Oct 23, 2012

Herman F. F. Journals Update

-  I have just heard from a distant cousin that they are working on a reprinting of the Journals of Herman F. F. Thorup book titled Dedicated Faith and compiled by Renee Blackburn Jacks.  They are adding a missionary list from the descendants of Herman F. F. and are still collecting information.
-  If you are a descendant please share your name, line you are through and where you served so it can be included in the book!
-  Also...if you want a wonderful copy of these invaluable records please let me know also and I will pass on your information.

Thanks!  - Jerusha

Sep 5, 2012

Dedicated Faith

I have finally finished digitizing the pages to the book compiled by Renee Blackburn Jacks, great granddaughter to Herman F. F. Thorup titled "Dedicated Faith, The Journals of Herman F. F. Thorup, 1879-1929"
I chose to photograph the pages rather than scan them and they are saved at a low resolution to save space. It is not the best, but the book is too large for the binding to hold up to a flat scanner.  But you can read it and that is the important part.  Any family that is interested in having a copy just let me know and I will send you the images.  I will update you if I ever locate more books or a better digital copy.
I have only read over a small portion of the pages so far but am already very moved by the hardship he and his family endured and the strength of his faith.  His experiences are powerful and his words are a great strength for his descendants.  What a blessing he has left us, the opportunity to know him and to be touched by his testimony.  Journal writing has great purpose and powerful influence in the present and the future.  Record your journey.  

Aug 2, 2012

Thorup Family Ties

I found a great website for those descended from Herman August Thorup and Marie Christine Christensen.  This may be old news to most of you.  I have become out of touch with what is available on line lately.
Here is the link http://www.thorupfamilyties.org/
It has stories, biographies, photos and other interesting information available such as family recipes!
Thanks to all for sharing this with us.

Jul 30, 2011

Andrew P. Renstrom's 1923 Passport and Photo

In 1923 at the age of 65, a widow for already 15 years, Andrew P. Renstrom went on a third mission to his native land of Sweden. What an example of selfless loving service this man is. It is very exciting to find his passport for this trip because not only does it include vital information, but it had a physical description and a photo of him at this age and also his handwriting. This is one of my favorite things to study in family history. I love viewing the original records, studying their handwriting (paleography) although I am out of practice now, and deciphering what they themselves wrote and thus revealed to us. The continuous search for more documents in the hope of uncovering another clue to the history of our families is a passion for me. I love the puzzle and collecting the pieces and finally fitting a few of them together. It is very exciting and a driving force within me.

From this document we learn:
in the "State of Utah

County of Salt Lake

I, Andrew Renstrom, a Naturalized and Loyal Citixen of the United States, hererby apply to the Department of State, at Washington, for a passsport.

I solemnly swear that I was born at Viksta, Sweden

on December 30th, 1857; that my father,

Eric Pehrson, was

born in Sweden and is now deceased;

that I emigrated to the United States, sailing from Stockholm about

June, 1873; that I resided 50 years, uninterruptedly, in the United States,

from 1873 to 1923 at Huntsville Utah; that I was

naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Judicial Dist

Court of Utah at Ogden, Utah,

on May 27th, 1882, as shown by the Certificate of Naturalization presented herewith;

that I am the IDENTICAL PERSON described in said Certificate; that I have resided outside the United

States since my naturalization at the following place for the following periods:

Sweden, from 1883 to 1885,

Sweden, from 1889 to 1891,

and that I am domiciled in the United States, my permanent residence being at Huntsville,

in the State of Utah, where I follow the occupation of Farmer.

My last passport was obtained from Have had none on

- I am about

to go abroad temporarily, and intend to return to the United States within 2

years with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein; and I desire

a passport for use in visiting the countries hereinafter named for the following purpose:

Sweden .... Minister of Religion

I intend to leave the United States from the port of New York

sailing on board the Scandinavian - Am. Line on About June 27th, 1923


Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United

States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; So help

me God. Andrew Renstrom

Sworn to before me this 28 day

of April, 1923

John (W. Cl...ty)

Clerk of the US Dist. court at Salt Lake, Utah

(unknown name)"


Age: 65 years Mouth: Medium

Stature: 5 feet, 10 inches, Eng. Chin: pr...ced (pronounced?)

