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Wordfull Wednesday: Women From Our Past

March 9, 2011

Cocoa is hosting Wordfull Wednesday again this week.  The theme is Women From Our Past; write a post about one of your female ancestors.

Today I’m sharing some of the life history of my great-great grandmother, Magdalena Bauer Besendorfer, some of which my dad included in a chapter he wrote for his personal history entitled, “The Heritage,” which traces all of his great grandparents and their coming to America.  (Direct quotes are from him.)

“The doctrines of missionary work and gathering to Zion (Salt Lake valley) by converted souls were of prime importance to the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…  Because of the belief that “everyone who has been warned should warn his neighbor”, missionaries went out to all parts of the world and their words found eager, waiting ears, especially in the European nations of the late 1800s.”

“Johann and Marie Barbara Schwarz Bauer along with three of their daughters living in Almoshof, Bavaria, were converted and baptized members of the church in 1888.  A fourth daughter, Magdalena, was baptized the following year.”  She and her young son were able to come to America with the help of Dr. Karl G. Maeser,  and while working for him in his Provo home, met a young farmer, Johann Besendorfer.  “They fell in love, were married, and later sealed together in the Salt Lake Temple in 1897.  Johann adopted her young son Andrew, and eventually they together had seven more children.”  They settled on a farm in Midway, Utah.

“Life on the farm wasn’t easy.  Magdalena turned out to be the better farmer of the two, but Johann was good at just about everything else.”  He was called to return to Germany in 1910 as a missionary, but was hesitant to leave his wife and eight children.  As I’ve heard it told, she convinced him to go, saying, “We need the blessings.”  I believe she did quite a few extra jobs in an effort to make ends meet while he was away.  I’ve always admired this example of faith.  I can’t imagine my husband leaving us to serve a mission, it was hard enough some days to sit with just three little boys in church while my husband served as bishop of our ward for a time.  But I also know the blessings that come from serving the Lord when and where called upon, so I like to think that maybe I would be able to carry on as faithfully as she did.

My great-great grandfather passed away just two years after returning home from Germany.  After a summer of trying to manage the farm and her family, Magdalena finally sold it to Andrew and moved to Salt Lake City to be with her parents.  “She spent countless hours during the rest of her life giving service to others (acquiring the title “Sunshine Lady”) and working in the temple for the salvation of her ancestors in Germany.  The records left by her after her death testify of the great genealogical work she accomplished.”

“Sunshine Lady!”  I want to be just like her when I grow up, giving service and doing genealogy!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 9, 2011 9:18 pm

    I just love looking at old photos! The clothes people wore and the expressions on their faces are priceless. Fun story.

    There are TONS of Magdalenas on my Spanish side – never really thought that it would be a name used in other cultures too.

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