David picked up a book at D.I. once that had a temple part memorization card in it. Somebody had taken their book to the temple and stuck that in there, forgot it was in there and it ended up going to D.I. So, if you find things like that, just make me aware of them. I’ll help you get them into the right hands. Any other questions before we go on to the final part about share? Yes.
[01:30:03] – Mary Ann Clements
Can you provide contact information for people who have this stuff and they want to talk to the Church History Library? Can you get that to us?
[01:30:12] – Rick Turley
Yes, I can. So, I mentioned there’s an archivist, trained at Harvard, who is working particularly on our collection. I would recommend you give it to her first because she’ll already know what’s in there from the greater Theodore Turley family. She might choose to add it to that collection or create a separate collection for it, but we can– If you’ll catch me afterwards, we can get that information. We can publish it in the family online newsletter and then everybody can have access to it.6
There’s one final way of sharing that I want to talk about and that is through publication. Ann and David and I have been working on publishing a lot of the information that we have, that we’re compiling. I just want to show you here– Luana mentioned that I was at the heart of the Saints project. How many of you know what the Saints project is?
Back in 1994 when I was in the Church History Department and was reading through the Doctrine & Covenants it was talking about the roles of Church Historian. I kept seeing, “Write and publish. Write and publish. Write and publish. Write and publish.” And we were not doing any writing and publishing at the time. I had just published the book Victims, and I thought, “Well, what are we going to do next?” So, I thought, “Well, let’s publish a multi-volume history of the church. We haven’t had one since 1930.” So, I went to my leadership and said, “I’d like to start this.” And they said, “Yeah, go ahead.” So, I created a prototype and then over time I kept bringing up this idea. In 2001, I made a presentation to the First Presidency about it. In the mid-2000s, we got the permission and the funding for it. And then we started working on the project, and the first volume came out last September.
How many of you have a copy of Saints either on your Gospel Library or the hard copy? It has become, in the very short time that it’s out, the single most read history of the Church. Because the goal behind it was to do several things simultaneously. I’m going to step away from this and write on the whiteboard…
Well, one thing that we wanted was, we wanted for it to be open and honest. So, this is what I have worked to have all my histories become. In families, there’s sometimes a hesitation to talk about all the family secrets. And there may be some things that are private enough or confidential enough that you won’t want to make them available. But many things are not, and yet families don’t want to talk about them. The joke when I was over the Family History Department was that you spend five thousand dollars to hire a genealogist to do your family history—or, five hundred dollars to hire a genealogist to do your family history and five thousand dollars to get them not to publish it. [Laughter]
I am one who personally believes that our family members need to know the good and the bad. They need to know the trials as well as the triumphs. There is a natural tendency among particularly family history writers to create what historians call triumphalist history. Where the person never said a negative thing in their lives. They went through endless trials that tested them to the ultimate. They never did a thing wrong, never uttered a bad word. Never said anything or did anything that was sinful. And at the end of their life, died a perfect individual, okay? [Laughter] A lot of histories are written that way.
The idea behind Saints was to vanquish that idea, and to put in the good and the bad. Now, some people didn’t like that idea first. Some of my colleagues, not in Church History but in other departments, they said, “You can’t talk about this negative kind of stuff.” I said, “Oh, yes we can, and we should. People need to know what happened, and we’re old enough and mature enough as a church that we need to make this readily available so people understand what really happened to folks in earlier generations, what they suffered from.”
“Furthermore,” I said, “it contributes to good narrative.” Now one of my degrees in English, and let me explain to you the basic format for a narrative. If you go to a play, or you read a novel, or you watch a movie, for the most part you’re going to see a standard narrative. A standard narrative looks like this.
It starts off with some type of grabber at the beginning. You’re watching a movie, it’s the opening scene, it’s that action that just draws you in. And suddenly, you no longer want to get up to get popcorn. You’re into the movie. That’s the grabber at the beginning. Good novels start that way. Good plays start that way. After the grabber, there’s a series of rising and falling actions, like this:
Tension and release, tension release, tension and release, leading to a climax. And then, after the climax there’s this sudden drop called the denouement. And then there’s a kicker at the end to bring you back to the sequel. Some type of, something left open that makes you go, “Oh, I’ve got to see the next movie.” Or read the next volume, or see the next play. That’s the basic narrative format.
