A quick note...A few weeks ago, I was quite fortunate to connect with my cousin Barbara via email. Her name kept popping up on FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com trees and I'd heard my father mention her name before. I was getting rather curious about the Debenham, Draisey and Atkinson photos & letters I have so I emailed her to ask a few questions.
Her reply was magnificent. Answers. Lots of them. So many more stories, letters, photos and details that she has been researching and collecting. Then we talked on the phone and I was reminded why I post to this blog. Because there are other people out there like me.
I am one of a growing tribe of genealogy enthusiasts who wants to know more than just the names of our ancestors. More than births, christenings, marriages, children and deaths. More than DNA. I am one of many who want to know the people behind the names and numbers. What was their personality like? What did they do daily? How did they live? Who did they know? What did they see? What did they do for fun? What did they believe in? Who were they?
Barbara and I shared some information about our ancestors, asked and answered questions that led to more questions and started what I'm sure will be a delightful friendship. Discovering Barbara was a nice reminder about why it's important to share all these images and stories. Not because we have to, but because we want to. We are inspired by the lives of those that came before us and not only want to know them, but don't want them to be forgotten. They are the reason we are here today.
First up from the treasure trove of stories Barbara sent me is a 1927 Diary written by Mary Draisey Atkinson on a journey from Salt Lake City, Utah to Nelson, Lancashire, UK.
Mary Draisey Atkinson 1874-1933
Barbara sent me a typewritten copy of the travel diary along with scanned copies of the journal entries and more. I've converted the diary to searchable text for easy reading and archiving.
Mary kept her diary in the back of a book called, All About Going Abroad With Maps and A Handy Travel Diary by Harry A Franck. New York Brentano's Publishers, Copyright 1927. Images below.
(Note: All spelling abbreviations, errors and punctuation were kept true to Mary's original diary and I place paragraph breaks at page turns in the book.)
Place: On the train
Date: May 31, 1927
Left Salt Lake City 9 o'clock Friday May 27 1927. had a very pleasant trip all along the way saw some beautiful scenry had several sing songs on the train and a great many gospel conversations. oh yes· I forgot to say there was a large company at the OSL Depot to see us off. there was about 30 of us altogether Elder Andlin was in charge of our company. we crossed the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and it Brought back to our memory the hardships and trials of the pioneers. the Mississippi river was about 3 times its ordanary size and lots of water all over the Land.
Date: May 31 27
caused by the great flood. we arrived at Montreal about 5 0' clock PM 30th Bro Swifts daughter Gladys was there to meet us we went to her home had, supper and spent a pleasant evening with her husband and family and went to bed about 10:30
Tuesday May 31 we went all over the city and saw some beautiful churches and catherdels they must have cost millions of Dollars. the population of Montreal are nearly all French Catholics and they talk French we did not see above 50 English all together. So I was a Madam or as they say Ma’dam. And if I
wanted a loaf of Bread I would ask for pain. for tea Salada we went and had lunch and went around till we were tired then went home, spent a pleasant evening went to bed about 11 O'cl Wed June 1 we went sight seeing again thro some beautiful scenery to a place called St Josephs Schrine when we first caught sight of it it sure looked beautiful we had to go up 175 steps to the church we went up on our feet but what looks funny to us was to see all the men and women and children too
going up on there knees they knelt on each step and said a prayer, then they would kneel on the next step and say another one and so on till they got up to 95 then they went into the church then they came in and knelt and prayed to some statues and courtsy to some more, then go and kneel in the seat and pray again. They sure looked comical to us, to see them kneeling all up those steps some were dressed in poor clothes and some in silk and satins
one lady I noticed in particular she was dressed beautiful and she had a red silk Parosal and on every step she put her umbrala up then she knelt behind it. another poor lady looked. as thou she had, had her clothes since adam was baby. there was both men and women, when we set in the church 4 men at the back of the building commenced to chant something then a priest all dress in white and gold walked down the aisle with a white statue in his arms and 7 young men dressed in
white gowns and carrying long black thing with long candles alight in them and 2 more at the back holding up the priest long train of white and gold they walked to the back of the church and back again the priest kept turning the images first to one side then the other then they took up the collection then the priest took some water from the feet of the statue of our Saviour and sprinkled it on all those that wanted a Blessing there were standing 3 rows deep all across the church in
front of the alter. they say there has been hundred of people healed there. there was about 100 pair of crutches hung up that they said had come in lame and left their crutches there at the church I guess it was about 20 miles there and it only cost one car fare 7¢ you can transfer 2 times on 1 ticket. went and had lunch walked about some more then went home and went to bed.
