Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Family History

I love history of any kind.  From reading historical novels, decoding mythology or sitting in the living room while the grandparents tell stories about their grandparents, I love it.  In fact, one of the things I always wanted to do was volunteer at a Senior Center so I could listen to the old people tell first hand stories about now historical events (though another major reason was so I could play Pinochle).

My Grandparents

I love to look through photographs and search for familiar features or wonder at their mode of dress or muse over the uniform and the stories it could tell.  It is interesting for me to look at these pictures and then attach some long-ago family legend to the face on the card.  I'm not the only one, either, because genealogy is a long-held tradition in my family.  Granddad Derrick, for instance, would be my third great grandfather, but his name is as familiar to me as that of my own grandpa.  We have been telling these stories for a long time.

One of the major missions of our church, is to perform ordinance work for those who have passed on, but who never had a chance to receive the ordinances while living.  Heavenly Father is a merciful God and loves all of His children.  He could never deny one of His children exaltation simply because she never had the chance to be baptized.  At the same time, all must be baptized (See Mark 16:16).  Herein lies one of the reasons for our temples.  We can perform those ordinances for our ancestors by proxy.  But first we have to find them.

As much as I love genealogy and believe in the blessings of temple service, I have been busy.  Between bearing children, raising a young family, home educating those little people, putting my husband through school and the myriad of other immediate tasks, I felt I couldn't do one more thing.  I presented my dilemma to the Lord and received, through personal revelation, permission to forego family history work for a season.  It was the lifting of a great burden.  (I know this is not the rule for everyone with a young family and busy life.  This was a very personal communication.)

Recently, I have begun feeling the prodding from the Holy Ghost that that temporary release was over.  My youngest living child is now three.  I am not expecting another.  I'm kind of an old hat at home schooling (though it doesn't get easier, I'm better at it after all these years).  My husband is nearly done with his university experience and I am no longer cleaning offices in the middle of the night.

Parenthetically, I am currently reading Winds of War about World War II.  Did you know that 60 Million people died during that great war?  We often talk about the 6 Million Jews who were killed and though they were killed in a horrific way, they were not the biggest casualty of the war.  Russia lost (or purposely killed) over 23 Million alone.  We have a lot of work to do!!

The other day, I watched this address by Elder David A Bednar.  (He is one of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)  That was the final straw, so to speak.

Though I still don't have a lot of spare time to dedicate to Family History work, I can make an effort.  My goals are:

  1. Register and learn to navigate my way around 
  2. Transfer as much information as I have from paper and old computer files to the online family tree
  3. Verify the temple-ready status of my family
  4. Prepare the records for about ten ancestors for ordinance work
  5. Attend the temple once a month to personally see to the completion of the work for those ten people. (For those who have eyes to see, that is one session of initiatories, ten endowment sessions and one sealing session.)
  6. Teach my family
These are not magnificent goals, but, like the starfish story, it will be magnificent to those ten.


  1. I'd say those are pretty magnificent goals considering everything else you are doing. I'm sure you will be greatly blessed as you bless your ancestors.

    I can honestly say that I've never been bit by the family history bug- though many in my family have and I love hearing the stories of ancestors. I'm happy to get to the temple often and do that part of the work.

    I have really struggled with missionary work though. As a returned missionary I feel strongly about sharing the gospel with neighbors, and I even have some pretty good opportunities right here on my street. I have the desire to do it, and my husband and I have even talked about inviting families over for casual events to get to know them better, but making it happen has proved almost impossible. I was starting to feel really guilty for not being a better neighbor and missionary, and then I realized that I have to consider my priorities. Right now I have other duties that have to take priority, and God understands that. In my situation, right now, if I can help bring my own family and the sisters I visit teach closer to Christ then I have done a great missionary work. This won't always be the case (I hope), but it is now.
    Well, thanks for letting me share that. :)

  2. I love doing family history, especially learning the neat stories about family and seeing all the old pictures. I don't know how your family is, but both sides of mine are pioneer families and a lot of the temple work has been done.

    I focus more on the gathering of stories, documents, and pictures; putting them on the computer; and then have hopes of distributing to all my siblings, aunts, cousins, etc.

    I have tons of great websites if you need a place to start for birth/death certificates in Utah, etc.

    Hope you enjoy your family history adventure. Don't forget to ask older relatives for pictures to digitalize and name before they forget.