Family History is boring. It’s for retired people who have nothing else to do. And the only way to really do family history is to go out in graveyards and find the names on stones and write them down. Or so I thought. I’m a young mom, busy with a young family. My little boy is in 2nd grade, and I volunteer with the PTA. So family history was WAY out on my radar. Something I would do one day, but isn’t a priority today. Until…
I was eating my breakfast in a rare moment of peace. And I had the Ensign open in front of me. I love the short stories near the back—the one page ones—because that is what I have time for. As I read “A Season for Family History” the words sank deep into my heart. Here was a young mother in a similar place in life. She too thought that Family History was something she would do later, at a different ‘season’ of her life. But she decided to do family history on Sundays and found great joy in finding family members.
Well that little thought of helping on Sundays kept coming back to me. I have a job online and usually don’t even look at my computer on Sundays. My husband is usually playing with our son after church on Sunday, so I can take a nap. But my recent goal to get to bed on time has left me extra time on Sunday. So….I went online. Familysearch.org is so easy to use! I started small. I looked at my ancestors—there are a LOT of them!
I’m related to Constantine, and my husband is related to Charlemagne—both Roman Emperors. Cool! My Mom and Dad are cousins from a thousand years ago. I called my mom to laugh about that one. And I spent a pleasant Sunday just looking at names, Google-ing them, and finding out cool things. I have a great grandmother who was burned as a witch in the Salem Witch Trials. And then I tried to put it down.
But it kept calling to me. My Mom and Dad have been into Family History for a long time, so there is a long line of family genealogy done on that side. But my husband’s family only recently got involved. They have a sweet Aunt on one side who is their family history go to. And since she is working on it, everyone else feels it’s taken care of. And it’s also a very long line- back to the 1200 BC’s!
But my husband’s Dad is a the first LDS member in his family. And before him there was nothing there. He has been doing family history for a few years. As he had been working there was this one great grandfather that nobody could seem to get past. They couldn’t find his birth records, and his parents were a mystery. So I put on my detective hat and started trying to find them.
I too hit a wall, but I had a secret weapon. I called the family history consultants in my ward and they came right over to help me. I can’t even tell you how many interruptions we had as they visited! It was very much like Satan was trying to stop me. The funny thing is that I had the goal to find this one set of people and then be done. It was a challenge, and I didn’t really see myself as a family history sort, so what was the big deal? I couldn’t imagine why I would matter to the adversary in my fledgling efforts to do family history.
Let me just tell you my family history consultants are amazing!! Within 24 hours we had found the missing grandparents and two more generations besides. I made some mistakes and had to backtrack a few times. But there they were! And the little temple icon turned green. (That means they are ready for temple work.) What a rush! I felt like a super sleuth. My father in law was stunned! He had been looking for years for these people. And he wanted to know my secrets. ‘What secrets?’ I thought. ‘I have never done this before, and just leaned on my ward support system.’ But that one day was so exhilarating I couldn’t forget it. It was like there were more people on my husband’s line calling me. And I had to answer.
I had learned new research methods, and started finding more people. I can’t say I have any super skills. But just matching people to records and seeing the temple icon turn green is so satisfying. So I keep doing family history on Sundays. And periodically at night when I am watching TV, when I would have been internet shopping. Family history is more fun. I have always loved the hunt. Thus the fun in internet shopping. But now the hunt is for people instead of stuff. And it is so much more fulfilling!
I never meant this to be a thing. I still don’t tell people I do family history. But I keep finding myself going back to familysearch.org. And I got an Ancestry account. (It’s free with your familysearch.org connection, which is also free.) And every new green box, every new family connected, every new child added, brings a smile to my face and a feeling of accomplishment to my heart.
So if you are looking for something to do, maybe a new hobby; or you’re trying to avoid internet shopping—try family history. It is worth it, and more fun than I ever realized. And it’s free! My husband is thrilled.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.