Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reunion Photos and Presentation

Here are links to the photos we took at the family reunion, as well as the visuals I used during my presentation. There are many, many more records than this, and we are updating the links on the right to make them easier to use. Have fun!

Family Reunion
Estell(e) Reunion Presentation Visuals

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Family Reunion and Family Tree

This has been an amazing weekend! Jon and I just spent three days with some of the best people in the world: the Estell(e) family! What a blessing it has been for me to do this family research, because it led me to find out about this family reunion and to meet hundreds of cousins I never knew about. We felt loved by everyone, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the next reunion in 2010!

Since many people at the reunion wanted to know more about how we are all connected, we have put up a family tree that should help with that. I will be working on it over the next few weeks, updating it with the information I got at the reunion, and the look may change if we can find a better-looking website. The "home person" (the first person the tree starts with) is my grandmother, Nellie Booker, and following her line up to John Estill will take you to any other Estell(e)s that you want to find. Enjoy getting to know the many, many Estell(e)s, and more!

Click image to access the Estell/Booker/Demps/Magruder Family Tree

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cemetery photos

Family history and genealogy is a lot of fun. In our travels Kristen and I have photographed and transcribed memorials from many cemeteries. Here we share them with the world. I am licensing these photos and transcriptions under a Creative Commons Attribution License. This means you can copy them and use them for any purpose, as long as you give me (Jon Andersen) credit. Please drop me a note if you find your relatives in here, I'd love to hear from you! The original high-res photos are included here. Look under "named_photos" for the high-res versions.

Corinth Cemetery, Sycamore, Talladega, Alabama
(High-res download)

Wilson Cemetery, Winterboro, Talladega, Alabama
(High-res download)

Detroit Memorial Park East Cemetery, Warren, Macomb, Michigan
(High-res download)

Westview Community Cemetery, Pompano Beach, Broward, Florida
(High-res download)

St Hedwig Cemetery, Dearborn Heights, Wayne, Michigan
(High-res download)

Ayersville Cemetery, Defiance, Ohio
(High-res download)

Cole Cemetery, Shorter, Alabama
(High-res download)

Monday, July 7, 2008

30th Anniversary of Priesthood Revelation

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes known as Mormon. Every now and then I get challenged about my beliefs--among them, how I can be black and be Mormon. I have been a member of this church for almost 10 years; I have attended the church in seven countries on three different continents, and in nine different states. I can say that I have never met more loving, warm, friendly, open, and accepting people anywhere than the Mormons. From the first time I set foot in one of their churches, I felt welcome, and it has been the same every Sunday ever since for all these years.

Every church has their history. This church is no exception. There are all kinds of theories out there about why the priesthood was not extended to all worthy men until 1978, and I don't agree with any of them. But what I do know is that the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness, along with the power to act in the name of God to administer the ordinances of the gospel, is available to all people on earth who seek it. I believe that we are all equal in the eyes of God and that we always have been, and everything is available to all of us to enable us to return to live with our Father in heaven again, regardless of our race. God loves everyone, black and white and Hispanic and Arab, Mormon and Catholic and Baptist and Muslim and Jewish. And He has invited all people to come unto Him.

So in honor of the 30th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood, I have posted this video for your enjoyment.