Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Susan McKeen Nye reports the passing after an injury of  Margaret McKeen Newmaker on October 25 2012 in Savannah Georgia. Born in 1939 at Bridgeton New Jersey she married Richard John Newmaker and was mother of six, with seven grandchildren. Margaret was a granddaughter to Esther Ruth Kirkham Smellie, she a daughter of James Kirkham and Emma Wootton. We extend our sympathy to her immediate family and siblings even as we know the Kirkham family feels her loss, too.

Forgive my lapse in the earlier post re: George Kirkham Family org which IS on facebook.com, it is my typing that claimed it was not. I have corrected the post to reflect that it is NOW on facebook.

Friday, October 26, 2012


We learn today of the passing of Thad Gudmundsen Kirkham, son of James Arno and Sylvia (Gene) Kirkham and a grandson of James Mercer Kirkham. He has been a resident in the St George, Utah area for several years after a career in Southern California. Survivors include his wife Arlene and eight children. I was able to visit Thad and Arlene recently with my father, his brother, and their younger brother Kreg.

Recently, Aunt Oleve Kirkham, widow of E Kay Kirkham on whose book the Kirkham reunion was based in 2009 celebrated her 99th birthday.

Rich Kirkham of Pocatello has informed me that the George Kirkham Family organization is now on Face Book.

All these things have common ground beneath them: that we are a living family, not a chapter in history. We recognize those passages universal, celebrate ordinances of faith and life, mourn and celebrate, reach out and lift up each other daily.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We lose one from among us

I have learned of the passing of Miriam Lenore McKeen Fa'atuai on the 2d of July 2012. Susan Nye passed this sad news on about her sister in a short note. Miriam was born Preston Idaho in 1936 and had lived in northern Utah for some time. I believe Miriam- Lee- is survived by one son and several siblings and nephews/nieces. I am not certain where her death occurred. I know that we hold her family near to us as they grieve.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Next Generations

This photo of James Arno Kirkham, his sons Thad at the back and Kreg with his wife Gene Gudmundsen Kirkham is on the day of the larger gathering at JMK's home; because my dad, Jim is not in the picture I believe it is during the WWII period, when my father was in the Army. There was a year prior to his service that he worked on a ranch in southern Utah, as well.

James Arno- I understand he was mostly referred to as Arno, though my grandmother always called him Kirk- was sales rep for the Utah Farmer Magazine. He loved to sing and was associated with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as a singer as well as in their business department. After my grandparents retired to California he attended classes at a nearby college where he studied music, choral and sang in the school's choir. It was in Huntington Beach, California they were living when they passed away, JAK in 1975 and Gene in 1976. They are buried in the Lehi City Cemetery.

Their family, three sons were Jim with wife Joan Backman and seven children; Thad with wife Arlene Peterson and eight children and Kreg with wife Carolyn Thomsen and five children.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Recording A Family Story

A recent opening of boxes- as some of you have done- revealed pictures such as this. This is James Mercer Kirkham's, and his wife Kate Woodhouse' family on the porch of their home in Salt Lake City. I believe my grandfather James Arno Kirkham must be the photographer.  I want to say it is fall, but it may be spring as well. James Mercer is holding a toddler at the back of the group while Kate is partially obscured left of him. In the same box were individual family photographs- including one of JAK's from this gathering, which I will use  as I introduce the articles I have proposed.

My family moved a lot as I grew up and we did not have many of the archival type of photographs. For this reason pictures might not be included frequently.  We did have an annual Christmas picture made. A document in itself for family history: who, where, when etc. I will use them as appropriate (I hope).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Returning To An Idea

I have had the opportunity several times in recent weeks to visit with Aunt Oleve, Oleve Kittinger Kirkham. She is the wife of E Kay Kirkham who compiled the book George (Wm) Kirkham, His Ancestors and Descendents which I used as the foundation for the family reunion of 2009 celebrating the 150 year anneversary of this family's immigration into Utah. I have noted that Kay wrote in his introduction that perhaps subsequent generations would also have their record.

