Find a Piece of History

May 30 – June 25, 2016

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Share Your Treasure – Share Your Story

This year we would like to collect pictures of family treasures and heirlooms that we can share through slides and post online. By sharing these treasures, we will gain additional knowledge of our family history.

As you send these pictures, please explain important information about the item and how it came to you. This would be the ideal way to send it. If there are concerns about safety and protection, we can post photos o f treasures anonymously.

Quoting Doctrine & Covenants 21:1, noted LDS Historian Marlin K. Jensen said, “’Behold, there shall be a record kept.’ There are many ways to keep that record, and one of the ways is to preserve a place, a building, an artifact that represents history.”

He noted that an artifact can be powerful “because it is tangible, tactile, something that can be lived and experienced.”

Quoting Alma, who taught that records “enlarged the memory of this people,” Jensen explained that it can also deepen and solidify our faith.

“There’s something very fundamental about reflecting back on where we’ve been in God’s economy of things,” he said. “If we have the stability of history, if we can enter into the peace of the Lord, the rest of the Lord, that can come from a knowledge that our history is secure and solid.”

To share an heirloom with the family or ask questions, contact Frances Orton (

Emma received a lock of Joseph’s hair during a reburial at the Homestead. It is possible Mary Fielding also received this lock of Hyrum’s hair [hair at the top of the book] at the same time.

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Reunion Highlights

  • History and background of the Smith Family Cemetery by Lachlan Mackay, Karl Anderson, and Daniel Larsen.
  • Placing headstone for Lewis Bidamon grave.
  • Martyrdom – at Carthage Jail by Susan Easton Black Durrant.
  • Family service project at cemetery.
  • Family picnic between the cemetery and the Red Brick Store overlooking the beautiful Mississippi River.
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Nauvoo Reunion: 25th Anniversary of Cemetery Dedication

The 2016 Reunion marks 25 years since the Smith Family Nauvoo Cemetery was improved, beautified, and dedicated. It also means that for the last 25 years, Smith family members have helped pay for cemetery maintenance and upkeep. What a blessing it is for us to care for this hallowed ground and honor our beloved ancestors. Each year many thousands visit our sacred family cemetery. Meet your Smith family cousins this year in Nauvoo for a wonderful reunion that includes socializing, presentations, historical insights, sightseeing, service projects, food, and fun!

Register online at

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Sacred Ground: The Smith Family Cemetery in Old Nauvoo, Part II

By Julie Maddox, Joseph Sr & Lucy Mack Smith Family Association Newsletter Editor

For many years, the Smith Family Nauvoo Cemetery was almost forgotten. Few graves were marked, all Smith family was gone from Nauvoo by 1879, rising waters threatened to submerge gravesites,  and  communication between descendants had faded.


As family and close friends were buried in the Homestead yard beginning in 1844, “none of these graves were marked except by lilacs which Emma planted nearby.”1 Even the location of Father and Mother Smith became lost. Caring for the yard became challenging as Joseph III, Alexander, Julia, and David Hyrum moved from Nauvoo. In 1867 Emma wrote Joseph III:

Joseph, I should like if you are willing to extend that fence so as to enclose the graves of your two little brothers. I have got twenty five dollars that no one has any right to but myself…. I feel anxious to apply that money on that graveyard, after I have done that… I think I can ask our Smith relatives to help mark Fathers and Mothers graves if no more.

Although no action took place at this time, this letter became significant many years after Emma’s death. Joseph, Alexander, and Julia buried their beloved mother on May 2, 1879, and Joseph III erected a tombstone for Emma.

Lewis Bidamon was the last to be buried in the Homestead ground in 1891, and by 1900, tenants occupied the property. Four gravestones and a scraggly lilac bush were the only evidence of a graveyard.

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Walking in their Shoes

By Steve & Frances Orton and Joy Ercanbrack

We extend a heartfelt thank you to the many family members who went the extra mile to help make the 2014 Reunion such a great success! Please log on to the website to see pictures and read the full account of the reunion.

