BETA

Family history moments: Lunch cut short

Last month, my husband and I traveled to Italy with my mother and two brothers. My mother's grandparents were born in Italy, and we hoped to visit the little town of Atena Lucana where her mother was born.

I really didn't have a plan once we arrived there but relied on the Spirit to guide me. When we pulled into town, our driver decided to stop at the little municipal building and we followed him inside. He spoke to the man working there and found that ordinarily the man wouldn't have been working since it was Saturday.

The room, no bigger than a small classroom, served as both a repository of vital records going back 200 years and a current place to take care of local matters. Our driver explained to the worker that we had come searching for genealogical records.

Specifically, I was looking for the birth record of my third-great-grandmother, Agata Cicchetti, so that I might discover her parents. As we searched the records, I was getting discouraged because she wasn't there. I was praying so hard that we might find her. We searched a few more books on either side of her supposed birth year and we found her! She was actually born in 1828. And there, listed by her birth date, were the names of her parents.

The worker made a copy for us, and we left to walk around the town where my ancestors had lived. I couldn't stop thinking of all those records in that room and that if I only had more time, I could discover more about my ancestors. The idea came to me that if I could go back for just a few minutes and get permission to search all the years' books, I would find Agata's brothers and sisters by comparing the parents' names on the birth records.

As we sat down to eat at the town's only restaurant, I kept getting the prompting, "Go now." I got up during the middle of the meal, asked one of my brothers who spoke Italian to go with me and we went across the street to the municipal building. I was able to search all the books in a matter of 15 minutes and found Agata's brothers and sisters, six in all. By the time we had finished our lunch, the municipal building was closed.

I know this was a miracle sent by a loving Heavenly Father. — Kathy Jones, Newhall, Calif.

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