Family history moments: Grandfather's desire

When I was 10 years old, my maternal grandfather, a Quaker, told me of a dream he had.

"You will undertake a great religious work for our family," he said. "You will know what to do when the time comes. You must do this work."I was on summer vacation, having just graduated from Whittier College in California, when I first heard the message of the restored gospel from a high school friend of mine.

My vacation was interrupted by a message from my grandmother, asking me to come to Whittier; Grandfather was ill and was asking for me. As I sat by his bed he reminded me of his dream.

"Do you remember?" he asked. I assured him that I did and that I was ready to do whatever was necessary as soon as I knew what to do.

Grandfather passed away on Christmas Day that same year, 1949. After the funeral, my grandmother gave me a box. In it were six typewritten volumes of both my grandparents' ancestral lines dating back to 1200 A.D., along with individual histories.

The summer of 1954, the time off from my teaching job, I spent caring for my dad's eldest brother's wife, who had been in a very serious auto accident. One day as I was dusting my uncle's library, I discovered a sheaf of yellowed papers behind some books. To my amazement here was my dad's family history, also dating back to 1200 A.D., with pictures of ancestors and old family homes in England. My paternal grandfather had paid a professional genealogist to gather this material.

A dream and some serendipity had placed four ancestral lines in my lap. As I had been baptized in June 1952, I now knew what I was to do. It took two years to organize, submit and to have all the baptisms, endowments and sealings taken care of in three different temples. There were thousands of names, as most of the families were huge.

Grandfather's dream had become a reality. It was the desire of both grandfathers to keep their descendants aware of those who had come before them.

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