Forehead: High Hair: Light gray

Eyes: Blue Complexion: Fair

Nose: Large sraight (straight?) Face: Med Long

Distinguishing marks Slight scar o...(over?) right eye


April 28, 1923

I, Tillman D. Johnson, solemnly swear that I am a native citizen

of the United States; that I reside at Salt Lake City; that I have known

the above-named Andrew Renstrom personally for 10 years and

know him to be the identical person referred to in the within-described certificate of natural-

ization; and that the facts stated in his affidavit are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Tillman D Johnson

US District Judge Ut

Sworn to before me this 28th day

of April, 1923

John W Cl...ty

Clerk of the US Dist Court at Salt Lake Utah

(same unknown name)

Applicant desires passport to be sent to the following address:

Andrew Renstrom


Weber County, Utah ...?"

Photograph of

Andrew P. Renstrom

at age 65


I, Andrew Renstrom, the person to whom passport No. 280262

was issued on may 3rd by the Secretary of State at Washington, do hereby apply for its

EXTENSION FOR six months

Andrew Renstrom (signature)

Sworn to before me this 22nd day of April, 1924.

R F Fe...d (signature and title of official)

Consul of the United States of America at Stockholm, Sweden.


Amended as requested/as shown by corrections.

Extended for six months, first extension to November 3, 1924."

Mar 2, 2011

History of Gustava Sofia Johnson

History of Gustava Sofia Johnson
from the book Dedicated Faith The Journals of Herman F. F. Thorup 1879-1929 compiled by Renee Blackburn Jacks great granddaughter.

"Gustova Sofia Johnson, Known to the family as Aunt Sofie, was born December 12th 1845 in Kyrkafalla, Brevik, Skaraborg County, Sweden, the daughter of Johannes Jonsson and Kajsa Lisa Andersson. Only little is known about the childhood and youth of her father. He served his term in the Army as required by law. He learned his father's trade, tailoring. He was about 5ft 10in tall, weighed around a hundred and seventy pounds, and was very erect in his posture and in walking. He had blue eyes and dark hair and was a very good looking man. The mother, Kaja Lisa Andersson, was born August 10th or 19th, 1820 In Fagersanna, Ransberg, Skaraborg, Sweden. Her mother died when she was only about 2 years old, so she was raised by an aunt, Maja Jonsson.

Johannes and Kajsa were married in Kyrkefalla July 2, 1842, and to this union there were 8 children born. Anders Gustave, Gustava Sofia, Krtstina Charlotta, Carl Johan, Anna Lovisa, Euima Wilhelmina, Frederich Valdemar, and Peder Dijon. The first six were born in Sweden, and the last two in Denmark. At first Johannes followed his trade of tailoring. In those days it was the custom for the tailor to do his work at the homes of his customers, receiving his dinner and whatever the customer gave him. So his earnings were small, and he had to take up farming to increase his income.

When the Mormon missionaries came to Skaraborg County, Johannes' father, Jonas Nilsson, was the first in his town to open his home as a place where the Elders could preach the new gospel. He was one of the first, if not the first, to join the church. Both of his daughters and a son-in-law were baptised about this same time. Johannes and Kajsa were also converted, but Johannes hesitated about being baptized. Kajsa was more determined, and arranged to be baptized. As she came up out of the waters her husband was standing there waiting to be baptized. They then had the desire to gather to Utah, and the persecution which was waged against them encouraged them to do so. So they sold all they had, moved to Denmark until they could collect on the sales, and make the final arrangements for the trip. Their history tells of the trials, thefts, disappointments and sickness that hindered them. Finally, it was decided that the oldest son, Gustave should come to America alone, and this he did. The rest of the family remained in Denmark, working and saving for their turn to come to Zion. In 1868, Sofia and her sister said farewell to their father and mother and younger brothers and sisters as they sailed for America. This journey was full of trials and hard experiences. They were traveling on the last sailing ship that Mormon emigrants used--the "Emerald Isle." Sickness took the lives of many. But it was a happy reunion as father and mother met Gustave who had made his home in Grantsville, Utah for the past 8 years. The whole family stayed in Grantsville for a while, and then came an invitation to move to Spring City. This then became the new home for the Johnson family. The ground had to be cleared of sagebrush, fences put up, irrigation water to be arranged, and there was plenty to be done.

