While I was in nursing school in 1950, I felt an intense desire to get some names ready for temple work. My father's family seemed the place to start. There were genealogy enthusiasts in his family, yet none were members of the Church. I received a temple recommend just before I met the man I was to marry. Together, we did the temple work for my ancestors.
My father died in February 1978 at age 86. In June 1979 our family met in our small hometown of Caliente, Nev. Our two-fold purpose was to search through 50 years of collections and to do the temple work for my father.In the process we found a black, rusty, metal box containing blessing and baptismal certificates and a photo of a beautiful young woman. None of us knew who she was. I knew she was someone special, however, because the Spirit touched my soul, and I felt goose bumps all over.
As we traveled home to Utah, my husband, Charles, and I discussed our experiences and tried to understand what was happening. When we arrived home, I searched through photos and papers to see if I could put a name to the beautiful woman who had touched my soul. To my surprise and joy, I found that it was my paternal grandmother, Eva Nilson, whose temple work I had done some years before.
My paternal grandparents had died before I was born, but I knew my grandmother had a message for me. After prayer and through inspiration, I knew it was to compile a family history of the Nilson family.
Letters were written and phone calls made. I found family members interested and willing to share valuable pictures. The Civil War journal of my great-grandfather, John Nilson, surfaced, as well as his letters to my great-grandmother, Charity. I could see this was a family history just waiting to be assembled.
The book was finished by September 1980. Then we all met for the first time in Carl Junction, Mo. We had a wonderful time together visiting the home, farm and even the church that was such a big part of the lives of my great-grandparents and my grandmother, Eva. The spirit of Elijah has been manifest to us all.