When my husband Gary passed away on December 21, 2014, we had to wait till after Christmas break to have him buried. This put extra stress on me because I hated to think of Gary having to wait this long to see where he would be buried. The funeral was held on Tuesday, December 30, 2014.
After the funeral, I felt unsure of what the Lord wanted me to do next. So, on Sunday, January 4, 2015, I asked Bishop Scott Olsen for a Priesthood Blessing to strengthen and guide me. Later in the day, Bishop Olsen came to my home with another Melchizedek Priesthood holder. They blessed me via the Spirit that the Lord wanted me to transfer my parents’ genealogy that I had previously researched to the website FamilySearch.org.
After that priesthood blessing, I felt like Nephi, in The Book of Mormon, when the Lord asked him and his brothers to go back to Jerusalem and get the Brass Plates. Nephi stated: “…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” 1 Nephi 3: 7.
I had a computer with the Family Search program on it, but I knew I would need more computer assistance. I had read microfilms to find out information about my family line and entered this information in my genealogy book. My mother is of Danish descent and my father is French. I needed help reading microfilms because of this difference in languages. I prayed that the Lord would help me know how to take the next steps.
The very next morning, Monday, January 5, 2015, my doorbell rang, and there stood a Ward Family History Consultant, Claude Poitras, with his wife. Brother Poitras said he felt that he should come to my home and help me with my family history. I was so excited, and I thanked the Lord so many times for this blessing. I was so grateful to have someone working with me who knew what he was doing.
Each Monday morning, pretty well for the next 52 weeks, Brother Poitras sat at my computer, and I handed him my family group sheets for him to enter onto Family Search. I was so grateful I had researched these families earlier and could prove what I had found. If someone had been missed and the temple work wasn’t completely finished, the policy (at that time) was that we would print an ordinance request form to take to the Temple. Then, the temple workers printed up an ordinance card. My family members and I had done so much research for these ancestors that very few people were missed.
Brother Poitras and I finished entering my mom’s family names on Monday, January 4, 2016, almost a year exactly from when we started. I had such a special feeling about doing this work. When you do family history, it seems like they are not a number anymore—they are real people. You learn to love them. That first year we did approximately 300 names on my mother’s line.
In 2016 we started researching my father’s families. Brother Poitras and I felt that we needed to begin each session with a word of prayer so that we could have the special attention of our Father in Heaven. All of these records were written in French, and I was so grateful that Brother Poitras was completely fluent in French. Some records we researched were the seven volumes of an encyclopedia by the Catholic Priest Tanguay, which covered the years 1600-1750. We also researched Family Tree and the Quebec Catholic Parish Records, which covered births and deaths from the years 1621-1979. We found that most French families and their descendants during those times had twelve or more children. Therefore, the number of names we could prepare for temple work was astounding, and I found this exciting.
Changes in the Family Search policies in 2016 enabled us to print ordinance cards on a home computer. Temple work for these dear people could be accomplished more easily and quickly. Do you think our ancestors on the other side of the veil are aware of what is going on? Yes, I testify this is so, for many times I felt their presence.
One such occasion was when Brother Poitras found that my dad had a missing brother, Alexander, who had died when he was a year old. Alexander was possibly never christened or baptized. We printed this child’s ordinance card and took it to the temple. We felt that all of Grandpa and Grandma Gorham’s family were present at this sealing. It was so thrilling. Can you imagine how they felt? They were experiencing the comforting doctrine Mormon taught his son Moroni: “But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism” Moroni 8: 12.
I imagine that their joy was great as was mine when I completed 130 weeks of working with my Family History Consultant—Brother Poitras—and his wife who always accompanied him when he came to my home. He helped “prepare a way” for me to “accomplish the thing” God had commanded me to do.