September 6, 2014

Finding a lost family

Genealogy is a big deal these days.  People all over are beginning to learn how to find relatives from generations before them.  I get wanting to connect to the people who made you who you are, and I would love to know the generations and their stories and roots.  But I guess I've never wanted to do anything about it. Neither do I have time.

That all changed the other day.

 My husband figured out through a Young Mens meeting (he is the Young Mens president, or the guy in charge of all the progress in scouting and gospel teaching for the boys in our church group ages 12-18) how to find your relatives.  They logged on to, and and used their online data to piece together records of who belongs where.  Some boys even have records back to 1500!  

He thought that was pretty exciting.  I was ok with that.  He came home and looked at my family history.  It goes pretty far back on all the lines, but on one particular line, I have a grandma Chavez whose husband isn't listed, and after her, it just stops.  Nothing. 'Interesting,'  I thought, having already resigned myself to the fact that I didn't have any ability to do anything about it.

Two days later He comes home absolutely loaded with books.  "What are those?" I asked as his smile grew to be huge.  "My coworker let us borrow these!" he announced proudly.  I was pretty sure that they looked like dusty library books.  Turns out they were.  They had been checked out from the library for over a year!  Can you even do that? I guess you can when you're administration.

It turns out that my hubby and his coworker were casually talking one day when the subject of ancestry came up, and he explained that he had learned how to find relatives.  Turns out that she was really trying hard to do the same and she and I happened to have roots in the same cities.  What are the chances?  The books were census records, histories of territories, and all sorts of picture books on people who settled Albuquerque.  Three days ago I couldn't even spell Albuquerque.  

She shares her name, but this is Mexican actress Maria Candelaria -not my grandma

I agreed to try my hand at finding a relative or two as well, but that one grandma kept coming back to my mind.  What would it take to find her husband and parents?  I dove into those books, and after about 2 hours I emerged with the name of her parents and excitedly told Dan "I found them!" What made it interesting was that I spied her parent's names when looking for a totally different relative.  On a page that wasn't in alphabetical order! I researched it to make sure it was correct, then entered the info into the computer with source data.  I was so thrilled.

But as I sat there I realized that this was no small thing.  You see, I believe that our loved ones who have died actually live still, just in another bodiless form. I think of death as the next phase in our progress, and that we can be together again as families if we're worthy of living with God again.

Believing all of this means that there are people who have died who are waiting for the chance to be connected with us.  Family members who have been forgotten, or incorrectly assigned to other families, and are waiting for us to dig up their records.  Maybe get to know them, and in my faith, even be 'sealed' to us as generations of families.  That's a doctrine that isn't easy to explain in a blog post, but you can surely talk to missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to find out more about sealings and family history work.

This makes it all the more exciting that I actually figured out who my great grandma's husband was, and her parents.  And I found out so much more about myself in the process.  I have Spanish and Native American roots.  How about that?  All that Swedish in me and here I actually have a little Latina in me.  That explains my firey side.

"There are only two lasting bequests 
we can hope to give our children. 
One of these is roots, the other, wings."

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