Tuesday, January 11, 2011


On my list of goals for this year is to have a hard copy of our family's history. I have not quite figured out a manageable way to conquer it, but it is definitely in the works. Something tells me this family history business is important.

One of my dear friends, Katie has focused on this task over the last few years and has done a beautiful job of documenting the day-to-day life with her husband and two daughters. Along the way she has also developed a strong testimony of the importance of family history. I love what she's done.

I asked her to share what she has learned in the family history department and she graciously obliged. Hopefully, her success will motivate you, like it has me.

I’m going to share something with you. When I learned it, I felt relieved and empowered. It changed mylife. I am passionate about it.

What do you know about family history work? I’ll tell you what I thought I knew about it. I thought it
was the tedious, time-demanding, impossible work of charting all people who have ever lived on this
earth and then doing their temple work. And, I also knew that it was for the sweet, white-haired ladies
in church.

In spite of what I already “knew” about the subject, when I was a junior at BYU, I decided to take the
introductory course on Family History. As it is with most university courses, Rel-C 261 was jam-packed with information. The instructor was a master family historian. She helped me get organized and become familiar with the research process to find ancestors. There’s a special spirit about searching for ancestors. It’s called the Spirit of Elijah. As I studied the coursework and participated, that spirit grew within me, and I was changed by what I was learning.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave an incredible talk on the subject. He says that we should all know that “in the work of redeeming the dead there are many tasks to be performed, and that all members should participate by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances at a particular time.” I took that to heart. And, like I said, it relieved me of self-induced guilt by not having found all ancestors (and not seeing anytime in the near future when I would). Then it empowered me to actively seek the Lord’s will in how I should implement family history work in my current circumstances.
At that point in my life, I was a busy college student, newly-married. It wasn’t possible for me to allocate tremendous time to research, but I could attend the temple and perform proxy work. And I could keep my own personal journal. Then, when we moved away for our first job, we weren’t immediately blessed with children. I had time to be an ordinance worker in the temple and work in the family history center as a ward consultant. It was during that time that I found over a dozen family names that needed ordinances performed, and I became addicted to indexing. Now, as a busy mother, my personal circumstances call for a different effort in family history work that I’ll share with you tomorrow.
Thanks so much Katie, I can't wait to share what you've done to document your family's life.

Top quote from Elder Nelson's talk, "Generations Linked in Love".


Mary Anne said...

Is that a picture of a blog book? I'm in love with them. We make one every year since I started blogging. They are already a treasure to our family and I can't even imagine how much more so they will be in the future. I'm not great at journaling (other than on the blog), and I certainly don't know much about family history work or indexing. I'm excited to hear more on the topic!

runningfan said...

Ditto to Mary Anne. Can't wait for tomorrow, either!

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