FamilySearch Pioneer Discovery Experience Online
Imagine walking all day exposed to the scorching sun, wind, or rain, and only advancing as few as 8 miles. Ever wonder what circumstances the pioneers in your own family endured to reach Zion (the Salt Lake Valley)? Finding the answer is fun and easy thanks to the free FamilySearch Pioneer Discovery Experience now online. About 1.5 million descendants of pioneers have been identified through millions of worldwide contributions to the FamilySearch Family Tree. Go to FamilySearch.org/Pioneer to make your discoveries.
Just in time for the July 24 celebration of Utah’s Pioneer Day, FamilySearch and the Church History Library (CHL) have partnered to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other descendants of these pioneers find amazing information about their pioneer heritage.
The interactive pioneer page shows a snapshot of the life and time line of each ancestor based on available historical records. Fascinating personalized discoveries are compiled using data from the FamilySearch Family Tree mapped against pioneer information found in the Overland Trails database.
The introductory page for each ancestor invites users to discover their pioneer relatives through a personal photo (if available), the name of the pioneer company they were part of, their age at departure, the number of days on the trail, and the city and state they were in when they left. The time line shows how their ancestors’ lives overlapped with key events that likely influenced their lives. If available for their ancestors, patrons will be led to photos, history, and first-hand experiences.
Sample Screenshots from the Free FamilySearch Pioneer Discovery Experience Online
(See illustration 1) Mary Ann Saville was the first of her family to leave England with the hope her parents and siblings would follow soon. They came slowly over 10 years, with her mother and father being the last to arrive. She travelled by wagon in the Milo Andrus company.
By clicking on View Photos and Stories (Illustration 2), the page will open directly to the memories that have been preserved in the Family Tree. In the case of Mary Ann, you find a brief life story and lovely poem written by her mother before she left for "Zion".
By clicking on the Company name, a new page provides all the names of Company members and includes Company Sources that provide fascinating details about the journey (Illustration 3 for Warren Snow Company 1864).
The following excerpt is taken from the journal of Milo Andrus, the captain of Mary Ann's company. (Note: Spelling and punctuation are original from the journal. Words and punctuation in square brackets have been added for clarification.)
Saturday 20th—Cleared off about 9 A.M. Camped moved about half past twelve. road verry heavy. rolling awful[.] Encamped about 4 O Clock P.M. on "Skunk Creek" dist made about 8 miles. Raining all night verry heavey. Capt. however managed to get up a dance between. showers. in the Evening
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