Moment: Finding Peace Doing Family History Work

Contributed By By Glen Greener, FamilySearch Outreach Specialist

  • 30 May 2014

When Bill Cardwell experienced difficulties in life, he found peace in researching family history.

“I don’t have a lot to pass on, but I can provide a family legacy.” —Bill Cardwell

When Bill Cardwell experienced difficulties in life, he found peace in researching family history.

He began by accumulating what others had done. He eventually started working to see what he could add, searching for temple ordinances that needed to be completed.

As a young man, Brother Cardwell joined the U.S. Navy and served for four years. He married, had four children, and later divorced.

To stay close to the gospel, he began devoting himself to genealogy research. Every Friday he traveled to the Family History Library near Temple Square in Salt Lake City. He took notes, transcribed them at home, transferred them to his computer, and printed them. He created a lot of paperwork.

Brother Cardwell said, “Researching family history sustained me by keeping my mind active. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. I know I found some things through the guidance of the Spirit. Sometimes I had chills down my back, and I could feel the Spirit guiding me. When that happened, I knew I had to keep going. I had to put the family together by continuing my research.”

There were many complications. Family names changed; MacCardwell, Cardell, and Hollis had common people, dates, and locations. “My third-great-grandfather joined the Church in England. I found records of him baptizing other members of his family and finally the records of them coming to the United States in the 1870s and settling in the 21st and Immigration Wards. Their children moved on to the northwestern states and to Canada.”

Brother Cardwell said studying family history sustained him during difficult years and continues to sustain him today. “It was the mystery that sustained, and it still hasn’t been completely solved.”

Brother Cardwell is now working on putting all the information he gathered over the years on FamilySearch.org. When asked why he is so adamant about genealogy, he explained, “I want to leave a legacy for my kids. At the age of 42, I had to start over again, coming out of a difficult divorce with almost nothing. I don’t have a lot to pass on, but I can provide a family legacy.”

Brother Cardwell is excited about entering his information into FamilySearch.org because, he said, “Once it’s done, it doesn’t have to be done again. Now I have a lot of confidence in the work that has been done and the ordinances that need to be done.”