Day 4 Part 6 of Our Nauvoo Trip: the Land and Records Office, or How to Find Your Ancestors in Nauvoo

After we went to the brickyard and the Lucy Mack Smith home, for our Day 4 trip to Nauvoo, the adults in the group went to the Nauvoo Land and Records Office. This is the place to go if you want to figure out where the land is that your ancestors lived on in Nauvoo. I was impressed by the peacefulness and orderliness of the place, as all Church history sites are. They even had some toys for kids to play with while the parents work.

This office has a bunch of computers and a friendly staff to help you. You sit down at the computer and enter in the names of people you think lived in Nauvoo.

Hint: if you are going to Nauvoo, figure out BEFORE you leave home who your Nauvoo ancestors are. Do this by spending time on looking at your family tree at the ancestors who lived in the 1830s through 1840s. I have been doing family history research work for a few years so I knew some names off the top of my head. But if you don’t already know, go do the research. This will save you a lot of time. I don’t even know if these computers ar the Land and Records office are hooked up to the Internet. I don’t know if the staff at the office are equipped to help you with that part. So what I am saying? Do your homework first! Don’t expect the staff to know who your ancestors are.

When you type in the name and get a list of records showing that that person lived in Nauvoo, the staff will be able to answer your questions about how to find the property on a copy of the map they will give you. They will also let you copy all of the records you find onto a CD you can take home, for a small cost of $3. I had 4 ancestors and my husband had 3 or 4, so copied all the info onto one disc. 

Now here’s the biggest discovery I made on my Nauvoo trip! I knew one of my ancestors, Lorenzo Johnson, lived in Nauvoo. But I didn’t know where. When I put his name in, and then found his property on the map, I found out the property was right on the Mississippi riverbank. So then we went looking for it. The photo below shows the grassy plot where my ancestor lived. Isn’t it beautiful? What an awesome view of the Mighty Mississipp! And guess whose property was right next to Lorenzo’s? Scroll down to see…

Lorenzo Johnson lived right next to Joseph Smith’s Red Brick store! My kids had fun drinking root beer that their big brother and dad bought there. The Red Brick Store is where the Relief Society was organized, on the upper floor. I was amazed that Lorenzo lived right next to a place where Joseph probably went every day. I wonder how often they talked? Did Lorenzo get to visit much with the prophet? The biography below says that Lorenzo got baptized in March 1846, right before he left in Nauvoo. Here is his picture and a short biography. I wish I could find a journal he wrote. He was descended from William Bradford, of Plimouth Plantation, and is a common ancestor of one of my dear La Leche League Leader friends, KeeNan, who I have known for over 10 years. It was just a year ago I found out that we are half third cousins, once removed, both descended from Lorenzo!


Lorenzo was the 12th child of 13 children.  His parents, Rheuama Stevens and Didymus Johnson, and the grandparents lived in Haddam, Connecticut.  He had eight brothers and four sisters.  His mother was 45 years old when he was born.  She died when he was 13 years old.

His father died when he was 19 years old.  Lorenzo married Mary Lyman that same year.

Mary had joined the church in Michigan in the year 1842.  At some time Lorenzo and Mary with seven children moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. Lorenzo was baptized March 1846 when the exodus started from Nauvoo, Illinois.

The family was living at Winter Quarters (1847) and at Potowatamie, Iowa (1849).  He must have had to ind work and earn the means to take his family of now nine children on to Utah.

A child was born in Winter Quarters and another in Potowatamie.  Emily the ninth child died at age two, location unknown. Maybe only eight children went to Utah.  

Mary and Lorenzo received their endowments in 1855.

Lorenzo must have lived the Law of Plural Marriage as the records have four other wives.

In the remembrance of John Wesley Johnson (son) it states he met Louisa Collings in Springerville, Utah.  I am assuming that Mary and Lorenzo were living in Springerville also, as it was from there the John Wesley and Louisa were called to help settle Monroe, Utah a few years later.  Mary and Lorenzo helped settle Monroe so probable were called when their son was called.  They lived in Monroe until their death.

Lorenzo died April 25, 1872 in Monroe, Utah.

information taken from the genealogy records
compiled by Alice Jo Cluff Ellsworth: 1997

Description of Lorenzo Johnson

Lorenzo Johnson was born April 17, 1813 at Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut.  He came to Utah September 2, 1850. He married (1) Mary Lyman Johnson; (2) Ruth Sawyer Drury Davis; (3) Emma James; (4) Mary Ann Hall (Johnson Whiting).  He was elected Springville City Councilman in 1857 and Mayor in 1859.  He helped build a sawmill in Salt Lake City and later Spanish Fork Canyon.  He was a member of the first Grand Jury in Utah County and was called to settle “The Muddy” in Southern Utah.  He died April 25, 1872.

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