When Carmen V. Acosta was a child in Uruguay, she and her mother often visited her Aunt Sara. Aunt Sara was the one who kept track of the family she knew who married whom, and the names of their children. One day Aunt Sara showed them a scrap of paper with a town in Spain written on it. The paper had been graciously left by a stranger, who told Aunt Sara that the town was where her mother, Carmen Garcia, was born.
As the years passed, missionaries came and Carmen was baptized. At about age 15, she began to collect the names of her ancestors for family history. She visited Aunt Sara again, who gave her a copy of the paper with the town in Spain. That ended her family history quest until years later when she moved to the United States. Here, she enrolled in a family history class and began taking family history seriously.
While in the class, "all of a sudden I remembered the paper. I wrote to a priest in that parish who sent me four generations of my grandmother. He also happened to be in the same diocese as my grandfather, Salvador Vigo, and sent me four generations on him."
"More than 500 ancestors have received their temple work and many more will be added, all because of a knock on a door and a scrap of paper."
She also received from her Aunt Sarah, before she died, a notebook with all the family information she had compiled.
Doing the vicarious ordinances was a wonderful experience, she said. "When I did the temple work I felt a special feeling for my grandmother, and for my Aunt Sara."
Sister Acosta, now a Sunbeam teacher in the Northpoint Ward, Alta Mesa Arizona Stake, began making an annual visit to Spain to collect family history. She became acquainted with many of her cousins there.
"I guess half the city is related to us," she said.
The cousins encouraged her research and often asked how many names she had found during that day's search. With the help of many others, she continues to add to the temple work she has completed.
"Paper or no paper, when you get some information, you better be on your toes," she said.