on the Relationships of the
Osmans of Burford, England, to the
Osmonds of Utah, USA
A family history research story
In only a few decades the names and dates had become almost unreadable. Unless an effort was made to photograph and decipher what had once been written in stone, valuable information would be lost to future generations.
Jimmy Osmond knew what he had to do. As the youngest member of the famous Osmond family singers of Utah, Jimmy was performing at venues in southern England during October 2016 when he felt he needed to take the time to find and photograph the gravestones of some of his distant cousins in Burford, Oxfordshire.
Jimmy knew that his Osmond ancestry extended back hundreds of years to Burford, but he had never personally visited its church, St. John the Baptist, where his ninth great-grandfather, John Osmund, had lived during the 1500’s.
Jimmy’s parents, George and Olive Osmond, had established the Osmond Family Organization in 1954 and served a mission to England in the mid-1980’s. During this time they conducted research on George’s direct English ancestors, but they never had the time, unfortunately, to investigate many of George’s extended “cousin” lines in and near Burford.
In 1985, George Osmond stated the following to an English news reporter: “When Olive and I married forty years ago, right away we started tracing our roots. …Here in London we are working at the information center [of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]…and spend every spare minute searching [our family ancestry]. Genealogy has become the number one hobby in the United States now, but it’s also an important part of our church’s teaching to track down our roots. …There’s no end to it. We just keep on digging. We believe our ancestors are very much alive and we want to find out all we can about them.”
When word reached Jimmy that the gravestone inscriptions of Jane Osman (1766-1855)--who was Jimmy’s “fifth cousin five-times removed”--and her husband Henry Titcomb was deteriorating or “vanishing off the face of the stone,” and that a number of gravestones of their descendants were still visible in the churchyard, Jimmy contacted Anglican church officials in Burford who then helped him locate, document and photograph the gravestones of his deceased cousins.
Although valuable information about these descendants was already available in the parish records of St. John the Baptist, the dates and relationships still visible on the gravestones produced new facts about some of these Osmond cousins.
According to Jimmy, “It was wonderful to be able to find and record the names and dates that were on the gravestones. I know that my distant cousins were aware that I was taking an interest in their lives and now their information can be entered into FamilySearch Tree.”
(Written by Clayton and Ethel Brough, January 2017)
at RootsTech 2015:
Family history - 'Anyone can do it'
by Ginny Romney,
Deseret News newspaper
Published: Sunday, Feb. 15 2015 9:00 a.m. MST
Osmond at RootsTech: Family history - 'Anyone can do it'
Osmond, a 50-year veteran of the show business industry since making his
TV debut at 5 years old, talked at the RootsTech conference Saturday morning
about the importance of recording family stories and discovering more
about their ancestors.
"The truth is, I'm not an expert like
many of you, but that's what I love about family history - anyone can
do it," Osmond said.
When Osmond was touring with Andrew Lloyd
Webber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in the
mid-1990s, genealogy became one of his favorite hobbies. While he was
on the road, away from his family, he became serious about family history
using the 40 years of research his mother turned over to him, he said.
"Once I began and I got focused, it
was like building a huge jigsaw puzzle," he said. "The more
you do, the more pieces you put together, the more fun it becomes and
this whole picture starts to become a reality."
Technology like the resources on FamilySearch.org
has made it easier to collaborate and connect the pieces, he said.
"Like a puzzle, it doesn't get bigger
and bigger, it gets smaller and smaller," he said. "Sometimes,
when you hit that dead end and move to another branch, by the time you
revisit that previous branch, someone else has also started researching
that same branch and brought that missing piece to the puzzle
now allows you to continue."
Doing family history opens genealogists
to learning more about not just their ancestors, but also themselves,
"It's all about stories and realizing
that when you discover more about your ancestors, the more you discover
about yourself," he said.
Osmond said that along with having family
connections through stories and traditions, scientific studies have proven
that traits and attitudes are genetic and give family members an opportunity
to discover some of the reasons "we are who we are, we have the looks
that we do, the character traits and the attributes that we possess."
The strength from his "tough, tenacious"
predecessors, especially his father, has inspired him throughout his life,
he said. His father endured hardships, especially as a teenager, and he
"prevailed over it - over so much adversity."
"He's the source of my strength,"
he said. "I honor that man. I thank God everyday that I come from
In an interview with the Deseret News, Osmond
said he was also able to find connections to ancestors through finding
common interests, especially when he visited Wales and the gravesite of
his great-great grandfather. Welsh people are known "for their voices,"
he said, and a choral group sang to him during his visit.
"It was a special moment, that I'm
coming back home and they're singing to me," he said.