So, when I conceived this project, I conceived it as a narrative project. Four volumes that would follow that kind of narrative sequence, be open and honest, and grounded in bedrock historical documents. And in order to create that, we had to do multiple steps. So, the first thing we did was we pulled together a bunch of historians, we brainstormed it, and we created drafts that were historically accurate. Now, what happens if your average PhD historian writes the history?
[01:36:23] – Audience Member
[01:36:24] – Rick Turley
Stop there. Nobody wants to read it, okay? I had a historian friend, PhD, who said that he typically had three readers for his works, himself and his parents. Then his mom died one day, and he said “Rats, I’m down to two.” [Laughter] There’s a lot of truth to that. Historians tend to write to each other. Why? Because they don’t write in a narrative form, what they write is an expository form. Without making fun of my predecessors who did a yeoman’s task under very difficult circumstances to create the early histories of the church, so I’m not making fun of them, what I’m just trying to do here is to contrast expository history versus narrative history. This is how expository history begins [slow, monotone voice], “Volume 1 Section 1: The Joseph Smith Period. Volume 1 Section 2: The Brigham Young Period. Volume 1 Section 3—” You get it, right? It’s flat. It’s boring. Most people don’t get more than a few pages into it before they lay it down intending to get back to it, and they never do.
Contrast that with a narrative where it’s intense, it’s exciting, and you can’t put it down. Or if you do put it down, you pick it right back up and read it again. Saints is built on this type of narrative. And when people said to me, “You can’t be open about things.” I said, “Oh, yes we can. I’ll tell you two advantages. Number one, it educates the Saints. And number two, it makes for a brilliant narrative.” Why? Because it makes people tense. It creates this tension. And then you can have a release. And more tension and a release.
Now, those of you who are film critics or play critics or novel critics will understand that every once in a while you get somebody who tries to make everything totally intense, like the sequel to a film. One’s a blockbuster and so the second one comes in, and you look at it, you go, “This one’s kind of over the top and it’s not as interesting.” Why isn’t it interesting? Because they cut out the releases.
See, they cut those off. So, it just goes from intensity to intensity to intensity, and guess what? If you have something that’s intense for a long period of time, it becomes white noise to you. Your system shuts it out. You no longer feel tension about it. It becomes boring. So, to have a good narrative you’ve got to have tension and release, tension and release, tension and release.
All the more reason why, if you want to engage your family in it’s history, talk about the good and the bad. You’ll teach lessons that people in later generations need to know in order to live their lives well. You’ll help them recognize that those pioneers, those ancestors, weren’t perfect. But they struggled, and they often struggled against terrible odds and did wonderful things. They sometimes failed over and over and over again. And those are good lessons for the rising generations.
So, I just will very quickly show you here, give you a little preview. So, this was the first volume that just came out. Anybody read it? Okay, a few of you have read it. As I mentioned, this has become the single most read history in church history because it’s narrative in form and it grabs people. We didn’t know how well it would do. We printed, I think, 200,000 hard copy volumes knowing that might be hard to get people to buy those when we’re giving it away free on Gospel Library. Those 200,000 copies sold out like hotcakes.
We printed another 100,000, those are mostly gone. And in addition to that, we’ve probably had another seven or eight hundred thousand downloads. And we’ve been able to track not just the downloads but also the chapter views. People are not just downloading this, they are actually reading it. We probably have a million readers of this history. That’s remarkable. There’s never been a history like it. Just like only two and a half percent will do the family history? Only a very small percentage will typically read church history. But in this case, the percentage is very, very large.
Here’s what the second volume is going to look like. I’m currently– I have to have done by this weekend another section in this one that I’m evaluating for the Church History [Department]. Even though I don’t work in Church History anymore, they’ve done me the courtesy of having me review what’s coming out. And this is another exciting volume, you’ll like this one. It goes from basically the end of the Joseph Smith period up to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.
Third volume, goes until the mid-20th century. And the fourth volume, essentially comes up to the present day. So, there’s a little preview you get of all four volumes that are coming up.