So it was here at this home in Spring City that the family was living in 1871 when at age 24, and her sister Charlotte, age 22, finally came to Utah. They had saved their money and paid their own way. They arrived at Long Island, New York, July 4th, and celebrated July 24th at a dance in Provo. Here their father met them with a borrowed mule team and wagon and brought them to their new home in Spring City. However, they had to walk all the way from Provo to Spring City as they were so poor they couldn't pull the wagon, baggage, and passengers. But this was another time of rejoicing, as most of the family was together again. Gustave stayed in Grantsville, and spent the rest of his life there. Charley was away working, and did not locate at Spring City, though he visited there. When he finally married he settled first at American Fork, then Springville, Utah, and then in Hobble Creek canyon near Springville, all in Utah County. In 1897 he moved to Downey, Idaho. He married Elenor Dorcas Kendall at Springville, Jan. 24, 1877. They were blessed with 12 children and nine grew to maturity. He died Dec. 11, 1937, and was buried in the Downey Cemetery Monday, Dec. 13, 1937.

Sofia had previously met a young man in Denmark named Herman Frederick Ferdinant Thorup. He too had come to America with his family, and they met again in Provo at the 24th of July dance already mentioned. They were married May 28, 1872 in the Endowment House. The couple made their home first in Provo, and then moved to Salt Lake City where Herman was a florist at 752 East and 8th South.

Sofia and Herman became the parents of four children-Marie Josephine, Albert Moroni, Christine Sofie, and Sofie Christine. Sofia died Oct. 3, 1878, the result of incompetent care by the midwife at the birth of their fourth child. Three children survived but all were carried away in the 13 days in December 1884 in a diphtheria epidemic. After Sofia's death, Herman had left the baby, Sofie Christine, with the Grandparents in Spring City while his own parents cared for the two older ones. But when he remarried Herman wanted his children together again, regardless of the pleadings of the grandparents to have the children remain with them. The grandmother always felt if he had left the baby there, perhaps at least one might be saved."

Feb 20, 2011

HNPP - A Genetic Condition to Watch For

Hereditary Neuropathy with liability to Pressure Palsis

Almost two years ago my oldest daughter who was six at the time suddenly lost some of the use of her left hand. It was instant and without apparent injury.

She could not lift her her hand at the wrist, could not make a fist, could not spread her fingers and had a very weak grip. I thought she had just slept on her hand funny and that it would come back. She later told me that it had actually stopped working the night before when she was listening to her Aunt read her a story. She was doing nothing at all, just resting her head on her hands propped up on her elbows It didn't improve and upon visiting the doctor he rushed us to Primary Children's Hospital for immediate tests which all came back normal. A relief, but she was obviously not normal so the tests continued. Over several months she had X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs with and without contrast, ultrasounds, a nerve conduction test, numerous physicals, and so on. All that was determined was that she did have nerve damage and they had no idea why. We were so sick of doctors and tests with no answers and she wasn't getting any better. One symptom she did not have was pain, thankfully. There was mention of a possible genetic nerve disorder being the cause by the pediatric neurologist. She said that this disease allows the nerves to be injured more easily but I completely dismissed it. She wasn't DOING anything. How could that injure the nerves, more vulnerable or not. Plus, I had never heard of anything at all like this happening in my family or my husband in his. The only option they gave us for help was surgery on her elbow to move her nerves. My husband and I were not comfortable with this especially when it wasn't clear why or how the nerve damage occurred and requested that we try physical therapy. We were referred to a wonderful group of therapists and the actual type she received is called occupational therapy. Her therapist began aggressive treatments. We would visit several times a week at first where he taught her at home exercises to do and he would shock her muscles in the hand and arm to force contractions. She had almost complete atrophy at this point. Her progress was very slow in the beginning but once she regained some muscle her movement and ability improved very quickly and within a few more months she had complete recovery except for a small section of her arm that still has no feeling. It was bizarre but we were very thankful and thought we were done with that. Almost exactly a year after the first injury she was playing a boxing game on the wii when suddenly she lost strength in her right hand, arm, shoulder and back. I immediately took her into the therapists and he was shocked by the second injury and even more that it was with the other hand. He did some work with her but said we needed to go back to the doctors. I really didn't want her to go through all of that again but we went back to the pediatrician who sent us back to the neurologist. To my surprise, the neurologist said with almost complete certainty that it was the genetic nerve disease causing the problem. I had expected more confusion but this second injury had brought more clarity. All she needed was a blood test to confirm and we would go from there. I took down the name of the disease this time and began my own research. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there and because it is so rare in the general population, most doctors have not even heard of it. This is the reason it took so long to get it diagnosed and is also the reason many people with this disease get improper treatment if any at all and will often go undiagnosed. It is rare in the general population but anyone that has it will find it very common in their family. This is because you cannot be a carrier of this disease. You either have it or you don't. If you do, there is a 50% chance that you will pass it on to each child. Since our daughter was confirmed to have this disease, it meant that either my husband or I did have it, and then one of our parents and then one of theirs, and so on, not to mention any number of extended family members that inherited it as well. I was able to find one good website with information that has just been compiled by those who also have experience with this disease hnpp.org After studying these pages I came to understand how varied in severity this disease can be and that it can affect any part of the body. I came to recognize the symptoms and once I had learned what questions to ask I began interviewing our families about their related medical history. I was amazed at how easily I was able to find those with the disease. Even my own husband's injuries, which he had had, we thought were not at all connected until we began studying about HNPP. For example, my husband had weakness in his arms when he would hold them above his head. This finally bothered him enough that he went to a doctor which referred him to a therapist. The therapist did some testing on him and was very confused by it. He said that based on where he lacked movement and strength he had all the symptoms of someone who had torn their rotary cuff except he had no pain. He gave him some exercises to do which helped and that was the end of it. An example of one of his milder symptoms is when he gets his blood pressure checked his entire arm goes numb for about five minutes. Most people who are bothered enough by an HNPP related nerve injury to see a doctor never make it far enough along to get to a neurologist, which are the only doctors that would even know to look for that as a cause. This disease is not too bad if you must have a disease. It is labeled as a nuisance disease because the injuries are usually mild in nature and the weakness is often regained over time as the nerves heal. It also doesn't usually express in children. Because our daughter has already had two "severe" injuries the neurologist suspects she has a severe case of the disease. It is not life threatening and if you know what to watch for and are careful in your activities, you can avoid a lot of injuries.

