Look at the Last Page

Natalia Shcherbakova, Ukraine, as told to Pavlyna Ubyiko

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    When I joined the Church, I was eager to get involved in family history work. I began visiting local archives to search for my ancestors’ information in public records.

    I found the work fulfilling, but it was not always easy. The old handwriting was often difficult to read, and some of the books were moldy, which agitated my asthma. Still, I continued researching as best I could.

    One day I was researching about my grandfather, looking for his date of birth. I found a 1,500-page book that might be helpful. But what if it didn’t have the answer I needed? I dreaded having to look through more big, dusty books.

    I began skimming the book’s contents, hoping a familiar name would catch my eye. Suddenly, I thought I heard someone say, “The last page.” I looked around, but it did not appear that anyone had spoken to me. I continued and read several more pages. Then I heard the same words again: “The last page.” Somewhat hesitantly, I decided to check the last page. I found the text that is usually written there: a summary of children born and the total number of pages. Just in case, I checked the page that preceded the last one but found nothing helpful there, so I turned back to the page I had been reading before.

    My thoughts were soon interrupted once more by the soft but persistent voice: “The last page!” I decided to try the last page again and read the now-familiar text several times.

    Then I noticed something I had missed before: an extra page pasted inside the back cover. As I read the handwriting scribbled across the page, I saw the names of children born near the end of December. There I recognized my grandfather’s name and saw that it stated where and when he was born and baptized. I was astonished but filled with gratitude that I had been led to the information I needed.

    Family history can be challenging at times, but I know that God guides and assists us in our efforts.