Family history moments: Long-lost letter

Surely prayers have been answered, and I have seen the hand of the Lord in the success I have realized during the past 45 years of communication with relatives in the former German Democratic Republic.

My father, August Dabel, immigrated to America in 1886 with his parents, and the family settled in Wisconsin. At age 17, he learned the cheese-making trade, eventually married and moved to Afton, Wyo. He was the only member of his family to join the Church.His wife passed away after seven years of marriage, and he then married my mother, Sarah Isabell Snyder, in 1905.

Sixteen children resulted from this marriage. Sarah also raised three children from the first marriage.

One day in 1925 while looking through the old family Bible brought from Germany, my father discovered a letter dated 1891, 34 years previous. He was interested in finding out if there were still relatives in Germany, so he wrote to the address on the letter. There was no answer.

Then in 1948, a letter came addressed to "My Unknown Cousin." The writer was not sure that anyone was still alive. After so many years, 23, the letter was found in the pocket of an old overcoat that was being cut down for a family member who had spent time in a prisoner of war camp in England.

Fortunately, after my marriage in 1944, I became very interested in family history research. After my father gave me the correspondence he had received, I wrote to several relatives in Germany.

After 17 years of writing and research, results came. Since that time, we have been able to submit many pages of names to the temple. Hundreds of individuals will have the chance now to accept the gospel.

From our experiences, we have had a relative come to visit us from Germany. We have been able to place several copies of the Book of Mormon with people in Germany, and we hope the seeds will grow.

We still have frequent correspondence with several relatives in Germany.

I have the original letter that was tucked away in the pocket of that old overcoat for so many years. One of the relatives sent it to me.

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