As grateful as I am for the wonderful pioneer history of my father, whose family was very much a part of the early Church, I am also grateful for the history of the family of my mother, who was a convert to the Church. Not only does it give me a different perspective, it gives a wonderful opportunity to open many new doors as I search their history as well as complete their saving ordinances.
In the many years I have been active in family history work, I have probably submitted and completed the work for hundreds of family members. As I find enough to do, either my ward or my wife and I complete them from baptisms through sealings. As much as I would like for each individual one to be a special experience, I must admit that with the majority of them, I seem to simply go through the mechanics of doing the vicarious work. Once in a while though, there is indeed a special communion of one sort or another.
One such experience began when I was still new to this great work. I had found and copied the marriage certificate of one of my great-grandmother’s sisters, Rosalie Corn Foster. I was just enamored with this record. I thought that maybe it was just that this was one of my first finds, but I held it and checked it over again and again, realizing that this was an important document for a very real person who lived, married and was part of a real family. We went on to finish the work for them along with many others.
Recently I decided to read the life histories that my mother made sure were done by her parents. In my grandmother’s history I came to a seemingly simple part where she mentions a visit with her Aunt Rose and Uncle Tom in Alabama for a few days — a visit that apparently made an impression on her. She records, “Uncle Tom was very religious; he and his family gathered in a circle after supper every night in the living room and read and studied the Bible and said prayers before they went to bed.”
Tears came to my eyes as I realized that this was the Rosalie that I had come across all those years ago. I felt certain that she was with me then and even more excited than I was at my find. I am sure this family was close to the Lord and quickly accepted the restored gospel and desired to be a part of it as soon as possible.
How grateful I am to be a part of this inspired work that brings redemption to those that have passed and truly does bring families together.
— Daniel Bradshaw, Lakeview Trails Ward, Gilbert Arizona Highland East Stake