Alice and David’s Philosophy

David and Alice (Clarkson) Turley

From an article published in Bandung, Indonesia when the Turleys were setting up family history centers there:

The Turleys have both searched for and found their roots.  And guess what?  “Their roots are your roots.   We all stem from a common ancestor – our great-grandfather Noah continuing further back to Adam and Eve.  Ours is a shared ancestry.  We shouldn’t think of it and say, ‘My ancestry, mine, mine, mine.’  We should say, ‘ours, ours, ours.’  The further back we reach, the greater the chorus swells.  We are all brothers and sisters,” stated Alice, the genealogist.

Alice explained her interest this way, “I am the biological blend of two different people, and I have some of my parents’ characteristics – their speech, mannerisms, gestures, attitudes, and so on.  This is one of the reasons genealogy intrigues me, because I wonder how many of my ancestors’ character traits and physical attributes I carry on.  I wish I could find a detailed written and visual account of each person on my family tree.  I am sure it would help me appreciate them more and better understand myself.”

From records that are available, the Turleys have found two grandfathers who fought against each in the American Civil War; an eighty-year-old almost-blind great grandfather whose name appeared differently in three different census records; another cousin, George Washington,  who became the first President of the United States; a grandfather who froze to death after crossing the Platte River in 1856 on his journey West; a grandmother from Ireland who smuggled her nephew in a barrel on the emigrant boat since they couldn’t afford his passage; five Signers of the Magna Charta, including King John; a royal relative from France who died on the “throne” (but not a royal throne!); a Viking ancestor who helped conquer Normandy over 1,000 years ago and started the English royal line through his descendant, William the Conqueror; and finally Anna, the cousin of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Alice believes Arthur R. Basset expressed it well when he wrote, “Ironically, some of our best genealogical information is that concerning our earliest parentage.  Sometimes we forget when reading the early portion of the Bible that we are reading our own family history and that we share a very special relationship with those individuals.  Few of us would think of claiming Iraq as an ancestral homeland, yet that is where  ancestor the Prophet Abraham, was born and reared to early maturity.  Syria remains a foreign country in the minds of many of us, yet our grandmothers Rebecca and Rachel were born there, as was our grandfather Joseph [and his brothers who begat the Twelve Tribes of Israel].” (Ensign, September 1980, p. 9.)  Through our roots, we are citizens of the world, and whatever happens in the world affects our distant cousins.”

David elaborated, “As we contemplate our ancestry and what they have endured that we might be here – as we sense their faith and courage and feel their love for us and our love for them, we begin to comprehend the eternal nature of the family.  We know that each family is unique; nowhere in the world is there a family exactly like ours.  But we also have a shared history and, in a world like ours, families are a powerful anchor.  We agree with Alex Haley, the author of Roots, who said, ‘The family that comes together . . . finds sanctuary that nurtures all of it.  This is important because, quite simply, the family is the reason all of us are here.  From man’s first tottering steps on earth, the family has created life, sustained it and enriched it.  The family is our refuge and springboard; nourished in it, we can advance to new horizons.  In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past and bridge to our future.’”

The Turley family tells stories at conventions and family reunions that raise goose bumps on one’s arms of the outright miracles that aided in their search for their roots.   The father of this unique family summarized their search – an unequaled emotional experience – with a statement made recently.  Paraphrasing Wyndham Robertson, he said, “In view of all we have heard and read, I think it is fair to say our ancestors were generally enterprising, prudent, amiable, and honest.  They were more respected than distinguished, more patriotic than indifferent, and simultaneously conservative and radical.  While a few fell to the depths of worthlessness, more rose to the heights of goodness and success.  They made life great for us and now it is our turn to honor our forefathers by making our homes ones of gratitude, honor, high morals and values, with love for each other and for God.”

Alice and Paul Hokanson, Smith-Mack Family Historian


We want to express our deep gratitude to The Clarkson Genealogical and Historical Research Foundation – we could not have completed this without their generous support!

A PARABLE

Once upon a time, there were three men who, from all outward appearances, looked to be alike.  The three men made a long journey together to a choice mountain spring, filled with the best of all possible cool sparkling water.  The first carried a lone gourd; the second carried a sheep-skin bag; and the third carried a large cask strapped to his back.  Each looked at the other and wondered what kind of traveling companion he had chosen.  At last, when the spring was encountered, each man proceeded to fill the container which he had provided himself with, and seemed perfectly content with its capacity.  They, in the best of spirits, retraced their steps along the trail; each feeling that he was, in all truth, the best judge of the true worth of this spring of mountain water.

You can fill your gourds, sheep-skin bags, or casks with this family history of our shared ancestors.  We hope you will accept is as it is offered, an imperfect but sincere, dedicated effort.

You are your own best judge of its true worth.

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