Family History Moment: There’s Always Work to Do

Contributed By Bob Anderson, Miller Ward, Mesa Arizona North Stake

  • 12 September 2016

Don’t just do family history work; engage your family in the work too.

Article Highlights

  • Dig deep enough through your family history, and you’ll find work.

In 1972 my uncle—who was not a member of the Church—retired from the Navy, went to Canada, and, for some reason, visited all of the Andersons he could find. He gathered data on them, such as births, marriages, deaths, children, and spouses. He did the same for Andersons in New York.

My great-great-grandfather had 10 children. Two of them died young, four went to western Canada, and four went to New York. My uncle mailed me 32 pages of family history. It stayed in my closet until 1992.

That is when I started to enter them in the personal ancestral file system. I did a lot of research on the names I received from my uncle by ordering all of the census films from the Mesa, Arizona, family history center.

I researched these films for years and also flew to Salt Lake City and spent many weekends looking at film. I had gathered many names on my personal ancestral file and finally realized that temple work needed to be done. I, being the only child and the only member of the Church on my father’s side, had a lot of work to do.

Several years ago I started doing temple work by baptizing my wife and youngest son as proxies. We did 200 names in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Since then I have engaged my family to work on the rest of the names.

I have grandchildren and young people of the ward doing baptisms; my children, grandchildren and their spouses, cousins and friends, and I are doing the initiatories; and the endowments are being completed by ward members and other temple patrons.

One of my sons-in-law did my names in 47 different temples on his travels to Canada and the United States.

I also have a granddaughter in North Dakota and cousins in Florida; St. Johns, Arizona; and Snowflake, Arizona, who are helping to do the work.

My immediate family—including my wife, children, grandchildren, and their spouses—are doing the sealings of spouses, parents, and children. We do 40–45 each session and 60 names at least once a month. I have been blessed in this work, and as of now I have 888 ordinances to still complete.

—Bob Anderson, Miller Ward, Mesa Arizona North Stake