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Family history moments: Two Georges

A few years ago I went to Northallerton Record Office in North Yorkshire, England, to search some parish registers for the family of Thomas and Margaret Kilbank.

I searched the baptism register for the village of Arkendale and found the baptism of George, son of Thomas and Margaret Kilbank, on Dec. 31, 1815. However, there was no further reference to the family in the Arkendale records.I searched neighboring parishes, and in the register for Hunsingore I found baptisms of seven children of a Thomas and Margaret Kilbank, including William, my great-great-grandfather. However, one of the sons was named George, born 12 years later than the George in Arkendale.

My first thought was that they were not the same family. It was not unlikely that cousins of the same name, in neighboring villages, had both married a woman named Mary.

I knew that the only way they could be the same family was if the first George had died and they had named the later son after him. I looked in the Hunsingore burial register. There was recorded the death of "George, son of Thomas and Margaret Kilbank, buried 3 Oct. 1825, aged 9 years."

As soon as I read this I knew that the Arkendale and Hunsingore Kilbanks were the same family, and I immediately felt their presence.

I felt they had been waiting for me to find those records so that they could receive the ordinances of salvation and be sealed together for all eternity.

The tears streamed down my face, I was so moved with gratitude for the privilege of assisting in the redemption of my family. I would not exchange this experience for the wealth of the world. I can never think of it without the most tender emotion, and even now, the tears blur my vision as I write this account.

In due course, I was proxy for Margaret Kilbank as all her children were sealed to her for eternity.

When she and Thomas buried their little boy, George, they had no way of knowing that one day they would have him back. The only way they knew to keep him was to name a subsequent child in his memory. Now they know.

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