Now that we have a good working timeline (which will continue to be revised), let’s start looking at social history. I am very interested in the Mormon Battalion and would like to start my research into the social history of this year in Levi’s life (1846-1847). As far as I know, Levi did not write much, if at all, about this period in his life. We will rely on the diaries of others to answer our questions.
The first step is to create a research plan. While the key components of the research plan will be similar to that used by genealogists, there will be some differences since we are researching all aspects of an event, rather than a name, date or place. This post outlines the objective and the types of resources I would like to look at. Future posts will delve into each type of resource and create a more detailed research plan.
Objective: Understand what life was like for Levi during the year he enlisted, and for the family he left behind during this same time frame. What challenges did they face? What was daily life like? What political things were happening that influenced their lives?
What I know: Levi enlisted in July 1846 and was discharged in July 1847. He arrived in Salt Lake in late fall/early winter 1847 and married Jane Mathers soon after. The Mormon Battalion was composed primarily of Mormons, but was led by men who were not Mormons. Having just been evicted from their homes in Nauvoo, the Saints were understandably unhappy about being asked to now help that country, but followed the counsel of the brethren to enlist. They were told that their salary would help their families and the pioneers cross the plains and were promised that they would not have to fight a battle. They trekked across the Southwest blazing wagon roads. His father and brother came across the plains in 1847. His mother died in the winter of 1846/7. Apparently some of his other siblings came across the plains separately (and some never did).
Sources I should examine:
- Military service record (available at fold3.com)
- Pension record (available at fold3.com)
- Kindle book and other family documents about Levi, including his family, to see if there is mention of his time in the Mormon Battalion
- Government documents
- JSTOR (archived journal articles)
My plan is to start with the military service record. We will review that more in depth in the next posting.
Are there any types of sources that are not listed above that should be examined?