Family History Moment: Sister Missionaries Discover a Common Ancestor

Contributed By Lori Steadman, Church News contributor

  • 23 July 2015

Two sister missionaries realize that they share a common ancestor, and over a hundred new names are discovered.

Article Highlights

  • ShaLae Steadman and her companion, Sister Garcia, realized they had the same ancestor.
  • Upon hearing this, ShaLae’s mother, Lori, reread that ancestor’s history and realized that there were gaps in her family tree.
  • Over 150 ordinances were done for these people.

“When our daughter was set apart as a missionary, she was promised that she would serve for her whole family. Now I can see that blessing was an eternal promise.” —Lori Steadman, Murray 28th Ward, Murray Utah Parkway Stake

Our daughter, ShaLae Steadman, served in the Poland Warsaw Mission. One Sunday while she was teaching the young women a lesson on family history, her companion, Sister Garcia, read a story of her ancestor, Hannah Knight Libby Carter, that her mother had sent in the mail.

In a history written by Hannah’s daughter, she tells of the visit of Daniel Bean and John F. Boynton, a future member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the spring of 1834. “My mother lay very sick. The doctors had given her up. The Elders told her they were preaching a new doctrine and that she could be healed if she could have faith. They laid hands on her and prayed that she would be made whole; she arose and dressed and walked about half a mile to Bear River, where she was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Six of the Carters’ nine children joined the Church as well.

As Sister Garcia read the account, our daughter recognized the story as one of her own ancestors. Both missionaries were delighted to discover they were related. Out of 340 missions in the Church, and only 10 sisters assigned to Poland at that time, the chances of these two sisters coming together in this tiny branch in Eastern Europe were small.

When our daughter sent this information in an email, I was eager to reread Hannah’s conversion story. I was drawn to study Hannah’s family line on FamilySearch to discover how these two sister missionaries were connected. I had been involved in family history work for years and examined this line many times before, and I was certain that all of the temple work was completed. However, as I clicked on some of the names of Hannah’s mother’s family, I noticed couples sealed together that showed no children. I was able to find cemetery records in Maine that had been posted online just a few months ago. There were pictures of grave markers and information dating back to the 1800s, with some markers showing children’s names on their parents’ markers. With this information, I was able to further document their births using online U.S. Census Records, add their names to FamilySearch, and prepare their names for temple ordinances.

When our daughter was set apart as a missionary, she was promised that she would serve for her whole family. Now I can see that blessing was an eternal promise. I felt great joy to report that as a result of her service and that of her companion, and the technology that makes research so much easier, there are now almost 150 ordinances that she and her companion are a part of.