So, what about our family’s history? What are we doing with respect to that? Well, David and Ann and I have been working for some time on a Theodore Turley set of volumes. Why don’t you two join me here? So, modeling of this after the Joseph Smith Papers, we’ve created a set of Theodore Turley Papers. Come on up, Ann. Ann just got back from three years on a mission, during which time she was still putting out all of her family history blogs. Like I said, tornado, okay? She’s a tornado. She’s back in town and probably going to disappear again for a little while, but in the meantime the three of us are working very closely together trying to get out one of these volumes.
So the first volume we are going to put out is the mission journal which is the one I worked on when I was an undergraduate. With this one you’re going to see digital images of every page in Theodore Turley’s handwriting. Now, I know there are a lot of transcriptions of his journal that have been passed around by family members. A lot of those have a lot of errors in them. In fact, every one of them has errors in it unless you have mine from my early work. Numerous errors. They lead you astray. They have names wrong, places wrong, they have omissions. This will show you the actual handwriting, and a very careful transcription on the facing page. So, you can see what Theodore wrote and then have a transcription of it so it’s easy to read. They’ll also be introduction to help get you into it and a conclusion to help get you out of it. So that’ll be one volume of this multi-volume history that we’re going to start to publish. What else do you want to say about it, you two?
Ann, what are you working on right now?
[01:42:50] – Ann Lewis
Right now we’re working on putting all of the stuff we have into a chronology and get that organized. I will be, in the meantime, working to proofread all of the journal entries to make sure the transcriptions are right off of the pages that are getting ready to be published.
[01:43:10] – Rick Turley
David gave us this wonderful jacket you can see here. He’s the one who discovered this Theodore Turley image. Are all of you familiar with that story? Do you want to just tell it briefly, David?
[01:43:20] – David Turley
So, I suffer from insomnia, I think a lot of the Turleys on our side do, and I was up just early, early in the morning, one [or] two. And I was just, “Oh, I haven’t been to the Theodore Turley’s Find a Grave in a long time.” It’s the FindaGrave.com where it has a picture of the headstone and people can upload things. And I was like, “Eh, there’s not going to be anything new there.” And I just felt like I should go there. So, I went there and there was a picture, and it’s turned sideways, and it’s cropped down quite a bit just of his face, but it was clearer than any picture of Theodore I had ever seen.
So, I e-mailed the guy at 2 o’clock in the morning, and said, “Where did you find this? That’s my grandfather.” And he sent a thing back at 6:00 in the morning telling me it was down in the Fillmore Territorial Statehouse. So, I called them up that morning, and I was down there that next weekend. And they were kind enough to actually– Cause it was sealed inside of the page crooked, they trimmed the bottom (and this was someone who is trained archivally), and they slid it out and we were able to get the rest of the image.
[01:44:22] – Rick Turley
This is by far the best Theodore Turley image we have. There are a lot of copies that have been made over the years that are poor. And then they’ve been recopied and recopied and recopied, and in some cases touched up poorly. This one’s untouched-up from the time period. Based on the little tie, it’s probably late 1860s, early 1870s, just before he died.
[01:44:45] – David Turley
And just a word–
[01:44:46] – Mary Ann Clements
David, I did put that story up on the website.
[01:44:48] – David Turley
Yes, and that is on the website. I did just read that.
Something about this image– If you want to see it, the gentleman who’s down there said he is bored out of his mind because generally when people come in they don’t want to do research, they want to walk through the building, see all the exhibits, and walk out. But he actually is there and they have files and things you can go look through. He will pull this out if you call him ahead, and you can go down and see it yourself. And there’s some other fun things, this was Francis M. Lyman’s album that it’s in. And there’s–
[01:45:16] – Rick Turley
Son of Amasa.
[01:45:17] – David Turley
Yeah, so he would be a– What would he be? It’s confusing with the polygamy, but he would be a close relation. He would at least have known Theodore on a personal basis.
[01:45:30] – Ann Lewis
[Amasa] was married to Theodore’s daughter, Priscilla.
