Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I posted a sped-up version of the Book of Mormon more than a year ago and have had many people download it and comment about how much it improved their listening experience. After many requests, I’m also posting the faster New Testament, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine & Covenants.

You’ll have to be a very active listener, but the faster speed means that you won’t be falling asleep listening to these scriptures! These are all mp3 files in a zipped folder, so you’ll have to download them and extract the mp3s from the folder to listen to them.

Of course, you can speed up any audio while using VLC media player and other mp3 software, but this might make it easier for some of you, so I’ll post them here.

Faster Doctrine &

Faster New

Faster Pearl of Great

Okay, this is the last Levi Jackman post for a while, I promise. In the Church History Library’s online collections is a photo of my ancestor, Levi Jackman. It’s higher quality than anything I’ve seen before, but not the resolution I really would have liked. Oh well. So after having attempted some minor photo colorization projects in the past for books I’ve published, I decided to get serious. I watched several tutorials and read several pages that gave instructions on how to properly colorize a black and white photo to make it appear lifelike. The following image is my first attempt, but I think it turned out well enough that I will keep working on it. We’ll see. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to help me feel like I know him a little bit better.

Each picture can be viewed in full size by clicking on the image. The images can be downloaded by right clicking and selecting “Save as.”

Original Black and White Image

Levi Jackman B&W


Colorized Version

Levi Jackman Colorized


Closeup of his face

Levi Jackman Colorized Bust

As you can see, I’ve been on a Levi Jackman kick lately. While I was at the Church History Library, I discovered a journal under the call# MS6807 which contained some notes from his time working as treasurer for the Salt Lake School District No. 16. After the school notes, however, was another few pages that were written as part of his life sketch, but were not found by whoever transcribed the original document. The life sketch is posted hosted many places online, including The Book of Abraham Project, a BYU site. The sketch is the first document on that page, followed by an incomplete attempt to pen an autobiogrpahy. The sketch ends in March of 1848 when they were in the middle of their first winter in Utah. Here are the last few entries:

On the 12th of March, a company of seven men started for Winter Quarters with the mail. Ammi was one of them. It was a hard and hazardous undertaking. Over one thousand miles to go at this season of the year, without an inhabitant only at Bridger and Laramie, liable to lose their way in the mountains or on the plains or to be killed by the Indians. But the mail must go. I felt bad for him under such circumstances but I believed the Lord would preserve them although they might have to suffer much.

Both did take place. They narrowly escaped death by the Indians, by freezing, and by starvation; yet they got through alive and were joyfully received by the Presidency and all the saints; I felt rather lonely for a while not having any connections within 1000 miles. Yet in the main I enjoyed myself well.

The sketch abruptly ends here, though the document I found continues the story for a few months.  I will post the pertinent part of the document here, and exclude the school notes. The images will be available for download soon.

Lost Pages of Levi Jackman’s Life Sketch

I have heard of men in the Revolutionary war who were so reduced by hunger that they often thought of the swill pail they left at home and wished that they would have the privilege of taking the crusts of bread and potato skins then it contained and with it fill their empty stomach. I remember having feeling of pity for them, but I can say that many a times I should have been glad of that chance but could not have it, and so it was with many others. The entrails of the cattle that were killed were eagerly sought for to eat, I have taken cattle feet and after burning off the hair I would boil them with the skins on as well as I could and was glad to get such to eat. Others would kill wolves and eat them. Some became so weak they could hardly walk. On March 14th Brother Robert Pierce invited me to board with him for a while, which offer I gladly embraced, and may God bless them for their kindness to me. Plowing had been done every month this winter.

March 24th This morning a snow storm commenced from the north, it was not cold and melted considerably yet it lay 6 or 8 inches deep.

March 25th The council repealed the Price Law finding that some were not willing to be restrained while others would do any thing that became duty for them

April 2nd A skeptical council was called to take in to consideration the situation of the destitute for many had nothing to eat. The calls on the council and Bishops were many and pressing. Some that could part with a little was unwilling to because of the imprudence of some that were destitute. For some it was said did not take enough when they started, as much as they were required to. Some traded their flour to the Indians for robes, deer skins, etc. Some, as long as they had any thing, would make feasts, have parties, etc. and others were very wasteful. Those that acted wisely and prudently did not feel hardly willing to divide their living with those that had acted so unwisely, yet there were those of the Battalion and a part of the pioneers that were destitute and were not to blame. Yet it would not do to let any starve while anything remained to eat.

