News Release: 4 November 2016
Contributed by Derek John Tolman
Effective 4 November 2016, the Thomas Tolman Family Organization’s new website is officially released as the new “virtual family home.” This action follows the sale of the Thomas Tolman Family Genealogy Center in Bountiful, Utah this past May. The genealogy center served the family for the better part of four decades. Since its dedication in 1978, the center served as not only a place to preserve our family history and genealogy records but also a place where cousins could gather to work on family history, increase appreciation for their ancestors, and find their kindred dead and give them the opportunity to accept the saving ordinances of the temple. Now that the family genealogy center is sold, the new gathering place for cousins to come together is the Thomas Tolman Family Organization website.
The primary focus of the website is two-fold. First, we hope this will be a place where cousins can have their hearts turned to their ancestors by learning more about the stories that shaped their lives. Second, we hope a greater appreciation of our family heritage will motivate cousins to get more involved in genealogy and family history work. The “Get Involved” section of the website is a call to action that includes creating your own family organization, indexing family history records, preserving and sharing your story, helping the organization to preserve our ancestor’s stories on FamilySearch, and doing genealogy research to find lost ancestors to give them the opportunity to accept the blessings of the temple.
The date of the website’s release marks the birthday of William Alvin Tolman who was born on 4 November 1879. William Alvin was one of the many descendants of Cyrus Tolman who settled and lived much of their lives in the Oakley/Marion area of southern Idaho. The “Our Ancestors” section of the website features a Story Gallery of inspiring ancestor stories and Places They Settled pages which contain interactive maps that cousins can explore to learn more about their ancestors. Thanks to the leadership of Kay Badger and the help of Loraine Tolman Pace and many others, the website begins with a focus on ancestors that settled in the Oakley/Marion area. Kay gathered family history records, did extensive research, conducted several interviews, and made a number of visits to the Oakley/Marion area to make these wonderful stories available to cousins on our website. Over the next two years, more stories and interactive maps will be added for Tooele, Bountiful, Brigham City, and Honeyville, Utah along with Chesterfield, Idaho which were all areas where the descendants of Cyrus, Judson, and Benjamin Tolman settled. The “Our Ancestors” section also features an interactive timeline that traces the family organization’s roots from Thomas Tolman in England in the 1600s to Cyrus, Judson, and Benjamin Tolman who came west with Brigham Young’s 1848 company and eventually founded the Thomas Tolman Family Organization in 1903.
The new website maintains the features of our previous website that was established and maintained by our cousin Trent Larson. These features include information on the organization’s history, Coat of Arms, Executive Board, by-laws, strategic plan, news releases, social media, and a family store with free downloads and family publications for purchase. Trent Larson is also credited with choosing the design and look of the new website’s home page.
To establish the new virtual family home, we turned to another cousin, Trent Badger, and his technical expertise with WordPress and website design. Through a number of technical features, Trent has brought to life the stories of our ancestors that allow cousins to explore their family heritage including vignettes from Thomas Tolman Family Organization: A One-Hundred Year History by Loraine Tolman Pace. These can be found throughout the website in the Blast from the TTFO Past picture galleries. From the website, cousins can work on their own family history by downloading any of several family history tips. They can also join groups to work with other cousins to contribute to the goals of the family organization.
Finally, the website also works in concert with the Thomas Tolman Family Organization social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Beginning in January of 2017, the organization will release new content to the website and family social media sites on a regular basis. Every month a new story will be released on both the first and third Sundays, any news releases will be published on the second Sunday, and a family history tip or get involved activity will be featured on the fourth Sunday. We invite cousins everywhere to gather with us at the new virtual family home which is now open 24/7 via desktop or mobile device from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.
© 2016 Thomas Tolman Family Organization. All Rights Reserved