Mountain Genealogy Retreat

Last year I started something new – a monthly overnight genealogy retreat held at my home through the good weather months.  I love to teach genealogy, so this was so much fun for me.  There were 30 women and teens who joined me in groups of 3 to 12!

Connie Ward girl with a past genealogy retreat Eden Utah journaling life story family history research organization

One of our retreat groups taking a break!

I edited and refined the materials until I was able to present the important basics of everything pertaining to genealogy in a short period of time.  I taught organizing documents and pictures, writing journals and life stories, researching and navigating mega websites, understanding census records, telling and recording stories, and much more.  By the time each event was finished and the last guest had walked out the door, I was exhausted, but sad to see it end.  We shared incredible life lessons through our stories, we laughed and cried together, and we each left with a desire to connect with ancestors and loved ones.  Everyone went home with a binder full of printed information on everything that was taught.

This summer’s retreats are filling up, but I still have a few openings for June 22-23 and I could take two or three more people on August 31-September 1.

I am also willing to set up other weekends if you have a group of friends who want to attend together.  So if you live in decent proximity to Eden, Utah (or even if you don’t – I have had guests from Texas and California), and you would like to jump start or fine tune your genealogy yearnings, please contact me and let’s do it!  The cost for materials,  comfortable beds and good food is $150.  The friendship, laughter, and tears are free!

Since we never purchase anything without reading the reviews, here are a couple:

This is a wonderful opportunity, so glad I was able to attend the last one. Connie’s hospitality and knowledge of the subject are off the chart!! – Marianne

I was lucky enough to attend the first retreat. Wonderful information by an incredible mentor and friend. – Dixie


New Digs: What Goes Around, Comes Around

Two of my 3rd great-grandfathers, Clinton Doneral Bronson and Amos Betts Andrews, came to Utah with the Mormon pioneers in 1847. Clinton married Amos’s daughter, Lovisa Andrews, and both families settled for a time in Huntsville in the Ogden Valley. Clinton’s brother, Wilmer Wharton Bronson, also settled there with his family. Some of their daughters married into the Ferrin and Hammond families, and descendants still reside in the valley. The Ogden Valley is a beautiful, secret gem in the Wasatch Mountains. It is dominated by Pineview Reservoir, a popular boating and fishing lake, and three ski resorts (Snow Basin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley). The valley is comprised of three towns: Huntsville, Eden, and Liberty.


pineview fixed

Cemetery Point Beach, Pineview Reservoir, looking west toward Ogden Canyon, October 2014

Ogden Valley


When my husband and I began looking for a place to retire nearly five years ago, we ignored this beautiful valley, thinking it was too far away.  But after two of our daughters ended up living a 40-minute drive from the valley, it became more of a possibility.  In May we found a home we loved in Liberty, and here we are, living in the Nordic Valley area, just north of the very place where two of my grandfathers settled in the 1850’s.

painting the front

My husband and our daughters, Brenda and Alicia, painting the front of the house.

painting back

Daughters Kimi and Brenda painting those tall pillars in the back.

I have researched the Bronson and Andrews families extensively, especially the Andrews family, and can’t help feeling like I have “come home.”  Although the Amos Andrews family eventually left the valley, Amos was actually buried near Huntsville, but his grave was washed away.  I feel even closer to him now and am excited to spend my time here doing even more research on his family.  In my wildest dreams, I never expected this scenario to take place!

view from deck

View to the northwest from our deck.

And during the move I came up with more ways to organize my stuff!  Stay tuned!