It was finally decided that Bishop Hunter and Lewis receive all the property that those that made application had that was not strictly necessary for their immediate use and furnish provision with it for them, and if that plan should prove insufficient then another means must be resorted to, and by this means some provisions were obtained.

The storm above alluded to continued some 6 ody (?) days either in snow or rain. Our roofs being flat and covered with poles and dirt, it was but a poor shelter in a long storm, they soon began to leak badly. On the 2nd night of the storm the most of the people had to sit up the most of the night and shelter themselves and children the best way they could. The next morning the beds and other things perfectly wet and the ground floors were a bed of mud, a number of the houses on the low land gave way and fell, yet little complaining was heard from anyone. The weather soon became and the mud dried up and we began to feel as though we should live again.

April 8th In the morning a heavy snow commenced from the North, it snowed nearly all day though not cold and soon cleaned off storm.

April 19th Brother Pierce and I started to go to Provo, a distance of some fifty miles south, to get some fish. We passed through some fine country, and some that did not appear to be worth much. We did not succeed in getting any fish. Our carriage turned over twice. The first time was in going up and I lamed my foot. The next time was in a creek on our return. I got thoroughly wet and took a bad cold. We got back the third day.

On the day that we started Brother Grant and Carrington and four others took a small boat made for that purpose and went down Jordan River to the Salt Lake on an exploring campaign. They returned after an absence of six and reported that there was no timber on the Island, and no fish in the lake. The deepest water they found was 13 feet, but mostly very shoal, they had to drag the boat in many places on sand for lack of water.

The Indians brought in some roots called segoes, and exchanged for some things they wanted. The roots were about as large as the end of the finger and are good eating and healthy.

Up to Apr 20th we have had sufficient rain to keep the ground moist and crops took well. Much anxiety was felt for the return of the company that went to Call, they having been expelled six weeks ago and no word from them.

May 8th Snow storm today, frosty morning from the first to the tenth.

On the 10th, a part of the Call [California] company arrived, the remainder came in about ten days after. They had had a hard time, they had killed and eat some of their horses before they got through to Call [California]. They had brought two hundred cows on the credit of the Church and gave their obligation for 930, so payable in one year from date. They lost more than half of them before they got back here. Many of their horses were killed by the Indians which prevented getting many of the packs through, consequently the most of the of the seeds were lost.

May 18th. The teams commenced to start back to meet the emigration. They started at different times as they could get ready. Our crops now looked fine and we looked forward to a day not far distant when we could gather and eat our fill, but oh how uncertain all things in this life. While we were full of hope and expectation, the crickets like a mighty hoard (?) came down from the mountains and spread themselves over all the land and commenced a work of general destruction. We strove to drive or kill them but all in vain. But like a powerful army they went from conquering unto conquer. They would cut the corn as a very small thing, and while we’re struggling for life another calamity if passable came upon us.

May 21 and 22 we had a little frost, in the morning of the 28th we found the frost this morning had killed nearly all the beans and vines and most of the corn that the crickets had not yet destroyed. This was a time to try men’s faith. The prospect of raising a crop was now very small. To think of returning to the states was out of the question, for we had not one quarter of teams enough left to go with and not one quarter enough provisions to last through and in fact we had “No skill to fly, no power to save.” God only could protect us and we put our trust in Him, and we felt safe. About one week after the crickets commenced their work of destruction, the Lord sent, as it were, clouds of seagulls from the Lake and they went direct to the place where the crickets were and [commenced] a war of extermination. They would fill their [throats] and then heave them up, then fill and empty again and would continue till a little before sunset. They then went to the Lake. In the morning they would return again, and so they continued until the crickets were destroyed.

Some corn and beans being left of our seed, it was put in, and with what there was left of the first crop we began to hope it was enough to sustain life to another harvest.

Although hundreds of acres of grain was destroyed, yet some remained. I had six acres put in but all was lost. Brother Pierce’s provisions began to get scarce and I concluded not to burden him any longer, so I went by myself again. I got some beef and lived on that for a while. Soon after this, Brother Love let me have the use of a cow that gave about three quarts of milk per day which was of great use to me. I have worked many days having only three drinks of porridge per day. The (?) having dried up considerably. Bread was almost out of the question with many of us. About the eighth of June, Capt. D. D. Davis [D. C. Davis} arrived from Call [California] with twenty two of the battalion men.

