For some time I was active in doing family history and temple work. As I progressed in my research, though, I knew I would have trouble finding information about one person—my maternal grandfather.
My mother was not raised with her father and had lost contact with him, her siblings, and all her father’s relatives. She didn’t have anything to confirm his birth date or birthplace, and she wasn’t sure where or when he had died. I wondered if I would ever find the necessary information.
One day as I was looking through my mother’s diary, I noticed a photograph of my grandfather. As I turned it over, I saw that he had signed and dated the photo and indicated how old he was at the time. I now had an approximate date for his birth! I excitedly searched his name and the dates on FamilySearch. To my great astonishment, I saw that his ordinances had already been done. Who could have done my grandfather’s temple work?
I soon discovered that the work had been performed by one of my long-lost maternal uncles. I searched for his contact information and eventually found his telephone number.
I was nervous about calling him because he had met me 30 years before—when I was one. I didn’t know how he would react.
Still, I decided to call. When he answered, I explained how I had found the information about my grandfather—his father—and told him that I was his niece.
I will always remember his response: “You could never know the sadness I have felt about having lost contact with your mother. Now you have removed that sadness from me!”
We learned that his family and mine, though separated, had been baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the same time, and both families were firm in the gospel. It was a joyful, emotional moment for us.
I had long understood that family history and temple work can connect us to our deceased ancestors, but I had never considered that it could connect us to our living relatives as well. I am grateful that I have been able to help unite our family through family history—not only in the spirit world but also during our earthly life.