Family history moments: Common heritage

In the fall of 1988 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I checked the International Genealogical Index computer file for information concerning a Thomas B. Chapman, eldest brother of my second great-grandfather. Having learned from prior experience that information about a non-direct relative can often lead to information on a direct one, I desired to contact the person who submitted Thomas's name for temple work.

From the computer file, I easily identified the microfilm containing the temple submission record. Upon looking up the film and the record, I found that Thomas's name had been submitted by a Maudie Ruth Baker of Bakersfield, Calif., in the 1970s.Although it seemed a long shot, I called directory assistance. To my surprise, I obtained her telephone number in Bakersfield.

I called her that same evening and enjoyed the privilege of meeting via telephone a distant cousin. Maudie Baker explained to me that she was the only member of her family who joined the Church and was delighted to learn of another relative who was a member. Having never married, she had become a member of the Church at age 63 - 53 years after she first attended an LDS meeting as a child in Missouri.

At the time of my call to her she was 75 years of age and was a worker in her stake's family history center. She enjoyed attending the temple.

Soon after our conversation, I sent Sister Baker information which I had researched pertaining to the Chapman family and her ancestor Thomas B. Chapman. In turn, Sister Baker sent family group records which she had hand copied for me of our common ancestors and other kin going back to the 1600s. These sheets contained a treasure of Chapman family information, made more special by her extra efforts in my behalf.

Sister Baker and I have stayed in contact, and I continue to share information with her regarding our Chapman ancestors.

Through the Church's FamilySearch computer programs, the source of family name submissions to the temples or to Ancestral File can be readily obtained. Special experiences await those who make the small effort it takes to contact those who share a common bond and heritage. - Phillip C. Ellsworth, high councilor, Magna Utah Stake

(Another in a series of "Family History Moments." Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)

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