We had some frosts at different times until the middle of June. July 1st we began to have some green peas and to cut some wheat which was much needed. Brother Love, Chery, Roundy, and some five others had all the time dealt out to the destitute as long as they had any, on the principle of saints, while some few others were of a little different turn. These were days well calculated to draw out men’s disposition. By the middle of July we began to have considerable bread which gave all much joy who had been without for some months, as well as others in this place.

August 6th. About 10am, messengers arrived from the east bringing letters and documents from the camp on the road. This gave joy to us all. They informed us that the camp will arrive about the middle of September and that the saints in them had been highly blessed.

I got no letters which was quite a disappointment to be but I consoled myself by thinking that my letters would come with the camp.

August 10th. This day was set apart to have a harvest feast. A large commodious bowery was erected for that and other meetings. Everyone brought something of such as they had to make the dinner which was accomplished in good style, much of which was of the first fruits of the valley. It exceeded anything could have been thought passable in this desert and far-off land.

We had a fine liberty pole raised with a flag at the top, next below was a bundle of wheat, next a bundle of barley, then a bundle of oats, all of which was raised amid the roar of Canaan and the shouts of the people with vocal and instrumental music.

Our flag was not stained with any national device, but it was pure and white, and proudly floated in the pure, clean, healthy northern breeze, while tears of joy filled the eyes of the beholder. The people then assembled in the bowery and the following song was sung which was composed by P. P. Pratt for the occasion.

 Called the Harvest Song

1. Let us join in the dance, let us join in the song

To the Jehovah the praises belong.

All honor all glory we render to thee

Thy cause in triumphant, thy people are free

2. The Gentiles oppressed us the heathens with rage

Combined all their forces our hosts to engage

They plundered and scattered and drove us away

They killed their chief shepherd, the sheep went astray

3. Full long in the desert and mountains to roam

Without any harvest without any home

They’re hungry and thirsty and wary and worn

They seemed quite forsaken and left for to roam.

4. But lo in the mountains new sheep folds appear

And a harvest of plenty our spirits to cheer

This beautiful valley is a refuge from woe

A retreat for the saints when the scourges o’erflow.

5. The States of Columbia to atoms may rend

And mobs all triumphant bring peace to an end

The star spangled banner forever be furled

And the chains of a tyrant encircle the world

6. The storms of commotion distress every realm

And dear revolution the nations o’erwhelm

Though Babylon trembles and thrones cast down be

Yet here in the mountains the righteous are free.

 After singing and prayer and appropriate speeches were made and dinner over the tables cleared off and benches removed, dancing commenced. About fifty couples could got on at a time, and this continued the remainder of the day. They gray-headed, the middle aged, and the youth all in one common course of rejoicing and pleasure. This day will never be forgotten by those that were there while life remains with them.

About the first of September a few of the saints arrived and much anxiety was felt for the safe arrival of the remainder.

As provisions were sure to be scarce for the next season, and as I had nothing, nothing but corn to depend on for food, I thought I would go on to the Indian camp some 25 miles distance and swap some green corn for some sarvis berries. Brother Huntington and his son and I took pack horses and loaded them with green corn and started on. Went about ten miles and camped. A negro man who had been living a long time in the mountains, and who had been in this place a few weeks, had agreed to go with us, but he not being quite ready, we started on. Next morning we found that he had gone by us [at] night. We concluded that he intended to slip in ahead of us and get the trade. We went on and when we came to the Indian camp we found that they had gone. We found the negro’s horse standing in the tall grass and we supposed that he was sleeping near them, he having traveled all night. We saw that he had failed in his plan, and being willing that he should sleep on, we went ahead and left him sleeping. Feeling a little poetical, I composed the following lines.

 1. O Niggi are you sleeping yet

Tis time to be awakening

Or we will all slip by you quick

The plums we will be taking

2. O Niggi did you drive all night

The hours were long and dreary

Sleep on and take your needed rest

While we go on so cheerily

3. O Niggi we are wide awake

We took out time for snoozing

We do not wish for you to wake

We have no time for loosing

4. When we get to the Indian camp

and buy them out all empty

We’ll tell them Nigg is on his way

With good green corn a plenty

 About dark we came to the Indian Camp. They were very friendly. The chief took us into lodge and treated us kindly. The next morning we traded our corn for dried sarvis berries. Perfect order prevailed while trading. No one crowded one another till he was through his trade. When all was done the Indians started on and we started for home. Our berries turned to good account to us for food.