2015 RootsTech Conference
by Ryan Morganegg,
LDS Church News, Deseret News newspaper
Published: February 14, 2015, and the week of February 22, 2015
Osmond Speaks at 2015 RootsTech Conference
final speaker at the Saturday morning session was entertainer Donny Osmond
who flew in from Las Vegas that morning to present at RootsTech. He was
greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd who cheered as he entered.
showing several video clips and sharing stories about his life and the
lives of his family, Brother Osmond explained the importance of documenting
a persons life. Has your life been documented? If not, why
not? The legacy you leave behind is just as significant as anyone else,
including me, he said.
his music talent with the enthusiastic audience, he sang several songs
including Puppy Love, Moon River, and The
Gift of Love. In the annals of pop music history, Donald Clark Osmond
will probably always be known as the guy who sang that song about a puppy,
you explore your family history, you end up learning more about yourself,
said Brother Osmond. He shared stories about his pioneer ancestor Elizabeth
Williams and the life of his dad, George Virl Osmond. These ancestors
taught him the importance of being strong and overcoming adversity. At
times when he needs motivation, Brother Osmonds thoughts often turn
to his father. He had a harder life than anyone can imagine in his
teens. He prevailed over so much adversity, so hes the source of
the opportunity came to be a part of the television show Dancing
with the Stars, Brother Osmond reflected on his ancestors and their
tough and tenacious attributes. At the time he was performing in Las Vegas
and adding more to his already demanding schedule was very difficult.
Reflecting on what his ancestors had overcome in the past helped him gather
the strength to meet the challenges of the present. He went on to win
the entire competition for the ninth season of Dancing with the
Osmond also shared a personal family history experience while traveling
for six years performing in the musical, Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat. During his spare time he would work on his
family history and developed a love for it because it was like figuring
out a puzzle. About hitting roadblocks doing family history, he said,
I feel the presence of my ancestors all the time helping me. Miracles
happen all the time.
finish his comments at the conference, Brother Osmond said that if audience
members remembered only one thing it should be, Give your loved
ones and your friends your time. Things dont matter. Its the
love that lasts. Stories last. Your reputation lasts. Who you are lasts.
asked why he decided to present at RootsTech he told the Church News,
I love computer technology and Ive loved to see how FamilySearch
has advanced over the years. ... I love how everyone is contributing and
coming together to work in the same database.
below in the red circle is Donny Osmond, pictured on a large wall pedigree
chart that existed from 2008 to 2014 inside the main floor area of the
Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Information about this
chart was published by Lee Benson in the Deseret News newspaper
of 15 June 2008 under the title of "Offspring
of a great dad alter world."
Wish Comes True
R. Clayton Brough, OFO Family Genealogist
A Christmas Wish Comes
True - seperate webpage
Osmond's message to his older brother, Alan, was brief but specific: "Before
the end of the year I wish we could find a close cousin of our Welch ancestor
[John Martin] who still lives in the United Kingdom." Unknown to
Donny was that inspiration, time, and technology were quickly coming together
to make his Christmas wish come true.
Martin (1846-1900) is Donny and Alan's great-great-grandfather (through
their mother's lineage). John was a coal miner in Wales and married Anna
Jenkins in 1866. They immigrated to Utah in 1868, eventually settling
in Samaria, Idaho, where John farmed and he and his wife raised ten children.
Interestingly, John played the violin and organ, and he and Anna taught
their children how to sing four part harmony. This musical tradition was
later passed down and magnified by their famous descendants--the Osmond
family singers of Utah.
Donny's wish soon became known to other
family members within the Osmond Family Organization of Utah. Two of them
contacted Mark Gardner, a British consultant at the Family History Library
in Salt Lake City, who voluntarily helped them track down John Martin's
"first cousin twice removed": Charles
Edward Capel Martin (1913-1998)--who had served in the British Royal
Navy during World War II and was a well-known sports car racer. Feeling
inspired, family researchers then contacted Simon
Collier, Donny's fourth cousin who lives in England, and asked him
to try and find a distant family relative living in the United Kingdom
who might have information about Charles descendants. A short time later,
Simon found the relative who informed him that Charles had a grandson
who was "alive and well" and living in Europe.
Within a few days after receiving Simon's
information, family researchers in Utah located Charles grandson: Charles
Richard Lloyd Martin, who lives in England and is a fifth cousin to
Donny and Alan Osmond. Upon hearing that he was related to the Osmond's,
Charles said, "I must admit this is the weirdest thing to think that
we are in some way related to Donny and Marie Osmond. As soon as my first
[child] was born I became interested in my roots and worked on [my Martin]
which now contains nearly 700 persons dating back to
1540." When Donny heard about Charles being found in England, he
texted family members, saying, "It's so great to see how everything
can come together today to help us quickly find family and relatives.
