I used to do quite a bit of Family History and Genealogy research but had been taking a break. But during this last General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Richard G. Scott gave a talk titled – The Joy of Redeeming the Dead – that has since prompted me to get back to my research, especially in the conclusion of that talk, where he said:
But what about you? Have you prayed about your own ancestors’ work? Set aside those things in your life that don’t really matter. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences. Perhaps you have been prompted to look for ancestors but feel you are not a genealogist. Can you see that you don’t have to be anymore? It all begins with love and a sincere desire to help those beyond the veil who can’t help themselves. Check around. There will be someone in your area who can help you have success.
This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil, where help is given in both directions. Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (emphasis mine)
The part that really struck out to me in that quote is when he said “Have you prayed about your own ancestors’ work?” And then when he said to “Set aside those things in your life that don’t really matter.”
In the week before General Conference I was definitely feeling a boredom with the internet/Facebook/blogging (I was also between books) and was yearning for something of more importance and was trying harder to be more patient and present with my family too. So what he said really hit home. I knew that I should get back on the Family History wagon. I think I got off because I had done so much research, but rarely was/am able to attend the temple to do the work for all individuals I had found and therefore decided to take a break until I had completed more. But, for all the time I waste on Facebook or pinterest or checking junk emails or reading blogs on the internet, I could be using it for real good, an eternal, sanctifying good.
So, fortunately, Josh and I have been praying more sincerely lately, and trying to really come to our Savior again, so before I started researching a few days after conference was over, I said a prayer that I would be guided to know which family line to research.
While my father’s family has been researched back to who knows when, my mother’s family has some holes, and Josh’s family lines on both sides do as well. So there’s lots of possible names and branches of the ole family tree to research. The miraculous thing is how clear of an answer came!
While I began looking a little here and there, seeking for more names/dates, I just happened to google a name and find an entire website devoted to the Simonin family line (Josh’s side). While I had previously seen and visited another site devoted to this same family line, this one had even more information and dates. Then I had someone message me in regards to this family line on an ancestry.com message board I had posted a long while ago and am currently working on getting information from them. I also discovered that another person had messaged me on ancestry.com regarding this same line, though a few months ago. It was clear where my focus should lie at the present time.
As I entered the various information into my family tree at new.familysearch.org, I decided to look for another family member who had married into this Simonin line, the Fresse family, and would you believe I found an even larger website devoted to another branch of Josh’s family tree? I have been having such great luck finding information on Josh’s French lines! I’m still working on entering all the information found on this second website into our family tree: there’s so much there!
The fun and also challenging thing about this family research is that all of these websites are written in French! I have never studied French, do not speak French, and definitely don’t know how to read or pronounce things in French. Thank goodness for google translate! I also had to learn how to make special characters using the alt tab, so I could spell François, Haute-Saône, Félicien, and Thérèse correctly.
What I have loved about working on this line of Josh’s family is that none of these people have had the ordinances of the temple performed on their behalf. None. It makes me sad but also excited that I am helping these French relatives of my extended family receive the blessings of the temple, some who have been waiting for about 400 years.
Josh went with the youth to do baptisms for the dead at the Louisville, KY temple on Thursday, October 18, and took 20 family names with him, and during the last youth temple trip a few months ago we submitted about 14 or 15 names. It really feels wonderful doing work for your own family, for people you worked diligently to find (just like Elder Scott said in that talk). It’s also super special to do work for someone who shares your same last name! What a rarity for many members of the Church. The last time Josh and I were able to attend the temple together, we did sealings and how special it was to do them in behalf of Josh’s own great grandfather!
I encourage all of my friends, Latter-day Saint or otherwise, to start working on your family trees! It’s fun and interesting and the Lord truly does bless you in this work!
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