And here once again the sketch ends abruptly. I still have about 15 documents in the Church History Library’s archives to review. Keep your fingers crossed that we find even more of Levi’s life story!

When I was at the Church History Library I discovered a journal by Levi Jackman that I had not heard of before, one that documented two of his missions. The first was from Missouri to Kirtland in 1835, the second was from Nauvoo to the Alton, Illinois, area in 1844. The second mission was cut short by the death of Joseph and Hyrum. The events of the journals had been condensed by Levi Jackman and included in his first attempt at an autobiography, titled “A Short Sketch of the Life of Levi Jackman.” However, as I compared the two, I realized that there were many interesting and historical details that were included in the Journal but left out of the autobiographical sketch. I scanned the microfilm images, transcribed the 100+ pages of his journal, and set it side-by-side with his autobiographical sketch.

This treatment of my ancestor’s journal and autobiography won’t be of much interest to most people, and probably not even most descendants, but for a few, it may prove enlightening and helpful. The following PDF files contain the side-by-side comparison and the original document images, hosted in two places (some have had trouble in the past downloading from this site).

PDF files hosted on

Levi Jackman Journal Comparison

Levi Jackman Journal Images

Hosted through Google Drive:

Two PDFs and separate JPGs


For the benefit of those who may be searching for information on Google, I’ll include the entire text of the journal below, so Google can index it and provide information in search results.

Levi Jackman Journal, MS 8362

Read the rest of this entry »

As part of my work in genealogy, I often created high-quality large-format pedigree charts for clients or relatives. These charts measured 18×24 inches, and featured seven generations of ancestors. They’re not the colorful fan charts, or the data-heavy wall charts you see elsewhere. These are simple but classy charts to be framed and hung on the wall for many years.

For the last several years, I’ve had requests from many friends and family to share the file with them so they could create their own charts for themselves or others. Unfortunately, my base file was created in Illustrator, and most people don’t have that on their computers, so either my wife or I ended up typing in all the names, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Ufda.

So, now I’ve tried to build the poster as a customizable PDF form. Anyone is free to use this form to create their own seven generation charts for themselves or their family (if it works). Here are some things you may want to be aware of:

  1. Because of the font used for the names, you will need to enter either one or two spaces at the BEGINNING of the name field to get it to line up right. This is because Acrobat cuts off the left side of the font’s flourishes.
  2. The birth, marriage, or death fields can be erased if needed, for instance, if someone has not died.
  3. The font will shrink if you type in text that extends beyond the field. It is recommended for uniformity that you abbreviate middle names or shorten names when possible to provide a clean appearance. This chart is more about a clean presentation than full genealogical completeness.
  4. There are some examples of how the dates and places COULD be written. This is the format I have used, and it has suited me fine. Do whatever you would like.
  5. There are several different versions. The primary version begins with one person and traces their ancestry. The other versions show two or more children of a couple, and are intended to display the ancestry of a family. Use whichever suits you.
  6. You SHOULD be able to save the forms and continue where you left off. SHOULD is the operative word here. Some systems, particularly Acrobat Reader 8 and below, will not be able to have this functionality. Use caution, and maybe do a little testing before you try this out to make sure it saves correctly on your system.
  7. The forms come with no guarantees. These may not work on your system. I’m offering them for free here, and you get what you pay for! If something isn’t working, let me know and I’ll try to fix it, but I’m no PDF-form-making wizard, I just learned this stuff yesterday (and I’m not joking!).

If you see this and think to yourself, “Man this looks great, but I would like a different background, or a little adjustment here or there,” no fear, I DO have the ability to change some of this stuff, and could do so for a small donation if you felt so inclined. I also provide genealogical services through Shoebox Genealogy, and could do a little research for you to try to help verify or expand your data.


Each of these files is about 26 megabytes, and is available for download through google drive. I would not recommend OPENING them in your browser, DOWNLOAD them to a location on your computer, then edit them from there. It’s a little safer and easier that way and it ensures that you’ll have full functionality from Adobe Reader. Oh, and by the way, you’ll need Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader installed to use these.