Thanks everyone for making a Christmas wish come true."
Alan Osmond has summarized the discovery
of finding his Martin cousin this way: "Finding cousins like Charles
Martin would have been very difficult a few decades ago. My mother and
father, George and Olive Osmond, spent years trying to find living Martin
cousins in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, but met with little success.
Today, using inspiration and the tools of technology which the Lord has
blessed us with-such as FamilySearch, online indexes and sources, and
social media sites--we can more quickly find our deceased and living relatives
and thereby 'hasten the work'."
here to view Martin Family genealogies, histories and photos.)
Focuses on Finding Families
December 11, 2010, the LDS Church News of the Deseret News
newspaper published the following account of the Osmonds family and their
family history work. This newspaper article (quoted below) was entitled
history moments: Family's focus", but was known as "Famous
Family Focuses on Finding Families".
history moments: Family's focus"
article, Deseret News, December 11, 2010
(Text and photo of article is shown below)
decades the Osmonds have sung and performed for people around the world.
In July 2008, all nine siblings of the famous Osmond family Virl,
Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy performed
together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during two evenings of Pioneer
Day celebrations in the LDS Conference Center. However, even when performing
in different parts of the world, this large family has always taken time
to focus on families, including trying to locate distant cousins and performing
temple work for their deceased ancestors and relatives.
Osmonds' love of family history and temple work was instilled in them
when they were young. Their parents, George and Olive Osmond, contributed
countless hours toward genealogy and temple work, and involved their children
in this "eternal work" as much as possible. As the mother of
the world-famous singing family, Olive Osmond was constantly on the go.
Yet, wherever she went she was continually answering and sending family
history letters, compiling and directing genealogical research work, devising
and suggesting new ways to enter family data into computer programs, and
constantly encouraging relatives and her worldwide audience to become
more involved in genealogy and family history.
Alan Osmond has said, "My mother taught her children how to do family
research, and we published our family history in several magazines and
on various websites." In 2008 the Osmonds traveled around the world
on their 50th Anniversary World Tour, and according to Alan, "We
would greet the audiences from the stage as, 'Hi, Cousin! How Are We Related?'"
Osmond has likewise stated, "I inherited the love of genealogy from
my mother and have fond memories of doing research with her and sharing
our 'finds' together. I know that my mother has now been united with those
ancestors she became familiar with while doing her genealogy work."
Donny supports a worldwide Osmond Research and Extraction Project, while
Alan oversees Osmond-related temple work and maintains a family history
website, [www.osmondfamily.org]. And recently, Jimmy Osmond while
performing in England took the time to dedicate the grave of his
great-great-grandfather, George Osmond Sr.
it can be said that the dedication of the Osmond siblings to family history
and temple work started when they were very young, for they were taught
by their parents the importance and blessings that come from being involved
in such "eternal work."
-----[Written by] Clayton and Ethel Brough, Osmond family history representatives,
West Jordan, Utah
Genealogy Committee of the Osmond Family Organization (OFO) consists of
the children and grandchildren of George and Olive Osmond, as well as
the following experienced researchers: Clayton
and Ethel Brough, volunteer family genealogists who live in Utah (Ethel
is a "1st cousin" to Olive Osmond); Elinor
Gilbey, a volunteer researcher who lives in Wales; Mark
E. Gardner, a professional British genealogist who lives in Utah;
and Kathryn Stout,
a professional British genealogist who lives in Lancashire, England.
In the past, members of the OFO Genealogy
Committee have expressed their opinions on the following three subjects:
1) Technology and Family History: People today have the technology
and tools to rapidly correct, document and expand family genealogies and
relationships; 2) Lack of Connectedness: Many people today have
lost a sense of connectedness towards their extended families and know
little about their ancestors who sacrificed and toiled to make their modern
lives possible and enjoyable; and 3) Importance of Knowing Your Family
History: As people gain a better understanding of the lives and trials
of their ancestors they more fully appreciate who they are and what they
have, become less critical and more forgiving of others, and strive to
conduct themselves in a more honorable manner--because they soon realize
that "no man is an island" and that "how I live today may
impact my posterity for generations to come".* In fact, the following
quote (which appears in multiple online
sources) suggests that as people learn more about their family heritage
they may wish to live their lives so that their families and posterity
will be "proud" of them:
How Will You Be Remembered?
If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
There might be some of them
You wouldn't want to know.
But here's another question
Which requires another view,
When your posterity looks backwards
Will they be proud of you?
