My name is Erin. I am a descendent of Hyrum Smith, brother to Joseph Smith, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), and my husband is a descendent of Parley P. Pratt and Anson Call.
This past year my husband and I took our children to some of our ancestral homes in Nauvoo, Illinois; Carthage, Illinois; Independence, Missouri; Liberty, Missouri; Martin’s Cove, Wyoming; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
These are all important places to our family history. This is where some of our family was developed and where our family roots began. There are many great stories here that have historical, religious significance to me. I wanted to return to these places so my kids would understand the significance and importance of what happened here and so that the stories will mean more to them now that they have actually been there.
Before taking this trip our family studied church history, read about the historical sites, read family stories, and revelations that happened there. When we were there, we discovered our ancestors are amazing people with very interesting lives and stories. Knowing these stories helps brings me closer to my ancestors as I study and learn about them. We loved being there, but unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to delve into studying about them as much as we wanted. We should have given ourselves more time at each site. I was glad we made the drive and the preparation to go these places, and that we took our kids. I have been to these sites before, but my kids haven’t and I think they were impressed about the heritage we come from and what was sacrificed for religion and family. My kids enjoyed hearing family history stories and hearing more about the church history. It makes me proud to remember the stories.
One of my favorite moments was walking around Liberty Jail and Nauvoo. I was able to think about Emma Smith, one of my heroes, and Joseph Smith, who was always well mannered no matter the circumstances he was in. It was amazing to be where they have been.
Maybe in 10 years or so, when my younger kids are older we will return. Though next time for us, or for others who are going, I would want enough time so we are not rushed and then we can do as much research while there as we want.
It is good to remember our past and remember where we come from.