11 June 2013

Blessings in Brigham City

For the last several years I've been wanting to go to Brigham City to do some family history explorations. My great-great grandfather, Thomas Henry Bark Blackburn Sr., was mayor there from about 1908-1912, and he raised his family there. I knew there was a picture of him hanging in City Hall which I wanted to see; he and several children, his wife, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law are also all buried in the city cemetery. Not to mention a gorgeous temple was just dedicated there and I wanted to see it! But all of this had completely slipped from my mind over the last several months until a few weeks ago when the strongest impression came that I should make an effort to go ASAP.

So I invited several mission friends (the only people still in Provo that I know) to take a day trip with me to Brigham City. Only one, Allison Beauchamp, came with me. We had a delightful drive up I-15, a delicious lunch at a local joint, a pit-stop in the County building, a perusal around City Hall, some moments of pure exploration, and a hike through the cemetery. And that's when it happened.

After a brief visit to the sexton's office to get a map of where my family's plots were located, we were able to find the several headstones in only a few minutes. As I was walking around taking pictures and studying each of the names of people I've only read about, I hear Allison say what possibly only happens in the small LDS world we live in: "That's weird. I have a Roxcy Keller in my family, too. Huh." So after exchanging all the information I know about Roxcy Keller (the grandmother-in-law of Thomas Sr), she was pretty sure it was the same woman in her family line. A quick phone call to her father confirmed our suspicions and filled in some of the missing gaps of knowledge that we'd both had. 

We are fifth cousins! Or something like that... but I feel like after 3rd cousins, the number part doesn't really matter. haha In fact, the significance felt more like I'd just found my long lost sister. I come from Roxcy Keller's daughter Nancy, whose daughter Roxcy married Thomas Sr. However, Allison is descended from Roxcy Keller's daughter Lusina. It really felt like Nancy and Lusina had been plotting this little discovery of ours for quite some time, and I'm so glad they did! I love knowing that sisters can still collaborate efforts from the Spirit World. ;)

Next we headed to the temple (which is GORGEOUS by the way) where we did initiatories for some of my family names I'd been working on. I found a Keller in the stack, so I gave it to Allison. And then the rest were just because they were on top. There were 7 sisters and then 3 other individuals. I couldn't remember which side of my family the names came from, but when I got home I checked. You probably won't be surprised to learn that the names were from the family line that Allison and I share. Seriously! Sometimes God is just so cool. And He's ALWAYS abundantly kind and merciful. 

The whole trip, the whole day just seemed so serendipitous that it couldn't have been a coincidence. I'm not sure if there will end up being a greater purpose in the whole familial discovery or our Brigham City adventure, but I do know that I was prompted to go for a reason. And like Joseph Smith I believe that, "Coincidences are just miracles in which God wishes to remain anonymous."

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