Family history moments: Hand of God

Last fall I was reading a biographical and historical sketch written by my second great-grandfather, Edward Phillips, telling of early Latter-day Saints in the neighborhood of Wenvoe Parish, Glamorgan County, South Wales.

In this account he gave the names of his nine brothers and sisters (all baptized in St. George's Parish), his parents and his wife's parents. Every time I have read this section I have felt that I should do something. This time I compared it to my genealogical records and found to my surprise that they contained only three of the 10 children. The Church International Genealogical Index contained only four of them: those who had immigrated to Utah.Since Edward had named the parish where they were born I expected that it would be easy to find their records. The Catalog of the Family History Library, to my dismay, showed no entries for St. George's Parish.

I wrote to a number of genealogists in England and Wales. The response was disappointing. Their fees were high, and they did not understand what I wanted done.

In desperation I wrote to the Church's Cardiff Family History Centre in South Wales. The director passed my letter to Jean Jones who is not a member of the Church. She wrote back and offered to do the research if I would cover the costs of copying the documents and renting a microfilm reading machine. Later I found that she is a volunteer at the Glamorgan Archive Service where the records I needed are held. For the next several months she sent me material faster than I could process it.

The information that Mrs. Jones sent to me has allowed me to add about 100 people to my family records and correct the information on about 30 which I already had. I have just finished processing those records through TempleReady; 77 were cleared for temple work.

My family has had that history of Edward Phillips for more than 140 years. I have often wondered why no one else has checked it against the family genealogy. I am very grateful that I did so and that I was prompted to write the letter that resulted in such a rich treasure of information! As I review the results of my efforts, I acknowledge the hand of God in the outcome.