Date: 2 June
thursday June 2nd wrote and mailed letters to all my children and Sis Latham went down to the wharf and saw the S.S. Montcalm went on board looked all over it then went home to get ready for sailing Friday 3rd went to bed 11. Friday 3rd got up early got ready took taxie at 9 Ocl 9:30 got on the boat put our things in our room then went on deck and stood there and waved goodbye to gladys and the children, Lillian Mary and Jack. as far as we could see them.
Date: 3rd June
we walked up and down the deck and into the beautiful rooms till 1 :30 then we went into the beautiful Dining room and had a lovely Lunch bought some post folders and sent one to all my children. had a chat with some of the missionaries there at 10 Mis Lela Cutter and her two Brothers Bro Swift myself and Miss Brumnell she is my cabin mate she is very nice but too nice for me she wears
all silk under-clothes, and silk pajamas to bed, and paints and powders to beat the band. she is very nice! we had Dinner at 7 there are about 7 courses served we only had about 4 of them but it was lovely. we are.going to St Larawence river and there is beautiful scenery. houses, trees and lighthouses on each side and lots of small ships but none so large as ours. we passed Quebec about 8:30 pm it is a very old place we saw the mountain General Woolfe scaled when they took the city
the city is built on a hill and sure looked pretty. General Wolf led the English army and General Montcalm the French but the English army took the city both generals were killed in battle we are very near out of the St Lawrance river and will not be very more hours before we will be in the open sea we have not been train sick or sea sick not yet it is nearly time to go to lunch. for much breakfast we had stewed mush prunes fish cream sauce toast rolls strawberries and cream.
Place: Mid ocean
Date: June 6
we got out of the gulf last night great excitement, as there were 2 large ice burgs one on side of the ship, they looked very large thru glasses, have not seen land for 3 days, had an enjoyable time, a picture show was given in the dining room, and held services on the ship conducted by a clergyman of the Church of England, at the close of the sermon he hoped that we would give freely to the Seamans fund, June 7. had horse racing on deck, many of the passengers attended the spat, and beting was freely indulged in, there is a ship in sight called the Alberta she has been in sight for 2 days but is getting away behind now, she started out of Montreal 5 hours before we did she burns coal, and that does not
give such a great heat as oil, this ship burns oil the oil is more regular, and they talk as that is the reason we are getting on to much faster, this afternoon, we had horse racing on deck, which was very interesting to all on board, lots of betting took place, Wed, June 7. Just a glimpse of the Alberta we can only see the smoke. visited the wild beast show at the steerage end of the ship, one young bear is a great favourite of the young crowd, there are 4 raccoons, 2 owls, 2 badgers, 2 wild cats, the bear climbs up a ladys dress she had some job to shake it off, we watched them have their dinner which they seemed to enjoy. (Bro Swift wrote this while I was writing letters)
Place: Mid ocean
Date: June 8
got up took my bath had breakfast went over to the steerage deck to see the wild animals there were 2 wild cats 4 raccoons 6 owls 4 badgers and a little bully bear it is tame and it drinks a gallon of milk a day it jumped up on a lady and she had hard work to knock it down the old wild cat grabbed at me and scared me but of course they are barred in but it sure made me jump came back had dinner then Bro Swift and I went down to the streerge
and had a chat with the passengers told them all about our people showed them some views of Salt Lake and told them what we believed in and asked them to go and hear the Elders preach. we quoted quite a lot of scripture in defence of our gospel. and had a very enjoyable talk. came back saw the horse race had supper and then went to a magic lantern show went to bed about 10:30. June 9th just had breakfast changed some money and got our cards ready for landing in Liverpool.
Place: Out in the ocean
the waves were pretty high and the ship pitched and tossed and I did not feel much like doing anything I was afraid I was going to get sea sick but I am thankful to my heavenly Father that I did not get real sick I could not go to the races and I had to go to bed without supper and they had a lovely concert but I could go I went to bed about 8 O'clock and felt better in Bed Bro Swift went to the concert and then brought
me a bottle of gingerale which made me feel better. I went to sleep. and feel well enough to this morning go to breakfast. Friday 10th here we are on the Irish coast we can see land this morning it sure looks good to us and there are about 100 gulls flying around the ship waiting for there breakfast we are passing some beautiful scenery. we have just been over the steerage side of the ship helping them to sing. there were two little children there put me in mind of Luana and Harold J. they sure have a good time over there saw a little baby 6 week old made me want to see my own little grand babys.