Sunday, June 19, 2011
One of my jobs is to schedule our Family History Centre for the groups who want to visit. Quite often I book for U3A groups interested in family history. U3A stands for the University of Third Age. The U3A movement started in France in 1973 and spread to England in the 1980’s. The premise is that retired people have a lifetime of experience and, collectively, a vast amount of knowledge that can be shared. Their website says, “U3As are self-help, self-managed lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work, providing opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning not for qualifications, but for fun.” So U3A groups interested in family history come to our Centre where we give an orientation on the resources and websites we have available. We also always share with them why we do this work and that involves explaining a little about out religious beliefs. Then we bring them down to our Centre and they get started with their research. We are there to help.
One of the ladies I was helping came with a copy of the 1881 UK census showing her grandfather. We were able to trace the family back three more generations through the 1871, 1861, 1851 and 1841 censuses. This enabled her to see each individual family unit with parents and children. She was so excited that we were able to find this information and couldn’t wait to share it with her family.
The Hyde Park Chapel
Ken and I are both reading Truth Will Prevail, a history of the Church in the British Isles. I think it’s required reading for every missionary who serves in the British Isles. The title comes from an event that occurred when the first Mormon missionaries came to the here in 1837. Queen Victoria had ascended to the throne three weeks prior to missionaries arriving in Preston, England and the city was still celebrating. A banner with the words “Truth Will Prevail” was displayed. The missionaries took this as a good omen for their work in the British Isles. In 1842, Queen Victoria was presented with a Book of Mormon by Lorenzo Snow. It is now in the library at Windsor castle.
In a chapter written by James R. Moss from Truth Will Prevail, he describes the expansion and establishment of the Church during the years 1951-1971. Just before that time period, in 1945, President David O. McKay had counseled the British Saints to remain in their homeland to help build up the Church. In the 19th century 100,000 Britons joined the church and many emigrated to the US to join the body of Saints there.
In 1955, President McKay said, “There is a great need particularly in the great city of London for a chapel, a church edifice that will be a credit to the Church, that it will accommodate those who are now seeking the truth and about to join the Church. On 26 February 1961, President David O. McKay dedicated the Hyde Park Chapel. I quote James R. Moss, “The Hyde Park Chapel was no ordinary undertaking for the Church in Britain, for it was designed to provide a spiritual showplace for the Church in the minds of those living in the London area. Built in one of the City’s most exclusive districts, only a short walk from the major museums and a focal point for many visitors to London, the chapel was specifically designed to serve a proselytizing function and to help the British people know the Church was in Britain to stay.”
In early fall of this year the Hyde Park Chapel will undergo a major renovation. The Wards, Mission Office, Employment Centre, Centre for Young Adults and our Family History Centre will be displaced for about 6 months. We don’t yet know how this will affect our mission.
Here is a tour of the Chapel and our Family History Centre.
Senior missionaries, Elder Empey, Sister Dewsnup and Sister Empey in the chapel.
The cultural hall.
The door leads down to the Family History Centre.
Entry into the Centre.
President Hinckley’s quote is on the wall in the entry.
In the Centre the windows open up to show the beautiful Princess Gate Mews.
Our friend, Sheila Clappison, a member of the Hyde Park Ward and Service Missionary for Family History.
Some of the microfilm readers. We have about 25. They are used to read the more than 60,000 parish and other records that are only found on microfilm.
The England London Mission Office. The young missionaries are awesome!
The board in President Patch’s office showing all the missionaries.
The senior missionaries.
More senior missionaries including the Crandalls, Fugals and Robertsons, the family history missionaries.
A couple of weeks ago we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kew has the world's largest collection of living plants.
Inside its grounds is Kew Palace, the smallest of the British royal palaces. It was built by a Dutch merchant in around 1631 and was later purchased by King George III. It’s known as the Dutch House because of its Dutch gables. Despite its name, it is the size of a manor house. Kew Palace was used to hold a dinner hosted by Charles, Prince of Wales to celebrate the 80th birthday of Elizabeth II on April 21, 2006.
George and his wife Charlotte had 15 children and a happy marriage. Kew Palace is more like a family home than a palace.
Ken and a wax head of George III.
I love this portrait Queen Charlotte, George’s wife, that hangs in the palace.
To us it was fascinating because George III was King at the time the American colonies seceded from England. George III was often accused of trying to keep Great Britain at war with the Colonies, even though his own ministers wanted him to give it up. It became a costly war for England and unpopular with the people. George finally accepted defeat and a peace was negotiated. The King later told John Adams, "I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.”
News From Home
This weekend was the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back. It’s a 188 mile relay race from Logan to Park City. Several members of our family participate nearly every each summer- Curtis, Steve, Andrew, Amy and Molly. This year we added our youngest family member to run- Joseph who is 13, was one of the youngest of the 14,000 runners.
Congratulations to our participants this year- Molly, Amy, Steve, Joseph and one of the drivers and waterboy, Mark!
Our love to all of you!