[01:45:35] – Mary Ann Clements
But Francis wasn’t the kid of—
[01:45:37] – David Turley
Yeah that’s why the relation– He would’ve at least known Theodore very intimately.
[01:45:41] – Rick Turley
A son, but not through Priscilla.
[01:45:43] – Mary Ann Clements
Not through Priscilla.
[01:45:44] – David Turley
[01:45:45] – Rick Turley
Francis went on to become the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, a prominent individual himself.
[01:45:50] – David Turley
But there’s a whole bunch of other famous people in there as well that are fascinating. There’s an image of George Albert Smith before he had his eye injury. And it’s a really, just beautiful, fascinating image of him. So, if you’re down in Fillmore, just set aside some time to go in and you can see this photo in person. It’s really small, and when we went down there before we were able to look at it. But I think it’s worthwhile to go down there, and then you also have Amasa Lyman buried in Fillmore.
[01:46:14] – Rick Turley
We want to wrap up in the next 12 minutes and have most that time to Q and A, but just to summarize we’re going to create a Papers of Theodore Turley set that you can purchase copies of if you want. We’ll get to Mary Ann information to you about how you can order this. We’d like to have people preorder it, so we can collect the publication money before we have to give it to the publisher to print it.
[1:46:35] – Mike Mullen
When do you think the first volume will be ready?
[01:46:37] – Rick Turley
Our goal is to get the first volume done by the end of the year, before Ann goes into her next space orbit. [Laughter] And I’ve got– I’ve got multiple books underway as well, so I have to do this really between the scenes between the rest of them.
In addition to this, I’ve been serializing a history of Theodore in the newsletter. I haven’t done one for a time or two, but I’m ready to get back to that. I’ve been– We sold our condominium in downtown Salt Lake. We lived in City Creek for five years. I loved it down there, my wife was less than enamored of it. And we decided to move up by our grandchildren. We have six children, only one lives continually in Utah and that’s in Farmington in the ward adjacent to Dan and Luana’s ward. So, we decided to move up there, we’ve moved into Dan and Luana’s ward. We’re up by grandkids. But we sold our unit faster than we expected. We ended up living with our daughter for, like, eight months. And then we’re just kind of finally getting moved into our place. Going to have an open house next week or the week after. So, we’ve been a little bit transient. I’m finally getting to where I am settled down a little bit. I’ll be able to contribute articles to the newsletter. That will ultimately get revised again and again and again with a lot of these Papers materials woven into it into a very good, thorough biography of Theodore. So, ultimately all of you will have that.
[01:47:58] – Mary Ann Clements
So, just as a heads up, we did decide at the last meeting to stop the official newsletter. But on our new website we do have a blog so we can get announcements out immediately. And there will still be an email that will go out maybe once a month, once every other month, to highlight what’s new on the blog and to obviously give announcements for events like this one.
[01:48:18] – Rick Turley
Great. Great move. So, we’ve got until noon for questions. What questions do people have? Yes.
[01:48:27] – Audience Member
Everybody’s got old video, whether it’s, like, the little small tapes or the little bigger tapes or bigger tapes. Is there a good way to take the video and archive it?
[01:48:38] – Rick Turley
There is. Some of that material you can upload on to FamilySearch. I would take– So here’s the problem with—I’ve given this speech a lot of times all over the country, but– Here’s the problem with our technology. Back when people carved into stone, how long did stone last? [Audience: Laughter, “A long time.”]
How long? [ Audience: “Forever.”] If you go into the deserts of Utah, how old can you see petroglyphs? Thousands of years, okay? So, so let’s say a hundred thousand years on stone.
Okay, technology developed to the point where they started to go on to papyrus. How old is papyrus? What’s the oldest papyrus? [Audience: “Can be thousands.” “Two or three thousand.”] Okay, so let’s say papyrus lasts 5,000 years. [Audience: “In the right conditions.”] In the right conditions, got to be really, really dry.
In between, they came up with this stuff called clay. So the oldest libraries are on clay tablets coming out of Sumeria and other places. They go back 5,000 years. They didn’t start writing on this kind of stuff [motioning to papyrus] until a little bit later.