The family gained a deeper respect for our ancestors who lived in the Independence, Missouri area as we toured Far West, Adamondi-Ahman, and the sacred Liberty Jail. We learned that God does not abandon us, just as he did not abandon Joseph and Hyrum when they were unjustly imprisoned in the Liberty Jail. Truth does prevail and the mercies of God will be revealed.

The family met in the beautiful Community of Christ Stone Church and received gracious welcomes and family news, history, website, iDig info and news of upcoming events. Lach Mackay read a welcome letter to the family from Cousin Wallace B. Smith who was recovering from surgery.

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Smith Family in the News and in Story

IDigNauvoo is in the news! Visit

This year IdigNauvoo volunteers are working at both the Joseph Sr. Homestead and the Samuel H. Smith home site.

Significant events at the IdigNauvoo site include the restoration of the stone steps on the east side of the Joseph Smith Sr. homestead, discovery of an 1835 half dime, and a bone bead that is 2000 years old. Recent finds have led archaeologist Paul DeBarthe to question whether the Smith homestead could have been an 1805 trading post.

The Dig is looking for participants and volunteer host couples.Learn more about the iDigNauvoo archaeological project by visiting their website

Watch lectures on Mary Fielding Smith and “Letters from Joseph F Smith to his Sister Martha Ann” at this online site:

See to read Lachlan Mackay’s Stories About Joseph III from the Reunion. See

Joseph’s Miracle Run Scholarship Presentation to Dartmouth

Many Smith family members contributed to the Sons of the Utah Pioneer tribute to Hyrum Smith. Cost is $5 per magazine. To purchase, visit or call 801.484.4441.

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Joseph Smith Sr. Genealogical Website

Take advantage of the Joseph Smith Sr. Genealogical Website’s many features! It can help you & us keep accurate information and extend that information more readily to your family and extended family. It can also help those who are related to many of the  family’s thousands of ancestors.

This site contains Joseph Sr and Lucy Mack Smith’s ancestry and posterity and Emma Hale Smith’s ancestry and posterity. To view the posterity information of the living, you must be a direct descendant and register on the website. That information will then be available to you.

All family branches are connected into the same database which provides statistical information, biographies, media images, geo locations synchronized with google maps, world history timelines and much more.

Please login to check your family for accuracy and contact us for any errors. We would appreciate any submissions of family stories, pictures, histories, etc.

Clicking any of the buttons takes you directly to the genealogical information of that branch of the family:

  1. Joseph – ancestors of Joseph Smith Sr.
  2. Lucy – ancestors of Lucy Mack Smith
  3. Any of the children – descendants of that branch of the family

Be sure to register on the site to take advantage of all the genealogical features. There is no cost to use this site. The Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society website is also interconnected with the genealogical information on this web site.


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Sacred Ground: The Smith Family Cemetery in Old Nauvoo, Part I

By Julie Maddox, Joseph Sr & Lucy Mack Smith Family Association Newsletter Editor

“The place where a man is buried is sacred to me.” Joseph Smith Jr.

I feel the full emotion of that statement, sitting here on the wooden bench in the Smith Family Cemetery in Nauvoo. Resting in the shade, I can see things just as Anina Luff has described them, and “watch white butterflies dance above the blue salvia,” especially picturesque at dusk as the sun sets on the Mississippi River.

Summer of 1991 found Anina MacKay Luff, great great-granddaughter of Joseph and Emma, and her son Lachlan MacKay, driving from Independence, MO, to the Family Cemetery at sunset. “The Mississippi River,” she said, “was mystical, beautiful.” Anina and her brother Daniel Larsen and their families were a significant part of preparations for the Aug. 4, 1991 formal cemetery dedication. They wanted a “beautiful serene place where people can sit and dream and ponder connections with loved ones passed on.” And each year since they have come to beautify and plant flowers in this sacred spot.

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