THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
Search for Thirza
by Beth Breinholt
A couple of years ago, my computer went down, taking everything with it, including all of the genealogy files I had stored in it. When my computer was up and running again, the genealogical backup files I had made did not work and so I resorted to re-entering the names and dates from the hard copies. Unfortunately, they were not very complete as far as sources and notes. As I entered over 6000 names, two of the names kept coming back to me: Thirza Angelina Hale and Thankful Lucy Pine. I decided that when the task was completed I would take a hard look at the records of these two women. I did just that, and to my surprise I discovered that they were married to the same man. As I searched further, I noticed that I was a descendant of Thirza and the information was not complete for her. The death date was listed “after 1859″ and that she was buried in Monroe, Utah. I thought the simple fix was to take a trip to Monroe and look at the headstone for myself. I grabbed my willing genealogy coach and “partner” Joy Stubbs, (my sister and avid graveyard haunter) and her husband Jim. The three of us drove to Monroe one day and discovered there was no headstone at all. To this date, there is still no record in the city offices of her burial there. We did find that John Nay Jr., her husband, and Thankful Lucy Pine were buried side by side there, sharing a headstone. Hence the search for Thirza began.
The facts surrounding her life were sketchy, and through the help of numerous cousins and the miracle of the Internet, I slowly pieced together a story of her life. One of the glaring facts that Joy and I saw was that there was very little history written about John Nay Jr. and his wives. We came up with an idea to write that history, just as soon as we found out a little more about Thirza. The different cousins we corresponded with had no further information about Thirza after 1859, and that is the last time we could find her name on a census record. We got a tip that there was one of our cousins out there that “knew more,” if we wanted to try to reach her. The cousin was Joan Nay, who works at Sam Weller’s Zion Bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. I live in South Jordan, Utah, so a simple phone call set up a meeting between us. As we talked, we both discovered that the other had much to offer and we eventually came up with a plan to “write” a whole book about John Nay Jr., Thirza Angelina Hale and Thankful Lucy Pine and their children. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? No. I discovered that Joan had the capability to remember detailed facts about the Nay family and also had many contacts with descendants from that family. Part of this wide dispersion of information has come from her job there at Sam Weller’s, and part of it she was just born with. She had the idea that we should offer a descendant from each of the children of John Nay Jr. the opportunity of writing the chapter on that “child.” With her amazing capabilities and widespread knowledge, plus a lot of divine intervention, we were able to contact people who were willing to do just that.
So, now, this winter of 2002, we have compiled a book of histories, family group sheets, pedigree charts, patriarchal blessings, pictures, descendants lists and more for this family of John Nay Jr. We have had a lot of help from those gone on before, and some of our stories of that help are included in the prefaces. There are several different writers, hence several voices in this book. There are many who doggedly helped gather names for the descendants lists to make them the best we can at this date. The genealogical information contained in this book is as complete and as correct as possible at this date. We realize that as more information comes forth, there will be corrections made and the information included here may and should become a springboard for further research. We have struggled with the perfectionism in all three of the compilers, Joy, Joan and myself, to push ahead and publish even though we want to just look in one more place, make one more sentence a little clearer, or follow one more clue….
Hopefully, reading this book will encourage and inspire others to keep searching, to follow the good and righteous examples of those gone before, and to feel a kinship with those who love us and know us, even though they aren’t of this sphere.
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