Family History Moments: A Priceless Gift

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 16 January 2015

The journals at the Lebanon, Oregon, family history center were rarely touched, so the center decided to search out the families who would be interested and send them the journals. 

Article Highlights

  • A family history center in Oregon searched out the families that would appreciate the journals they had accumulated throughout the years.
  • Many of the families who received the journals of their ancestors were overjoyed at the gift.

“We feel the effort we made to find families who would appreciate and make use of all the journal information, pictures, and letters was worth all the research.” —Melinda Shibles and Cloene Pippert, Snow Peak Ward, Lebanon Oregon Stake

The Church’s family history center in Lebanon, Oregon, through different circumstances, has accumulated a large number of personal family journals through the years.

Three long bookcase shelves were full to the brim. Included were hardbound books, family group sheets in large three-ring binders, brown envelopes, and a shoe box with family pictures and obituaries.

Very seldom, if ever, were these books even glanced at except for the surnames on the spine of the binder. It was felt that there must be families who would like to have them. We searched FamilySearch Family Tree for names and recent emails of family members who had made some changes to their family lines. We then emailed them to ask if they would like to have the book pertaining to their respective families, asking only for help with the cost of postage if possible.

The response was overwhelming. People were so excited to get this information about their families.

These were some of the “thank you” responses:

“This gift is priceless.”

“This family history is a treasure!”

“The book arrived today, and in just glancing through it I found several relatives. This is a wonderful gift.”

“I have found ancestors I did not know existed.”

“I’m enjoying reading the book you sent. My ancestors are more ‘alive’ to me now.”

“The papers you sent arrived safely, and my family and I are thrilled with the new information. I was able to slip a copy into my sister’s 70th birthday card as a surprise, and she was delighted.”

“Not only am I excited with all the genealogy, I am delighted with all the letters, histories, and biographical information. My children and grandchildren will be thrilled with new stories about their ancestors.”

“I appreciate having a copy of this book. The author is the son of my great-grandfather’s twin brother.”

We feel the effort we made to find families who would appreciate and make use of all the journal information, pictures, and letters was worth all the research.

—Melinda Shibles and Cloene Pippert, Snow Peak Ward, Lebanon Oregon Stake

Editor’s note: These days, descendants in possession of ancestors’ journals can share the content with a wide circle of descendants by uploading it to the Family Tree section of FamilySearch.org. Go to the website, log in, and click on the Memories link. There, you will find instructions for uploading stories, photos, documents, or audio recordings that may be accessed by other FamilySearch users who are among an ancestor’s descendants.