And then they decided that there was a way of taking plants and making a little better material than papyrus. They borrowed the name “papyrus,” they made “paper.” So how long does paper last? If it’s good, high quality paper made out of, say, cotton, it can last for hundreds of years probably thousands of years. I’ve held in my hands papers hundreds of years old that are high quality and they’re just as flexible as the newest papers today. Unfortunately, most of our papers that were created in the United States out of wood pulp had materials/chemicals in it. They don’t last very long. A hundred years might be good for some paper. We’ll just say hundreds maximum.
Now we get the magnetic tapes and then to the images that we have today. And when you get to video, I wouldn’t count on video lasting more than five years without degradation. So, what do you do? We faced this problem with all of the material the Church owned, and we finally built– Brought in some experts. We built a digital preservation system that we embedded in the Granite Mountain Records Vault that will hold this digital material in perpetuity.
Let me tell you [we] do it, and then I’ll tell you how to do it, yourself. To do it up at the Granite Mountain Records Vault, we built this facility that had these huge tape towers in them. Each tape held basically– Each tower held basically five petabytes of information. Now, how much is a petabyte?
So, you’ve got kilobytes. And what’s after kilobytes? Megabytes. So this [MB] is a thousand times that [KB]. And what’s after megabytes? Gigabytes. Okay, so that’s [GB] a thousand thousand [KB], and so on. So, we’re just going to keep going here: gigabytes, terabytes, and petabytes.
So, we built these large tape towers in the Granite Mountain Records Vault, each of which held five petabytes. And, actually we’ve engineered it so we can go to exabyte scale. A thousand times that (PB). We read all the church’s digital information onto these tapes. And we have these robots and computers that monitor the tapes continuously. They add up all of the data on the tape. If we see any loss of data, you know if you see, “Uh oh. Minus one.” The robot runs in, grabs the tape, pulls it out, throws it away, puts a new tape in, and reads a perfect copy from the multiple copies we have stored around the world. So, we just keep updating the underlying medium because the digital image itself can be perpetuated forward eternally.
Now, you’re not going to have the time and money and resources we had to build this system. So, how can you do it yourself? I will tell you how. Find yourself a good cloud storage system. There are some good ones and some bad ones out there, okay? Find yourself a good cloud storage system. Take your digital images, your videos and so forth, and read them up into the cloud. They will do all of this automatically for you. The one risk you need to keep aware of is that these cloud storage systems are not what you think they are.
So if you have ten files—Let’s say this is your file structure on your computer. Now this is your root file. And then you have ten files that come off of that. And then you’ve got little folders. What these cloud systems do is they will go into your system, and they will slowly (and I mean slowly), particularly in the night when the internet isn’t being used, they’ll slowly upload these things to the cloud. They’re getting better, but many a person has relied upon this system to back up their home computer, only to have their hard disk crash. And when their hard disk crashes and they download they find out yeah, it got that one but missed these other nine because it never ever got to them for one reason or another. You’ve got to monitor them a little bit.
There’s a way that you can put in a little bit of a fail-safe in between, and that is when you buy a computer, buy a computer with what’s called a RAID array. Anybody know what a RAID array is? Basically. you’re going to have two hard drives on your computer, and they are going to continually monitor each other. So, let’s suppose that here’s one hard drive, and here’s your other hard drive. And all of a sudden this one degrades, there’s a little speck of dust there and it degrades. That part of your record is gone. This will be continually monitoring itself, and this part will say, “Uh oh, you just missed the eyeball in that photograph. It’s gone now.” Speck of dust got on there or moisture, it’s gone. So, it’s going to say, “Alright, we’re going to take this part of your disk, which doesn’t have anything on it yet, we’re going to copy the eyeball from here, and I’m going to put it over there.” Now, suddenly, this one is repaired. So, I would buy computers with RAID arrays. They’re not very much more expensive than having a regular hard drive in it, and you have this continual monitoring. Now, if you add this to a good cloud system–and if you’re really obsessive-compulsive like me, I back up the cloud with another cloud system–that’s how you could do it.
I’ve got somewhere around the order of 2 million plus files on my computer, so for me it’s a big deal to be able to store it all permanently. A lot of that’s family history. Other questions? Yes.