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
One evening as we were just getting ready to go home from the Family History Centre, a young women asked me if I’d make some scans for her. I said yes thinking it would only take a minute and then we could leave. One hour and 18 scans later I was thankful that I had the opportunity to do the scans for her. She was originally from New Zealand and was living and working in London. She said she had been working on her family history for two years. Her parents roots were in England but her father did not know very much about his family. She said family history had become a passion for her and after coming home each evening she would work on it well into the morning hours. She had gotten her whole family in New Zealand involved- parents, aunts and uncles and cousins. Up to this point, she had done everything online with the premium websites that she had memberships with. She realized that we had some records that she needed to substantiate what she had found. She had done her research well and had on her IPad her Ancestry app showing her family tree and notes on the films she needed to view in order to get the original birth, marriage and death records. It was a really wonderful experience to be able to work with her.
During May two brothers came in to find Jamaican ancestry. Ken found the records they were looking for, and they then decided to search for additional ancestors. He was able to refer them to one of our regular patrons to answer some specific questions he did not know. The great thing about this is how patrons are willing to take time and help each other in their searching. These two brothers stated they were pleased and went away feeling good about their success, their new friends, and a great respect for what the Church does to assist.
As President Hinckley stated regarding this work: "Here center the most sacred of all human relationships," which to us means people helping people.
The Public Affairs, Europe Area Assistant Director for the Church and two British TV producers visited the London Family History Centre to do background research for a possible TV production. They were introduced to the missionaries and some of the patrons. The patrons were asked beforehand if they would be willing to speak to the producer. The visitors spent nearly 3 hours at the Centre with the staff and patrons. Mary, one of our patrons, showed one of the producers how to find records for her parents and grandparents on FamilySearch and printed some images from the census for her. The patrons interviewed explained how they were able to research their ancestors from England, Jamaica and France from the Centre. I think the producers were most interested in how passionate the patrons and missionaries are towards family history. Barbara Robertson and I also shared information concerning the LDS Church in the British Isles and the record preservation being done by the Church.
The producers were touched by the quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley that hangs in the hall coming into our Centre. He said, “One of the distinguishing features of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a belief in the divine nature of the family as an institution ordained of God. Here centers the most sacred of all human relationships. Life is eternal. Love is eternal. And God our Eternal Father designed and has made it possible that our families may be eternal.” I love that quote.
We have a regular patron who comes into the Centre, a very dignified elderly gentleman. He brought in some copies of old maps that show where the bombs were dropped in London during the blitz. I took a picture of the part of the map that shows how the building that stood where our Hyde Park Building is now, took a direct hit from a V-1 bomb.
The black area inside the circle is where our building is now. Black means the building took a direct hit and was completely destroyed. Part of the mews behind our building were also destroyed. The areas shaded with lighter colors weren’t totally destroyed but had to be rebuilt.
The photos above and below are on either side of the Princess Gate mews. The gentleman pointed out how the newer buildings in the mews can be identified by their more modern windows. I took the pictures of the mews from the window by our reception desk. Notice that the homes further down the mews have the original longer windows and in the first and second homes, windows are modern. Homes in the mews (originally stables and carriage houses in the 17th and 18th centuries) are very desirable and expensive. One of these homes is currently on the market for 2.4 million pounds and it only has 2 bedrooms.
Inside the Hyde Park Chapel there is a plaque remembering those people who were killed when the bomb that destroyed this area was dropped.
One of the reasons we love London is because it’s old and has history just oozing out everywhere. Because it’s old, the building contractors, road and infrastructure repair and every kind of refurbishing businesses will never run out of work. About a week after we arrived, Fulham Road, a busy bus route about a block from our flat, had to close because a building being refurbished collapsed.
Everywhere you go there is scaffolding around the buildings. They even have companies that put alarms on the scaffolding. They don’t tear old buildings down here, they take out the insides and build new modern flats inside where they can charge huge flat rentals. Some of these flats sell for several million pounds!
We love our quirky flat but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t had it’s problems. You have to remember that the building we live in is about one hundred and fifty years old so there are bound to be problems, but not all of the problems are associated with age. Our landlady is going bankrupt, so at the moment we aren’t sure who is in charge of the flat. One night at about midnight our house alarm woke us up. As our landlady had never given us a code to use, we had assumed that it was just turned off. We started fooling around with the buttons and the siren came on. It sounded for 15 minutes before it automatically shut off. We were finally able to get ahold of the landlady and she gave us the code. The only problem then was every 45 minutes it would start to go off again until we again entered the code. We spent one entire night taking turns getting up to put in the code. The alarm company wouldn’t help us because we’re not on their contract any longer. We finally called an electrician who cut some wires.
Because we’re in a lower garden flat, we go down stairs to get to our front door. One evening while Jeff and Kayleigh were here, we were getting ready to go out during a pretty severe rainstorm. Ken opened the front door to see water pouring down the steps about to run over into the entry hall. He started bailing and was able to ebb the flow.
Also, while Jeff and Kayleigh were here we smelled natural gas coming from the fireplace in our bedroom. We called the gas company and they came right out. It seems that when the gas was disconnected from that fireplace, it wasn’t done quite properly and there was a small leak. Apparently it wasn’t much to worry about but we were glad the technician tightened things up.
It has been an adventure but we do love the flat.
This is the first time in 25 years that the end of May hasn’t been the close of a school year for me, but it is the end of the school year for our grandchildren. We are so proud of them and their accomplishments- in academics and all their extra curricular activities.
And our future scholar.
Great job guys!
Our love to all of you!
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)