Family History Miracles Do Happen

Contributed By Kirk P. Lovenbury, Church News contributor

  • 11 December 2015

The Texan said he had ancestors in Pennsylvania too. Turns out he was my third cousin and had the family Bible. 

One Thursday at about 7:00 p.m., I was at the Orlando Florida Stake Family History Library. A lady came in who said she was a member. An elderly neighbor had died and the children, knowing that Latter-day Saints were “big on genealogy,” passed a small pile of books on to the LDS woman. They meant nothing to her, so she donated them to the library. I thanked her, took a quick look at the titles, set them on a table, and went back to my own work.

About an hour later another woman came in. She said she had never been in an LDS meetinghouse before, but maybe we could help with her genealogy. She started telling me about her ancestors from a rural county in Iowa, but she could find no information on them. As she went on, I thought, “Where have I heard that name before?”

I looked at the pile of books. The fourth one down was the history of that Iowa county. Not only did it have her ancestors, but it had all of their lines back to colonial times. A miracle had taken place right there in front of me.

Another time, I was asked to teach a Sunday afternoon genealogy class at a local church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After the third week, one of the members, Dan, said he would be absent the next time because he and his family were driving to Florida.

Two weeks later, Dan met me at the door and announced, “You’ll never guess what happened!”

On the way home, they had stopped at the Welcome Station on the Florida-Georgia line. While waiting for his wife, he sat down on a bench in front of his car. Another car pulled in with Texas license plates. The lady went in, but the man sat down on the bench and said, “I’ll wait here.”

After a while, the Texan said, “I see your Pennsylvania tags. Where are you from?”

Dan told him, “Harrisburg.”

The man said that he had Pennsylvania ancestors, but they were from the western part of the state. As the man went on about his family, Dan thought it all sounded very familiar. Finally, Dan asked the man his family name. It was his own last name! The man was his third cousin and he had the family Bible. Within weeks, Dan was able to add 100 names to his tree and lines going back to Germany into the 1600s.

When it comes to genealogy, I have been greatly blessed. I know that miracles happen.