My dad had been doing a lot of family history work. I loved hearing about my ancestors who were pioneers, ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary War, and ancestors who had been kings and knights in Europe.
“How would you like to come to the Family History Library with me on Saturday?” Dad asked one day.
“Sure!” I couldn’t wait to see for myself the royal names on our pedigree chart.
We arrived in Salt Lake City and enjoyed the summer morning sunshine as we walked to the library. I became more and more excited the closer we got. There inside that big building were the names and stories of my own family—pioneers, soldiers, knights, and all.
Once inside, Dad pulled up a couple of chairs in front of a computer. We sat down, and he began navigating through databases to show me where our family tied into a royal line.
“Hmmm.” His forehead furrowed. “I can’t seem to find it today,” he finally said.
I was very disappointed. We spent the rest of the morning looking through books that held stories of my pioneer ancestors. I enjoyed that too, but I still wanted to learn about my other ancestors.
“Don’t worry,” Dad said. “We’ll come back next weekend.”
The week flew by, and soon Dad and I were sitting in front of a computer in the Family History Library again. This time, Dad said, “Aha! Found it.”
He scrolled through names of kings and queens from all over Europe recorded there in my family history! There were so many names and dates that it would take many days to get them all into our family history software. “We’ll have to come back a lot to get all the information we need,” I said.
A woman working on the computer next to us glanced over and saw what we were doing. “I’m related to that line too,” she said. “I’ve been working here every day to get information about those ancestors.” Within minutes, she copied all of her information onto a disc and handed it to Dad.
As we walked back to the car, I thought hard. “Heavenly Father must really want us to find our ancestors, don’t you think, Dad?”
He smiled. “I think you’re right. If we had found the ancestors we were looking for last week, we may not have met our new friend here today. And had we not met her, we would not have been able to find so many of our ancestors so quickly.”
I knew that Heavenly Father had helped us discover almost 1,000 years’ worth of family history in one morning. He loves our ancestors as much as He loves us. We needed to help them just as He had helped us—by finding their names, learning about their lives, and making sure their temple work was done. Someday I will meet them, and we can be an eternal family.
“I admonish all families: search out your heritage. It is important to know … those who came before us. We discover something about ourselves when we learn about our ancestors.”
“Constant Truths for Changing Times,” Ensign, May 2005, 21.
Illustration by Sam Lawlor