My story begins when I was 8 years old and living with my family in upstate New York. I have always felt a close connection to my Uncle Sammy, Samuel Wilson Black. His parents and grandparents moved to Idaho from the Midwest when he was a young boy, and because I live in Boise, Idaho, I have easy access to many state historical records. I have struggled to find his oldest sister and two younger siblings. Several times I have spent hours focusing only on these three names and come up with little or nothing. I knew the approximate year of birth from one census record but nothing more.
Recently, I again focused on Uncle Sammy’s older sister, Virginia, and spent several hours searching every avenue I have learned and came up with nothing. It is more difficult to find a female, because her name changes with marriage and, without a marriage record, it is sometimes impossible to find. I felt frustrated and offered a very heartfelt prayer: “Heavenly Father, I can’t get his family sealed together and the work complete without his sisters and brother; please help me find them, if this is Thy will.”
The next day I was checking on completed temple ordinances for the last year and went to the tote under my bed where I kept the completed cards and other family records. I found what I was looking for and glanced over at some files I had stored in my box. The thought came to me: “You really should go back through those records and check to see if you have the sources accurately recorded.” I knew the information on these records I had already typed into my computer files, but I opened these hard-copy files to see what was in them. When I opened a file named “Boyce Family” the very first item was a copy of a newspaper obituary. I glanced at the name and started to read it and realized this was Uncle Sammy’s father. I quickly skimmed to the end of the obituary and there it was: “Surviving is a daughter Virginia Schmutte, living in Nebraska.” Then it listed the other two siblings, their names and where they were living at the time.
Each time I find a birth, marriage, obituary or any source, I add the information to my computer and then place a check mark in the righthand corner so I know I have entered the source. This obituary had no check mark. I know Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He answers in many ways and in different time frames, but this answer came quickly, and it was answered by a simple and distinct thought. I felt humbled as I was reminded that Heavenly Father is our best source for direction and inspiration and how important it is to listen to His voice. — Alaura Ramsey, Boise, Idaho