7 Generations – One person in primary position

7 Generations – 2 kids

7 Generations – 3 kids

7 Generations – 4 kids

7 Generations – 5 kids

7 Generations – 6 kids


Okay, so you have your data now. It’s saved in your file. You’re ready to print. There are a few ways to do this.

  1. The first way is to take your saved PDF file to a local printer, where they should be able to print directly from the PDF without any issues. All the fonts and the background image are embedded in the file, so the printer should do just fine. I used FedEx for years, and it was about $25-$30 to print one chart. Since then, I’ve discovered that most Costco photo centers can print these for about $5-$10, and the quality is better. BUT, I haven’t tried taking them the PDF. You’ll need to call ahead to make sure they can accept the PDF format for printing.
  2. The second way is to “print” the PDF form to another PDF. This locks in all the data, and essentially provides a more standard document to print from. BUT, you’ll need a quality PDF printer installed on your computer, and you’ll need to adjust the paper size, so it doesn’t try to give you six letter sized pages with a part of the image. This can be a little tricky if you’re not computer savvy, so try the first method instead.
  3. For optimum compatibility, save the form as a JPG file using the full Adobe Acrobat software, use an online PDF to JPG converter (there are dozens, just google the term), or convert it using Photoshop or another image editing software. Try to get around 300dpi, and keep it at the native 18×24 inch size. The file will likely be big, but this is the easiest format for most untrained print-center employees to work with.

Well, there you go. Head out to Walmart and buy a simple little frame and hang it on your wall. Once it’s printed, send me a photo so I can see how it turned out. Good luck!

Alright, alright, so there’s been THOUSANDS of you who have tried to download the LDS Audio files I have uploaded here, and a large portion of you are now getting errors with the zip files. It seems the hosting service or the download process is corrupting the file. Not cool.  Don’t worry though, I think I’ve fixed the problem. I hope.

I have now uploaded all the files to Google Drive and made the files public. You can now download only the specific episodes you want, or the whole folder, or portions of a folder, or even just listen to them online without downloading them. Google is cool like that. There’s two ways to do it:

  1. If you have a google account, click on the links below to bring up the folder containing all the files. Add the folders to your google drive by clicking the “Add to Drive” button (if you’re already logged in). After they’re added to your drive, you can easily download them in groups, batches, or singly, then either leave them in the drive or remove them, your choice.
  2. If you don’t have a google account or don’t want to add them to your google drive, you can still download each file singly or listen to them online.

So here are the links to the folders on Google drive. Please let me know if you still have problems downloading the files:


Roundtable Discussions

Discussions on the Old Testament

Discussions on Isaiah (Insights into Isaiah)

Discussions on Our Savior in the Gospels

Discussions on Acts to Revelation

Discussions on the Book of Mormon

Discussions on the Doctrine and Covenants

Discussions on the Pearl of Great Price

Sped Up Scripture MP3s

Sped Up Book of Mormon

I hope you all enjoy these as much as I have. So far I’ve been able to listen to the discussions on the BoM, PoGP, and D&C, and the Sped Up BoM. I’m almost through with “Our Savior in the Gospels,” and will hit the “Acts to Revelation” section next. I’m definitely learning something new each day on my commute, which is more than I could say when I was just listening to the radio!

I’ve also added the PDF files for the scriptures that I’ve also posted on this site. Here’s the link to that directory:

Wide Margin Scriptures PDFs

Happy studying!

JAN 2014 EDIT: These links will still work for some of you, but to resolve many of the issues people were having with downloading these, I have uploaded them to Google Drive. See the new links HERE.

So there’s been hundreds of you who have downloaded the BYU Roundtable Discussions, a massive file including almost 5 gigabytes of MP3 audio files.  I’ve loved listening to them, but some of you have been unable to download such large files.  So I’ve made several smaller files that will allow you to download just the files you want.

(If they try to open and won’t download, right click on the following links and select “Save As” to save them to your hard drive)

Discussions on the Book of Mormon

Discussions on the D&C

Discussions on the Old Testament

Our Savior in the Gospels

Discussions on Acts to Revelation

Discussions on the PoGP

Hopefully these work better for some of you. We’ll see!