Why I do family history.

I never really knew what doing genealogy entailed but I knew it was for older people who liked to pouring over old stuff from the olden days in a library with other septuagenarians. I also knew it was something I was helping with by attending the temple each month. It definitely was one of the principles our modern-day prophets preached that I could mark off as "duty completed".

family history flash cards
Obviously there's a BUT in all of this, otherwise why would you even be here, reading about my forays into the wild world of family history? It really comes down to following the gentle nudges I felt following my grandpa's death that I'm even writing this. With his death there was no longer someone actively working on our genealogy on this side of the veil. I asked my grandma for all his stuff and as I looked through the family tree I started realizing the scope of the type of "project" family history is. 

The myth that family history is ever marked "done" or "completed" was busted. No matter how many hundreds of hours my grandpa spent working there was still more left undone. From there a fire began burning in my chest that eventually filled my whole soul and I started searching for my family members who weren't connected to my tree.

As I spent time pouring over records and histories, I found myself drawn to photographs and cemeteries. I believe each of us has special gifts and when we focus on the parts of family history that play to our gifts it is overwhelmingly fulfilling. I now need no prompting to spend time doing family history and am passionate about helping others find their area of passion. Maybe yours will be recording stories or helping write histories. Maybe it will be like me and you'll discover you love photography! You never know until you try.

We have been promised numerous blessings for responding to the invitation to do family history work: Elder Bednar “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives. It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Our fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation.”

I not only get to have amazing spiritual experiences while searching out my ancestors but I can feel the added presence of the Spirit in my home helping me be more patient, kind, loving, and humble. I can feel protection from evil! And I want all my friends to have these same blessings in their homes as well.

I know as you pray for a desire to help others you will find success. I know there are real blessings of protection and spiritual aid that comes from taking time to set aside things that don’t really matter! As Elder Scott says, “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 away. And it will make you feel wonderful.”


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