Family History Moment: From beyond the Veil

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 29 August 2016

A woman does family history work on a computer in the Church History Library.

Article Highlights

  • Ancestors behind the veil care about the family history work we do.

“If she hadn’t seen the glowing hand, she obviously would have missed that long-sought connection. We probably would never have been able to extend the line.” —Duane S. Crowther, Bountiful Utah Stake

Several decades ago, our William Orson Crowther Family Organization’s genealogical research stretched back to Simon Crowther. He was born in 1606 in Easthope, a tiny village in Shropshire, England. Hoping to extend the family line further back, we employed Bertha Call, a professional genealogist in Bountiful, Utah.

When she was hired, she insisted she first should prove our existing records on the line. To our dismay, she discovered someone working on the line years ago had followed an incorrect path for Thomas Crowther about five generations back. It appeared we had lost our line back to Simon!

We asked her to search and follow the line for the correct Thomas Crowther. Unfortunately, her research soon hit a blank wall. However, she recognized the tiny communities near Easthope were full of Crowthers. She suspected the real ancestor would be found if records of those surrounding villages were searched. At our request, she did so and, as the family leaders instructed, compiled hundreds of Crowther family group sheets as she unsuccessfully sought the correct line.

As she later related this event to us, one night she had our Crowther family records laid out on card tables in her bedroom. In the middle of the night she was awakened. Looking across the dark room she saw a glowing hand pointing to a particular record sheet.

With that intriguing clue, the next morning she prayerfully sought special guidance, then hastened to the genealogical library in nearby Salt Lake City. There she did extra research on all the individuals listed on that sheet. To her joy, she found one of the men on the page proved to be the son of the elusive Thomas Crowther—the connecting link she’d long searched for.

If she hadn’t seen the glowing hand, she obviously would have missed that long-sought connection. We probably would never have been able to extend the line.

That miraculous experience was a real strengthening influence for our family. It was a strong testimony to us that our deceased forefathers knew of the work we were doing, that they were vitally interested in it, that they recognized that their special assistance from the spirit world was needed, and that they were allowed to penetrate the veil and communicate with us. We truly were blessed!

—Duane S. Crowther, Bountiful 31st Ward, Bountiful Utah Stake