*On February 17, 2013, the Parade magazine (www.parade.com)
that appeared as a supplement in the Deseret News newspaper of
Salt Lake City, Utah, published an article entitled "One Big Happy
Family", which stated the following: "When a team of psychologists
measured children's resilience, they found that the kids who knew the
most about their family's history were best able to handle stress [over
those who played team sports or attended regular religious services].
The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their
sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The
reason: These children have a strong sense of 'intergenerational self'--they
understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that
families naturally experience both highs and lows." Also, on December
4, 2013, the Deseret News newspaper published an article by Jenet
Jacob Erickson entitled "Understanding their family history helps
children cope with life", which stated the following: "Insightful
research out of Emory University explores why this pattern of remembering
history together is so important in family life. An analysis of typical
dinner conversations among middle-class families found predictably that
families were likely to talk about their day, such as what happened at
school and work. But families also shared stories from their past
including stories about parents childhood. Knowing these family
history stories was associated with better outcomes for children including
lower anxiety and depression, and less anger, aggression, and acting out.
Additional research revealed that the more children knew about their familys
history, the higher their self-concept and the stronger their sense of
ability to make decisions and achieve desired goals. And these effects
were found after taking into account the positive effects associated with
general patterns of healthy family communication and interaction. Knowing
stories from family history itself seemed to instill a strong sense of
identity, grounding children in the recognition that they belong to something
bigger than themselves something from which they draw meaning,
strength and wisdom. No wonder, then, great sacrifices have been made
throughout history to continue the rituals that enable individuals to
remember who they are and what they belong to...."
Genealogy Committee of the Osmond Family Organization (OFO) is currently
conducting research for the Osmond family in the following areas: 1) attempting
to extend their Osmond
ancestry in Oxfordshire; 2) attempting to determine if Johannes
Osmond of the 1300's in Oxfordshire is related to their Osmond family;
3) attempting to identify more of their Davis
ancestors in Wales; 4) attempting to extend their Martin
ancestry of the 1500's in Cumberland; 5) seeking ways to preserve
the gravesite memorial of John
Martin (1809-1861)--who was one of their direct ancestors and a surgeon
in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales; 6) attempting to identify more of their close
cousins around the world using DNA
technology; and 7) document and place more of their Osmond and Davis
family genealogies, histories and photographs on FamilySearch.org.
taken and edited from FamilySearch
The Osmond Family
Organization (OFO) uses Surname Index and Relationship Project
(SIRP) methodologies to identify family members and relatives. SIRP is
a "structured extraction and research system used to identify individuals
and combine them into family units". During the past several years,
SIRP has been successfully used by the OFO to identify and connect hundreds
of individuals living in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
online genealogical data from multiple sources on individuals having the
same (or similar) surname in a designated geographical area, then inputs
all such names and their associated dates and places of births, christenings,
marriages, deaths and burials into a PAF-style (and GEDCOM friendly) database.
Once this database has been compiled, then analysis, screening and merging
tools are used to match and link individuals together into related families
and larger ancestral lineages.
Some of the genealogical sources
used by SIRP include the following:
1) LDS Ancestral File - still available at some Family History Libraries
and/or on earlier (DOS-style) computer disks.
2) Pedigree Research File (PRF) - still available at Family History Libraries.
Genealogical Index (IGI) - viewable on: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp
4) FamilySearch.org - viewable
on: https://familysearch.org .
5) FamilySearch Family Tree database available on FamilySearch.org.
6) Available online government indexes of births, marriages and deaths,
such as the British GRO
(or "FreeBMD" for England and Wales) - viewable on: http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl
; and the UKBMD Search -
viewable on: http://www.ukbmdsearch.org.uk/ .
7) Available online name indexes, databases, and census reports from commercial
sites, such as Ancestry.com ; FindMyPast.com
; and Non
Conformist & Non Parochial Records - viewable on: http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/user/subscriptions.php
. (These three websites can be accessed free-of-charge at Family History
Libraries throughout the world.)
8) Available GEDCOM files from known and reliable family members and related
In 2011, the Osmond Family
Organization (OFO) used SIRP methodologies to compile databases of hundreds
of "Osmond" surnamed individuals who had lived from 1800 to
the early 1900's in New Zealand and in New South Wales, Australia. Subsequent
analysis, screening and merging of these databases resulted in the rapid
identification of numerous linked individuals and multiple family lineages.
In 2012, SIRP methodologies
were used to successfully document and link hundreds of "Osmond"
military servicemen (and women) who died while serving their countries
in World War I and World War II to their families and ancestors.
At the present time, the OFO
is applying SIRP methodologies to identify and combine thousands of individuals
and their families who lived in the 1800's and early 1900's in England
You can contact
the OFO through its email address at: email@example.com