About Me

About Me

Thank you for visiting my site, "Scott Simpson's Virginia Genealogy"! I was born in Virginia, graduated from high school in Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia. (Notice a certain theme here?) While growing up, I often visited my grandparents and other relatives in and around Charlottesville and Waynesboro, Virginia.

I now live with my best friend -- who, thankfully, is also my wife -- and with the youngest of our four delightful children (the other three have "flown the nest"). Our youngest child was born in China. The story of her adoption, including our daily travel journal from May 2005, is here. Gustatorily, I'm absolutely crazy about Indian food; here's a list of most of the forty or so Indian restaurants I've tried.

My family and I are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called "Mormons"). I was born into the Church because some of my Martin, Kirby, and Taylor ancestors were baptized in Albemarle County, Virginia, in the 1890s. (My transcription of their baptism records, which include some good genealogical information, is here.) We often call ourselves "Latter-day Saints"; the term "Saint" comes from the New Testament, in which it is used to refer to any member of Christ's Church (e.g., KJV Acts 9:13, 32; Romans 15:26; 16:15; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; 4:22). Here is an excellent talk by one of the Apostles of the Church, explaining its name.

The nickname "Mormon Church" arose because we believe in the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible. That nickname was actually given to us by others, in much the same way that believers in Christ first came to be known as "Christians." The Church has asked that its members, the media, and others use "The Church of Jesus Christ" where a shortened form is needed, rather than "Mormon Church" or "LDS Church."

Jesus Christ

This depiction of the Savior is especially favored by members of the Church of Jesus Christ.
The original painting is by Del Parson.

With all my heart and soul, I know that my Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, live. I know that Jesus suffered for my sins and died for me -- that he is my Savior and Redeemer. I am humbled and deeply grateful that he would do this for me. As the Book of Mormon says, "It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23). That is, although I have to do my part by trying to be and do the best I can, only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can I ever hope to become spiritually clean and worthy to live with my Heavenly Father again.

Here is my attempt to explain the precious Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Here are some Web resources on Church doctrine and history.

"The Living Christ" -- The Testimony of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ (will open in a new browser window).

Here are some of my favorite passages about Jesus Christ from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other scripture.

What is the Book of Mormon?

Here are some of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon

What's it like to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ?

Here are some of my hobbies, besides genealogy:

classical music
Spanish language


In choosing my "free-time" reading material, I generally stick to books that either broaden my horizons or lift me mentally. Infrequently, I'll feel a need for something escapist, like a Tom Clancy novel. (But my approach to movies is a little less intellectual!)

A few of the books that I've enjoyed in the recent past:

Children's books: I really like reading aloud to my children. Here are a few of the books that we've especially enjoyed together:

Classical Music

I'm partial to Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and anything from the Baroque period (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, etc.). The Messiah by Handel is probably my all-time favorite piece of music. With all due respect to those who feel otherwise, most music from the Romantic period bores me.

Spanish language


I served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ in Spain. My mission was a wonderful experience that I still remember with great fondness. A summary of my mission experience is here.

I've done a pretty good job of retaining the language skill acquired during my mission, and enjoy practicing Spanish and learning new words. I speak Spanish to my youngest child 100% of the time, in an effort to raise her to be bilingual. Here are some good Web resources on the Spanish language:

Real Academia Espaņola official Web site of the "Royal Spanish Academy" (entirely in Spanish), including an excellent dictionary, complete verb conjugations, and extensive notes on usage (both Iberian and American)
WordReference.com: Online French, Italian and Spanish Dictionary excellent Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionary, with lists of the common phrases that use each word (where applicable), cross-references to other dictionary entries, and wonderful forums for discussing the languages
Spanish Language Spanish resources on About.com, with extensive articles and aids in English


Here's where I get my mental escapes! I'm a very non-intellectual movie-watcher: If a movie doesn't appeal to me emotionally, I don't care how brilliant or avant-garde it was (but see above regarding books). On the other hand, some seventy percent of the movies that I like best were made before about 1970. I dislike the violence, bad language, and sexual depictions in so many more recent movies. (To block most of the foul language in movies, my family and I have been very pleased with a product called "TV Guardian.")

The Internet Movie Database

A great site; I could spend hours there!

(All external links will open in a new browser window.)

Here are a few of my favorite movies, with a link to each movie's main page on the IMDb:

It's a Wonderful Life I really enjoy watching George Bailey's internal struggles with his desires and ideals and his external struggles with Potter and financial ruin. The ending of this movie resonates with the godlike yearning for selfless giving within each of us. This is an absolutely perfect performance by Jimmy Stewart, who is probably my favorite actor.
Fiddler on the Roof I love the grandeur of this movie, the struggle between old and new, the confidential humor of Tevye, and the delightful, very singable music. I've always wished that I had seen this movie in the theater.
Signs I've always liked the theme of struggling with one's faith, then having that faith affirmed. Excellent performance by Mel Gibson.
Strangers on a Train Probably my favorite Hitchcock (and that's a very hard choice!). The whole concept of this movie is chilling. The tension during the tennis match near the end is just unbearable!
North by Northwest Another excellent Hitchcock. The audience's sympathetic puzzlement with the main character is delicious. I also enjoy the tension of the final scenes, at the house and above the monument.
Gandhi The grandness of this movie matches the grandness of the man. An extraordinary performance by Ben Kingsley.
My Fair Lady Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Eliza's transformation is excellent, and the music is delightful (we have the soundtrack, and I sometimes listen to "Wouldn't It Be Lovely?" several times in succession!). My only complaint about this movie is Rex Harrison's talk-singing.
Scrooge (1970) I really like Dickens's story of spiritual transformation into charity. This musical adaptation depicts that transformation well, and adds some engaging humor and delightful music.
The Muppet Christmas Carol Delightful music, excellent casting, and just full of fun little gags. Michael Caine is probably my favorite Scrooge. This movie also shows a touching respect for the author. The penultimate line is so appropriate: "Nice story, Mr. Dickens!"
Back to the Future Here's my favorite for pure escapism. The concepts of time travel and "correction" are delicious mental candy. Seeing all three movies is fun; I don't know of any other series of movies with so many inside gags and intertwining plot lines.


Why do I like studying trees? They are beautiful. They are infinitely varied. And they are always there, waiting to be admired, enjoyed, and studied. Here are some good Web resources for tree lovers:

PLANTS Database comprehensive database of trees and other plants, with pictures, information on geographic distribution, and detailed characteristics of each plant, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dendrology - University of Wisconsin Image Collection large collection of beautiful images -- some photographs from nature, others scanned images
Tree Identification excellent collection of images and drawings, with written information about each species listed (from the Virginia Department of Forestry)
BYU Tree Tour a pictorial tour of trees on the campus of my alma mater, Brigham Young University

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This page was last updated on January 9, 2017.

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