Family History Moments: One Name at a Time

Contributed By Ann Nebeker, Church News contributor

  • 11 September 2014

Ann Nebeker utilized many of the available resources to do family history work, such as family history fairs and centers, genealogy seminars, and the Church Family History Library.

Article Highlights

  • Ann Nebeker received personal instruction regarding genealogy in her patriarchal blessing, which lead her to investigate her ancestors.

“I have cried over the deaths of babies and marveled at the strength and courage it took to settle this great country.” —Ann Nebeker

In 1961 I was baptized into the Church. In 1965, my husband gave me a book of remembrance for Christmas. He often reminded me that I was the first member of the Church in my family and “had family history responsibilities.”

In 1968 I received my patriarchal blessing—11 specific paragraphs, the largest of which concerned my genealogy.

In 1973 Kathleen Barrett and her family moved into our ward, and she and I became visiting teaching companions. She was a wonderful and professional genealogist. I sometimes babysat for her when she did research.

One Saturday, I went with her to a family history center in Los Angeles to begin my journey. Kathleen helped me get started by looking at some Ohio records, because my parents and I had all been born in Ohio. One item seemed promising: it turned out to be my dad’s grandfather.

In 1982, we moved to Washington State. I was reminded from time to time that my ancestors were still waiting, but I tried to ignore the promptings.

Then a genealogy seminar was offered in a nearby stake, and I decided to go. It was interesting, but the only thing I came away with was that the Seattle public library had a very big genealogy department.

It happened that a week or so later my husband had to go to Seattle on business. I went with him, and he dropped me off at the library.

Just before it was time to go, I found a family name. I just knew the name I found, David Tarbox, was an ancestor, and it turned out he was.

FamilySearch is a free tool that can help you start your genealogy today.

I was on my way, learning and loving it more each day. I spent a tidy sum in the old days ordering microfilmed records from Salt Lake City, traveling about western Washington to various family history centers, and burying myself in books to read wills, county histories, and all kinds of records.

Things are different now that we have computers. But one thing that will remain the same is the wonderful family to be found. I have cried over the deaths of babies and marveled at the strength and courage it took to settle this great country. I am so very grateful for the opportunity that I have had to learn of this family of mine and see that their temple work was done. Someday, I’ll meet them in person. —Ann Nebeker, Mount Vernon, Washington