Belnap Family Organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Belnap Family Organization
Abbreviation BFO
Formation 1904
Type Non-profit organization
Purpose "To preserve, perpetuate, and promote family solidarity" among Belnaps/Belknaps
Headquarters Utah, United States
Region served
Descendants of Utah Mormon Pioneer Gilbert Belnap (1821-1899) and all others related to individuals surnamed Belnap or Belknap
Current President
Jim Marriott
Website Belnap Family Organization

The Belnap Family Organization is a non-profit ancestral family organization that conducts primary genealogical research and preserves genealogical and other historical information on the Belnap/Belknap family surname, including the descendants of Mormon Pioneer Gilbert Belnap (1821–1899) and his plural wives Adaline Knight (1831–1919) and Henrietta McBride (1821–1899). According to its mission statement, the organization exists "to preserve, perpetuate, and promote family solidarity." It is one of the oldest and largest ancestral family organizations in existence, having been established in Utah in 1904.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Publications, projects, and awards[edit]

Since 1963, the organization has periodically published the Belnap Family Crier,[7] which contains genealogical data, historical information, and other items of family interest. In 1967 the Crier was honored by the Genealogical Society of Utah as an "outstanding publication" in genealogical publishing.[8]

In 1968, the Belnap Family Organization was recognized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as one of the "best-organized" family organizations in existence.[9]

The organization has sponsored the publication of several works on the life of Gilbert Belnap and his extended family.[10][11] It has also undertaken several large-scale genealogical research and restoration projects. It was one of the first ancestral family organizations to participate in the LDS Church's name extraction program,[citation needed] in England and the United States. The organization was also a leader in the first compilation of computerized family trees.[12]

In 1997 as part of the sesquicentennial celebration of the Mormon Trail, the organization commemorated and dedicated a memorial marker in Ashland, Nebraska in honor of John McBride Belnap,[13] a 13-month-old child of Gilbert Belnap and Adaline Knight who died of cholera in 1850 and was buried in his father's tool chest near the Saline Ford at the confluence of Salt Creek and the Platte River along the Oxbow Trail. Events held in commemoration of the life of John McBride Belnap received national coverage.[14][15][16]

In 2010 the Belnap Family Organization was listed by FamilySearch as an exemplary ancestral family organization.[17]

In addition to supporting ongoing family history research, artifact preservation, and LDS temple ordinance work, the organization makes available primary and secondary source documentation, through various web sites, on notable family members, including Sir Robert Belknap, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas of England from 1377 to 1388, Vinson Knight, early leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Martha McBride Knight Smith Kimball, documented plural wife of Joseph Smith, Jr. and later Heber C. Kimball.


Membership in the Belnap Family Organization is automatic for all descendants of Gilbert Belnap, who now number over 10,000 and are found in most states and several countries outside the U.S. Membership is also available to other persons surnamed Belnap or Belknap or who descend from such persons.

(The surname Belnap or Belknap is believed to be somewhat unusual, in that all known Belnaps or Belknaps living today are thought to descend from one man, Abraham Beltoft alias Belknap, who migrated from Sawbridgeworth, England to Massachusetts about 1635. Although the surname continued in England for several centuries through other branches of the family, it has since died out in its country of origin.)

One of the larger and older[citation needed] Mormon family organizations in continuous existence for more than a century, the Belnap Family Organization, a 501(c)(3) association since 1974 organized under the laws of Utah,[18] serves as an umbrella organization through its 15 constituent branches (one for each of Gilbert Belnap's children who lived to adulthood) for sub-organizations at the grandparent and parent levels.


Under the auspices of the organization, descendants of Gilbert Belnap and other Belnap/Belknap relatives have met at least 39 times, starting with the first family reunion in 1904 in Hooper, Utah. Family reunions today are usually held on the second Saturday in August in even-numbered years.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Belnap Family to Hold Reunion", Ogden Standard, p. 6, 4 October 1904
  2. ^ "Belnap Family Reunion Held", Ogden Standard, p. 6, 6 October 1904
  3. ^ "Grand Reunion of Belnap Family." Deseret News, 7 October 1904
  4. ^ "Belnaps Assembled." Salt Lake Herald, 7 October 1904
  5. ^ "Family Forms Organization." Ogden Standard Examiner, 4 September 1923
  6. ^ "Belnap Family Linked with Ogden's History." Ogden Standard Examiner, 16 September 1923
  7. ^ "Belnap Family Crier". Belnap Family Organization.
  8. ^ "1967 letter to Belnap Family Organization" (PDF). Belnap Family Organization.
    Letter is from Howard W. Hunter, President of the Genealogical Society of Utah
  9. ^ "Certificate of Honor for "Best Organization Setup", Family Organization Seminar of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4 April 1968" (PDF). Belnap Family Organization.
    Presented to Belnap Family Organization by Theodore M. Burton, Family History Department Director
  10. ^ Belnap, Arias G., comp. Centennial History in Honor of Utah Pioneer Gilbert Belnap, 1850-1950 (1950, with 1952 and 1956 supplements)
  11. ^ Belnap, Wilford Dean (1974), Heritage With Honor: Genealogy and History of the Ancestry and Descendants of Gilbert Belnap (1821-1899), Bountiful, Utah, OCLC 2891005
  12. ^ A Noble Son, Spencer W. Kimball: A Curious Combination of Cousins, Salt Lake City: Institute of Family Research, 1979, pp. &#91, page&nbsp, needed&#93, , OCLC 5216215
  13. ^ "John McBride Belnap (1849-1850)". Belnap Family Organization.
  14. ^ "Celebrating Mormon Trail." WOWT NBC 6 (via YouTube), 27 Apr 1997
  15. ^ "Hitting the Trail." KPTM Fox 42 (via YouTube), 17 Apr 1997
  16. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott (10 May 1997), "Nebraskans are keying on Mormon Trail history", Church News, Among celebrations along the south trail were a memorial service in Ashland Sunday, April 27, for John McBride Belnap, a baby who died and was buried at a site overlooking Saline Ford in the 1860s. The service also honored those who died on the trail.
  17. ^ "Create and Maintain Family Associations or Organizations". FamilySearch Wiki. FamilySearch.
  18. ^ The legal name of the Belnap Family Organization (a D/b/a name) is the "Gilbert Belnap Families Genealogical Association."
  19. ^ "Reunions". Belnap Family Organization.


  • Belnap, Arias G., comp. Centennial History in Honor of Utah Pioneer Gilbert Belnap, 1850-1950 (1950, with 1952 and 1956 supplements)
  • Belnap, Wilford Dean (1974), Heritage With Honor: Genealogy and History of the Ancestry and Descendants of Gilbert Belnap (1821-1899), Bountiful, Utah, OCLC 2891005
  • "John McBride Belnap Memorial Program, April 1997". Belnap Family Organization.

External links[edit]