Right Angle Ancestors

If any of us goes back through our ancestral lines we realize that we are all immigrants. Richard and I are thinking about writing a new book, mostly for our own children and grandchildren about who we call The Right Angle Ancestors. In other words, the four couples amongst our ancestors who decided to come to America (from Sweden, Denmark and two from England) in every case because they had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. They came for many reasons: 1) they were horrifically persecuted because they were now “Mormons”, 2 )they wanted to follow the admonitions of their prophet who were calling them to come and settle the west and 3) often also because they were living in relative poverty and could see a better life in a new world.

In perspective, all these years later, seeing the impact their decision made as they took a right angle turn in their lives and traveled to an unknown world in perilous circumstances is mind-boggling to us now. Little did they know what their decision would mean, not only to their own family but to the entire parade of children and their children and their children who would follow.

Recently our ward Primary president asked me to come into the Primary and tell a story about an ancestor that made a good choice which had made a difference in my life. I chose to tell about “right angle” Grandmother Elisabeth Jacobson who was born in Denmark in 1825. What amazing good she did even through devastating losses as she changed the story of our own family forever.

She had six children when they joined the church and immigrated to America. The family lost their oldest daughter Anne(!3) before they left for America and then someone carried measles on board the ship they sailed on from Liverpool and three more of their little children (Engerline, 9, Sarah 6, and Elizabeth 3, contracted the disease, died on the way and were buried at sea. Just as they sighted the Statue of Liberty Jens, 11 died and they carried him to land for burial. Undaunted and with only one son left Peter 14, she got pregnant again and walked 1000 miles across the plains beside their covered wagon and then gave birth to the famous Osmond Family’s great, great Grandmother Amelia. Her last two children were born in mid-winter in a little log cabin in Bloomington, Idaho and her last child was my great grandfather Frederick.

What an amazing story of courage and fortitude! Her blood was “thick” and her heart was undaunted. Through all her misery and wo, she created a new life for literally hundreds of her modern day descendants. I can’t help but shed a tear when I hear the song, “God Be With You ’til We Meet Again.” She will be one of the first “Right Angle” Ancestors I will long to hug when I reach the other side!

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