[01:55:40] – Luana Rogers
Ann, would you— At our meeting we talked about a “virtual reunion” just because a physical reunion would be so difficult to get the group together. Tell us about the “virtual reunion” and how we can be involved in that.
[01:55:58] – Ann Lewis
Okay, I was thinking about my own family. I have three kids who have no interest yet in family history and a husband who doesn’t know what I’m talking about. And to invite them to a family reunion of people they don’t know is not exciting or interesting to them. So, my thought was because I spend a lot of time uploading images and documents and histories to FamilySearch, I thought, “What if we took a day or a week and instead of having a family reunion where we all have to travel and bring a potluck dish and drag our families and spend time— What if we, in our gospel-centered, home-learning homes now, took a day where we invited our families and our children to remember something about a family member or an ancestor, the oldest person in the family they know, or a grandparent, or even write about themselves. And on that day we hold a “virtual” family reunion where we each record or preserve or share something that we have and put it on to FamilySearch. And that way we could hugely increase the amount of information about our family in a very short period of time that can be shared with each other.
So, this year we’re going to do a “virtual reunion.”
[01:57:18] – Luana Rogers
And the date that we’ve selected?
[01:57:20] – Mary Ann Clements
[01:57:22] – Ann Lewis
May 15th? May 15th is the day.
[01:57:25] – Luana Rogers
Because this notated as the International Family Day.
[01:57:30] – Ann Lewis
That’s right. So it may just be a photograph. It may be a memory you have of your grandparent or the oldest– I always like to ask people to remember the oldest person they have memories of because those are the things that will be lost the quickest if they’re not recorded. So, we’ll be sharing more information about that on the new website.
[01:57:51] – Luana Rogers
And, again, I want to appreciate so much Mary Ann’s work on this new website. It’s hard on us older people to not have the hard copy with the newsletter, but this is the direction we need to go. And she’s done some great work on that to get us into a better place.
[01:58:12] – Ann Lewis
[01:58:14] – Rick Turley
Thanks to all of you for coming. We wanted to get you done by noon. There we are, right at the top of the hour. Thank-you for coming. [Applause]
[01:58:30] – Luana Rogers
Thank-you, cousin Rick.
[01:58:32] – Rick Turley
[01:58:33] – Luana Rogers
And thank-you, cousin David.
[01:58:35] – David Turley
[01:58:37] – Luana Rogers
We so appreciate your time and collective intelligence that you put together to lift up and encourage us and inspire us. President Nelson has said that this is what we need to be doing to lift us up with both those who are here at this time and those who are beyond the veil. And the temple work that we can be doing. So, I am so thankful for all of the effort and for you being here. Thank-you so much. And we’ll have a closing prayer, and I’d like to ask my husband if he would do that. He has just been wonderful to help me do this. So, thank-you. Dan Rogers.
[01:59:22] – Dan Rogers
I’m also her third cousin.
[01:59:25] – Luana Rogers
Yes, he is. [Laughter] We found that out a week before we were married. [Laughter] We were third cousins, which makes our children fourth cousins. [Laughter]
[01:59:37] – Dan Rogers
It explains their peculiar behavior. [Laughter] Thank-you for the opportunity.
Father, we’re thankful that we’ve had this opportunity to be enlightened and to learn new ways of doing things. We ask thee to bless us that we can encourage ourselves to follow through. Please dismiss us with that blessing and see us safely on our way to our homes or other activities. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
[02:00:00] – Audience
- Turley, Richard E., Jr., Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case, University of Illinois Press, 1992
- Walker, Ronald W., Richard E. Turley, Jr., and Glen M. Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Oxford University Press, 2008
- The remains of 12 men and women were found in 1989 when they were originally clearing ground for the baseball fields. Those remains were re-interred across the street to the north, in Pioneer Cemetery.
- Ann Laemmlen Lewis keeps both a personal and family history blog.
- The BYU Family History Library was originally called the Utah Valley Regional Family History Center.
- Note from the archivist: for Turley family members who want to contact the Church History Library for possible material donations, email the acquisitions missionaries at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that you are contacting them in response to Rick’s presentation.