Family History Moment: How My Ancestors Got Me to Do Their Work
Contributed By Sherry Shallenberger, Church News contributor
“Sometimes we may think we know what we want to work on when we visit the Family History Library, but other times, our ancestors might just have plans of their own.” —Sherry Shallenberger, Jamestown New York Stake
While visiting family in Utah this past summer, I was looking forward to spending some time at the Family History Library. I was hoping to get my Baumgardner research back another generation or two. However, when I logged in to my FamilySearch account to prepare for my visit to the library, I noticed someone had entered an incorrect wife for my great-great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Robinson of Pontefract, Yorkshire, England. I had done a lot of research on that line back in 2010. Due to some major health problems in 2012, I had never entered their information into FamilySearch.
Now six years later, I realized my delay in entering this information could lead to my ancestor being sealed to the wrong woman for eternity! Fortunately, there was an email address listed in FamilySearch for the person who had added the incorrect wife, and I was able to send them an email listing my sources and information. They quickly responded, agreeing they had added their ancestor as the wife of the wrong Thomas Robinson.
The next day when I arrived at the Family History Library, I headed up to the International floor, where I planned to look at some records from Switzerland. Before getting started, I decided to take a minute to add my sources into FamilySearch and then I would spend the rest of the day working on my Baumgardner line.
As I started to enter my sources, I noticed Ancestry listed a marriage record for Charles John Tempest Robinson, Thomas’s son. I had always been intrigued by this man who listed two middle names in the 1861 Adwalton, Yorkshire, England census, and I always wondered if Tempest was perhaps a family name from his mother’s side of the family. So I decided to take another minute and look at the marriage record in Ancestry.
To my surprise, the record listed the names of Charles’s first wife, their three children, plus the name of a second wife. Intrigued by this new information, I found I could not pull myself away.
The patron next to me even asked me why I was doing English research on the International floor. I couldn’t explain it, other than I knew that this man and his family wanted their temple work to be completed. Once I had printed out all of the temple cards for Charles John Tempest Robinson and his family, the strong hold I felt to complete this task lifted off my shoulders and I was able to spend the rest of the day working on my Baumgardner line.
Sometimes we may think we know what we want to work on when we visit the Family History Library, but other times, our ancestors might just have plans of their own.
—Sister Sherry Shallenberger is from the Franklin Ward, Jamestown New York Stake