When the reunion was finished I wondered how to utilize the blog, as you can see I  have not kept at it very well. I believe I am willing to try anew to use this as the means of making a record of the next generations. Kay's book gave the stories of three generations and named the fourth. I propose to identify the next three, beginning with the great-grandchildren of George and Mary Ann Astington Kirkham.

The eldest of this generation was Zelda Kate Kirkham, my grandfather's sister; there followed one hundred and ninetytwo others. Many, like Zelda did not have children. Some did not reach adulthood.

To carry a book with all the information I have on each of these Kirkham descendents would be hard labour. I will try to refresh my knowledge as I go along and where I know there is a record accessible I will include that instead of my own notes. I have tried to do that already.

Kay could not have compiled his book alone, and we are indebted to the cousins that provided information. I will not even try! Indeed I have such small personal knowledge of all of us- I have always relied on others: ward clerks, news reporters, census filers and you. Thank goodness for you all!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We learn of these losses from our number: Dorothy May Kirkham, wife of Mark Mercer Kirkham passed away April 25 in Salt Lake City, they were married in 2002.
Mark has also lost his brother Norman Cree Kirkham, resident of the Seattle Washington area, who passed away 30 April. Norman is survived by wife Brigette, children Michael, Pia, Patrick, Claudia and Christopher. Predeceased by a daughter Vera.
In addition to Mark Mercer, he is also survived by Oscar Ned Kirkham, Jane Bassler and Kathryn Bird. I recall that Mark and Kathryn were in attendance at the 2009 reunion. These are the children of Oscar Ammon and Ida Murdock Kirkham. Three siblings have passed: Carol Jarvis, Grace Burbidge and Rock Murdock Kirkham.
We cannot reflect on these recent losses without sadness, neither can we say good by without gratitude and pride in the impact they have made in our individual and collective lives.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Changes and Losses

We learn of the loss of James Joseph ryser, Jr the husband of Elizabeth Kirkham in Salt Lake City on March 2, 2012. The obituary ran in the Deseret News Sunday March 4 page B9. Born November 10, 1918 the second of seven children of James J Ryser and Hilda Schanz, he married Elizabeth Kirkham on September 4, 1947 in the Salt Lake City Temple. They were parents of four: Randall, Robyn, David and Rebecca, grandparents of 16 and great grandparents of 7. Online condolences can be made at http://www.larkinmortuary.com/

The world turns only forward. As we watch some pass we reach as others come forth as did Landon Kirkham in Ogden Utah February 9 to Joshua and Amy Kirkham, the fourth grandchild of Jeff and Sheila.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Note Reviewing Recent Posts

My mother Joan Backman Kirkham passed away July 14, 2011. She had eleven months of resisting and fighting pancreatic cancer. In the end it was clear that even if she would have beaten the disease the toll would have been the woman and the life we had known.
Married to dad, Jim Kirkham February 27, 1948 in Salat Lake City by his grandfather James Mercer Kirkham in the living room of her parents Ralph and Grrace Backman mom went on to have seven children. She made an impression on so many more as Cub Scout Den Mother, 4-H leader, Elementry School Librarian and volunteer for sight through her association with University Women associations.

I did not realize how long I have not kept this site updated. Another loss was my older brother Rex Kirkham in Albuquerque New Mexico on February 9, 2011. He leaves wife Georgia Otero Kirkham of Velencia County and Daughters Jennifer and Janel as well as five grandchildren.

I shall try to maintain a watchful eye on our changes and other events, though often I rely heavily on Salt Lake City papers I hope to catch up on others. Please do include me in your life changes, as this family's story does indeed continue to flourish today from the roots it established here more than 150 years ago.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We have lost one of our number

Rich Kirkham contacts us from Pocatello, Idaho with the news of his father's death on February 8, 2012 at age 87. We have Rich's generosity in the pictures from the 2009 Reunion.
Active in business and civic activities in Pocatello, Dale Bruce Kirkham was a veteran of WWII and provides a great account of his service on his web-site:


Rich and his siblings Kirk and Karol, their 10 children and 13 grandchildren mourn this loss even while honoring the heritage their father embodied.