Family history moments: 'Stay with it'

I'm the only member of the Church in my immediate family, a circumstance which has given me the sole responsibility to "send" my ancestors to the temple. Before 1976, non-member relatives sent me vital information, enough to connect me to the U.S. census records for earlier ancestors.

Unfortunately, in those days, census records prior to 1880 weren't indexed. In order to find a family, you had to search their entire county through often faded and difficult handwriting. After long periods at the microfilm reader without success, I would pray, saying, "Heavenly Father, my eyes are tired. I'll come back tomorrow."The answer I received through the Spirit on two occasions was to stay with it a little longer. I obeyed the promptings. Sure enough, I found my families a few minutes later.

In 1976, I thought I had accumulated all the information I would ever find. In 1980 and 1983 I experienced new miracles, the discoveries of LDS cousins descended from ancestors we share. They had already submitted their ancestors' names for temple ordinances. I was grateful to have them for my records, but I hadn't found ancestors who needed temple ordinances performed.

In 1984, I did. A booklet compiled by a non-member cousin arrived in the mail, listing seven more Bond generations and two Johnson. I hadn't prayed for this information, but there it was.

In 1985, my mother told me that another cousin had recently found an old cemetery on his property. It contained the graves of my second great-grandfather's parents and three brothers. I didn't have most of their names. I knew Doctor (his real given name) Bothwell Leonard was orphaned at 15 and placed in the care of a legal guardian. I had found his guardian record, which named his father, but not his mother or brothers.

The tombstone inscriptions listed a mother, father, three sons and their ages at death. Doctor's guardian record linked him to this family buried on the site of their earthly home. I sent all six of their names to the temple.

I am grateful to my relatives - and the Lord - for helping me collect 377 individual names and 97 marriages for temple ordinances. - Sherry Lassiter, Provo (Utah) 7th Ward

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

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