My Story

My first encounter with family history was when I was about 13. It was told in a blessing that I was given, that I had progenitors, who had not been found and that I needed to find and out about. At the time as a 13 year old, I didn’t think much about it. I was really to young to understand.

It wasn’t until several years later, when I was in my 20’s that the idea of finding out about my family came up again. At the time, I thought I would give my mother a surprise and convert all of her 13 or so legal size binders, about 2 inches thick of family group sheets and pedigree charts to a digital format that she could used to create a GEDCOM file in a program called PAF so she could use them. A GEDCOM is a file format for exchanging genealogical data between different systems. PAF stands for Personal Ancestry File and was a free genealogy management software product provided for free by FamilySearch.

My next encounter with family history was when I received a book of stories from my mother as a gift. The book contained about 500 to 600 pages of stories of my relatives that she had gathered. The first few stories that I read where about my grandfather Veldon Naylor who was a spy during WWII and being behind enemy lines, in Germany, with the charge of locating Hitler. One of next stories I read was that of my great grandmother, who at the age of around 8, left her home in  Southern Utah, with her mother and younger brother and drove a team of horses and wagon to the area Safford and Thatcher, Arizona.

After reading these stories and not really knowing who the others were in the book, life took hold of me as I attended collage, got married, and started a family. It wasn’t until my wife and I were in a reenactment of the Pioneer Handcart Company that trekked across the plans that I picked up that book of stories again. We were as the “Ma” and “Pa” to a group of 8 teenager as they pulled and pushed a hand cart some 17 to 19 miles over a 3 days period. I was looking for a few stories that I could share to inspire the teenagers. The picture below is what our morning started out as and took place on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona.

Then in 2017, I took an Ancestry DNA test and start to play with my DNA matches and building a tree based on what I already knew, which wasn’t much but names. Next I talked my wife into taking a DNA test to see if we may be able to gain some insight into her biological family. Her and her brother David were both adopted by a wonderful couple Duane and Geri who raised them in Tempe, Arizona and then Kanab, Utah. When the test came back, we were both surprised to see a 99% match for a father. At that time she reached out to him on Ancestry but we never heard anything back, more on this later, and we just let it go.

From 2017 to 2019, I just worked on my tree trying to connect my DNA matches and verifying information I knew about my Tolman and Naylor lines. I still didn’t know much about DNA matching at that time. Around the end of December of 2019 and the beginning of January 2020 and the onset of the pandemic, I received a really strong impression that I needed to go back and look at my wife’s DNA and see if I could locate her biological family. That was 4 years ago and I can say that I located her father, and made contact with an uncle on her mother’s side. I will tell the story of finding them in a future blog post.

Since that time, I’ve been obsessed with genealogy and finding the stories of family members and documenting them. Along the way I’ve learned so much about my family, and my wife’s family. The more time I spend in these stories, the more I am draw to my ancestors and the binding of my heart with theirs.

This website is dedicated to my many ancestor, their memories and their sacraficies so I could be here today. I owe it to them to record their stories as I learn about them so they are not forgotten and lost to my posterity and generations to come.