Violet Robinson joined the Church on July 13, 1999, at age 89. As the ward family history consultant, I went to her home a few days after her baptism to introduce her to family history.
On our first visit, I learned she knew very little about her ancestors and did not even know the names of her grandparents, as her only living grandparent had passed away when Violet was 7.
Together, Violet and I set out on the difficult task of identifying her grandparents and great-grandparents. She told me her father used to tease her by telling her the buzzards laid her on a stump and the sun hatched her. After hours and hours of unrewarding research and looking at microfilms, I almost began to believe the words of her father.
While we searched for names of grandparents and great-grandparents, Violet felt strongly that she needed to at least start the temple work for her more immediate family. Three months after her baptism, on Oct. 8, 1999, our ward scheduled baptisms for the dead, and Violet was determined to do the work for her mother and sisters in the temple and have her Sunday School teacher, Chris Garrett, do the work for her father, grandfather, brothers and one deceased son.
That evening, we drove to the Portland Oregon Temple for the baptisms.
After she came out of the water, Violet exclaimed: "I feel so happy. This is the only thing I've been able to do for my mother." It was a beautiful, spiritual experience, one that neither of us will ever forget. She was also thrilled to observe baptisms performed for six male family members.
Since that memorable night in the temple, Violet and I have been making more progress in searching out her ancestors. An added blessing came about 10 days after we attended the temple: She received a copy of a picture of her mother and father. The original picture had been taken from Violet some 65 years earlier, and she has not had a picture of her parents in all that time.
Violet has since turned 90, and we continue to pursue her ancestors. She doesn't let age stop her from participating in temple work and has since returned to do five more baptisms. I know the Lord is pleased with her efforts.
Glenda Wardell, Salem 5th Ward, Salem Oregon Stake.
Another in a series of "Family History Moments."
Illustration by John Clark.