22 December 2012

Mormon Missionaries Diaries - Samoan Mission

My grandma Mataniu often shared with me a few stories of her father in law Opapo Fonoimoana. Other stories of my great grandfather were told to me from uncles, aunties and cousins. I wanted to know a little more about my great grandfather Opapo. So, I gathered all my records I had of him and put them up on a timeline spreadsheet of his life. I was amazed at what I found out. I realized one untouched area I didn't pursue were Mormon missionary journals.

Opapo's birth date is not exact as my grandma and other family sources are all different. In 1890 he was baptized a Mormon in the village of  Fogatuli. I believe that this may be the first actual exact date of Opapo placing him in a certain time and place. He helped the Mormon missionaries in proselyting efforts as well as spoke and conducted in meetings on some occasions.

I came across a website called  Mormon Mission Diaries on the BYU Harold B Lee Digital Collections site.

Sure enough search results of my great grandfather Opapo pulled up in some diaries.

When a result of your search comes up click on the journal to load the book. Look off to the right side of the screen under the tab 'Content' and scroll till you see red text that says how many are found of your search on that page.

I’ve already started reading a few diaries. So, now that’s where my focus will be for a little while.
I believe the journals are from 1801-1896 but don't quote on that. I think the dates change to location you are inquiring about.

I wanted to share this resource with you folks.  A missionary may have baptized or confirmed a member of your family tree. It’s possible they could have mentioned them in their journals. Even if your families are not Mormon these missionaries could have mentioned them as well in their everyday duties on the island.

In your searches you might also try:
-spouse names
-children names
-an event

Keep in mind that spellings may be a little off. The palagi missionaries may not have same spellings as your family names.

Here are a two examples of spellings of my family names in these journals.

Journal spelling                                My grandma’s genealogy spelling
Apapo                                            Opapo
Uuti                                                 Auuti

I would love to hear your experience with the Mormon Missionaries Diaries website. Post in comments below or on the SGG Facebook page.

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