Monday, June 25, 2007

Genealogy, I am doing it! My genealogy...

Did you know they changed the words to that song to be “Family History – I am doing it”…? I wonder why. Is genealogy too big a word for primary kids? That can’t be it, the next line has the word “progenitor” in it.

Last night I went up to the Durham cabin in Midway to have dinner with my family. I took some of the old photo albums we keep up there with me because for a long time I’ve wanted to scan the taped and torn photographs and touch them up with my Photoshop skills.

This is Grandpa Durham at the University of Iowa. Before and after my touch-ups. Sometimes I can’t believe how much he looks like my dad. And Carter kind of.

I got a little sloppy with the shading on his face. If I were an artist I probably could have done a better job. But if you click on both of them up close, you'll see I got rid of a lot of spots and scratches.

I love reading about my Grandpa and his family. It makes me want to strive to do more with my life because they’re all so accomplished.

Grandpa was one of five brothers. Below is a picture of Great Grandpa George and all his sons in 1941 behind the State Capitol where Great Grandpa George worked for awhile. I'm not sure what he did up there. I think he was a representative (that sounds like something I should know for sure, doesn't it). My Grandpa is only 24 years old in this picture.

From left to right: The one on the far left is Grandpa’s dad, George H. Durham. And then there’s G. Homer, Wilby, Lowell M. (that’s Grandpa), L. Marsden and Wayne.

I'll touch that one up later. This scrapbook of Grandpa’s (my mom actually put it together) is amazing. It has pages of letters to and from my Grandpa on his mission, letters from apostles and the First Presidency thanking him for the compositions he wrote for missionary conferences and other meetings, and of course, some great pictures.

I’m really proud of my Grandpa. He died when I was 14. He actually stayed at our house when I was much younger for a couple weeks when he was really sick. I would bring him Cokes and he would call me “Beautiful.” But what I remember most about him was when we first moved to our house in Sandy (I was probably 7 years old) he took us all to Hardees and some clown there made him a balloon hat, which he wore the whole time while we ate. I thought that a silly thing for my refined and sophisticated Grandfather to do. But I loved him for it.

This picture is of Marsden, my grandpa’s little brother. Marsden served in World War II after his mission and was wounded in 1945. Later that year he died in Hawaii. My dad says my grandpa never really got over his death. It's funny how when someone dies at a fairly young age, much lore develops about them and their life. All the stories about Marsden color him as a saint, too good for this world. I won't bore you with the stories though.

I was surprised and a little disturbed to find a lock of his hair taped to the back of the photograph. My mom said back in the day everyone kept relics like that. I just feel like there was a better place they could have kept it. I mean, I have his DNA right here.

Marsden attended Harvard. Last year when I traveled to Boston I went inside the chapel on the Harvard campus to find his name. Shoot. I have a picture of it, but not on this computer apparently. Maybe I deleted it. Anyway, they have a whole wall in the chapel dedicated to Harvard students who died in the war. Under 1945 it lists Lucius Marsden Durham.

This is probably uninteresting to most of you to say the least, but I love looking at old pictures of my family. And I’m excited to fix up all these photographs, make a digital archive and print copies for myself to keep.


abel said...

Did they really change the words of that song? Did they think geneology was too big a word or that Family History sounded more exciting? ~sighs~ What are my kids going to learn when they get to primary.

SRA said...

That thing about the wall in the Harvard Chapel is really cool. G. Homer Durham...I didn't know you were that closely related to him. Nice.
The big meeting is tonight. Wooo.


laura said...


It might have been a recent PR thing. It is called the "Family History Library" and not the Genealogy Library. I don't know. I think they changed some other words too, but I'm not sure. Maybe you know. The sheet music is online.

Maybe it's time they look at some older hymns like "In Our Lovely Deseret". Those lyrics make me laugh. Especially the part about eating "very little meat." I don't remember the last church sponsored dinner I went to that had "very little meat"


Good luck with your meeting!

Allie said...

I am one of Wayne Durham's granddaughters and I enjoyed seeing this picture of my grandpa and his brothers! My mom is Wayne and Barbara's daughter Marilyn.

Jessie and Taylor Miller said...

Hello! I'm Allie(above)'s younger sister Jessie.I have no clue how she found your blog, but loved seeing the photo of my grandpa Wayne since he died before I was born and I never had a chance to meet him! It was really neat to be able to learn more about my "family history."

Dennis said...

Transcribing my Dad's (John A. Larsen) letters from World War II. Under date of 5 Sept 1944: "The other night I went to the Library aboard ship here (U.S.S. Cambria stationed in Hawaii), and who should be standing there grining at me as big as life, but Elder L. Marsden Durham...we both worked in Penn."

Thomas said...


Marsden attended graduate school at Harvard, true--but he was in the graduate English program, and not the Law School. All those Durham lawyers come from Wayne's family, except for Matt Durham


Anonymous said...

My family lore is that my grandmother, Peggy Boyle, was once engaged to Marsden. Or at least that they were quite serious about each other. I had once heard that he had died in the war, and the picture I had in mind was that they were a couple at the time, but that can't be since she married my grandpa in 1941. Funny thing, I recently acquired some of my grandmother's piano music, and there is a book with his name written on the front!

I am a family history nut too, and I guess the piano book prompted me to look him up and see what really happened to him! Thanks for having this post so it was very easy! He was so handsome, I can see why she liked him.

John and Suzi said...

Thanks for the post,Laura. All my growing-up years I heard stories about Uncle Marsden. I remember hearing about the love of his life, Peggy, and how she broke his heart. I remember hearing how kind, compassionate and gentle he was and how he loved poetry, especially T.S. Elliot. And...I think he might have had a little crush on my mother, and your Grandma,as did Uncle Wayne. I have also been to the chapel at Harvard and seen his name on a plaque of W.W. II soldiers who died. His purple heart was also proudly displayed at Grandpa George and Grandma Nellie's home on 1123 Lake Steet. Many, many memories ....