Who Has It?:
We have learned it has been passed through the Renstrom line at least as far back as Andrew Renstrom. There is even one line of cousins that is already aware of this disease and had already been tested and confirmed to have HNPP. I have not been able to trace it beyond but Andrew's grandson believes these nerve problems were common in the village he came from in Sweden.

Why Should I Watch for it?
Surgery will not help a nerve injury in someone who has HNPP and most likely will only cause more nerve damage. It is important to be aware of this family condition to potentially prevent unnecessary tests, doctors bills, surgeries and injuries.

How Does Having HNPP make nerves more susceptible to Injury?
The myelin coating that covers the nerves acts as a rubber band and coating to keep them protected and in place. With HNPP the myelin has lost its "elasticity" and once a nerve is stretched, it is left exposed and vulnerable. Normal daily activities can cause nerve injury to someone with this disease.

How Do I Prevent an HNPP Related Injury?
The nerves being extended too far, worn from repeated movement, or have too much pressure applied can cause injury. As a mother this is frustrating because it sounds like there is no way to protect my daughter. But the best way is to avoid repetitive movements by changing up what you are doing often, avoid pressure by changing how you are resting or sitting often, and avoid over stretching by not pushing your body to the limits of its ability.

I am not a doctor and am simply sharing what I have learned through our experiences with our family and from my research and our daughter's doctors. Each person will vary greatly on how their body reacts to stress placed on the nerves. If you do have this disease, get to know your limits and do not push them. I wanted to put this information out there so any possible family members that may have related symptoms can get properly diagnosed.

Hollis Done Smith 1922-2011

My Grandfather died January 30, 2011 at the age of 88 due to complications related to a fall in his home. His father died when he was only an infant and he and his brother and sister were raised by their mother and grandparents. He is one of the Smiths from Smithfield Utah and we spent a few family reunions camping in the woods up there. I remember my Grandpa walking us along the creek where he used to play, the fields where he used to work with his Grandfather and to an old barn falling over that belonged to him. They were very poor and worked terribly hard for many years, but because of this hard work they were eventually blessed with enough money for his mother to purchase a large home in Smithfield. She moved her parents in with them to thank them for all the help they had given her with her little family. The family was always very self reliant and she kept a large garden in their back yard and worked for many years at the local post office. There were times of plenty and times with very little but they made it through and she raised a fine family. My grandpa served in the Navy during WWII and after served as a missionary in the North Eastern parts of Texas, the same area where my parents later settled and I was raised. One of my brothers married the granddaughter of a man that had helped house Grandpa Hollis while he was serving there and they named their first son Hollis after him. After his mission he married my very beautiful and accomplished grandmother Florence. Together they had eight children which they raised in the Salt Lake valley. My Grandpa worked for Union Pacific Railroad most of his life and my own father for a little while. I still smile whenever I see the UP symbol. My grandpa was very tall and always spoke softly and with kindness. He had an easy smile and a quiet peace about him. He was a hard worker and always serving others. He loved spending time with his family and always enjoyed a family musical concert. Grandpa is very loved by all the family and will be greatly missed.