“I Didn’t Give Up,” Liahona, Sept. 2008, 26–27
A year after my baptism in 1963 in Argentina, I was called to serve as branch clerk. One day I came across some blank family group records and pedigree charts. Without any training, I began filling out the sheets with the help of my mother. She remembered the names of her ancestors and my father’s, as well as the important dates in their lives, back to the fourth generation. She even remembered some of the people in the fifth generation and one person in the sixth.
I felt the desire to go further in my search, and I worked to verify the information my mother had given me. When I learned the purpose of family history work, I immediately began submitting to the temple the names of my deceased loved ones.
Though I had been successful on my mother’s line, I struggled with my father’s side. Despite my efforts, for close to 25 years I was unable to confirm the date of my paternal grandfather’s birth. His marriage certificate stated that he was born in Udine, Italy, so I wrote about 30 letters to that town and the surrounding towns. None of the replies confirmed what I was looking for.
In 1988 a branch of the family history library opened in Rosario, and I was called to work as a librarian. It felt like touching heaven, having all of that material within reach. I spent hours reading, and I ordered microfilm records from many cities. In the International Genealogical Index (IGI), I found the exact names of my grandfather and great-grandfather. I wrote to the town in Italy where the two men had been born and asked for their birth certificates. The parish priest sent them to me, but the records proved these men were not related to me.
I wrote again—asking this time if the priest had any information on my grandfather. He referred me to the city hall, so I wrote a letter there. My heart leaped with joy when I received a sheet of paper containing the names and important dates pertaining to my grandparents, great-grandparents, second great-grandparents, and many other family members. This sheet also told me that my grandfather’s name had been changed after his arrival in Argentina, explaining the confusion in finding his information.
I wrote to the city again and asked them to send me the sheet that preceded the one they had already sent. They did so, and it included the names of 27 more people. I had the temple ordinances done for all these family members, with the assurance that they were indeed my ancestors.
Because of wonderful experiences like these, I feel well rewarded for my efforts in doing family history research. Though there have been disappointments at times, I have not given up. I can see that Heavenly Father has surely led me in my search.
I know that our Heavenly Father will provide an opportunity for all of His children to receive temple ordinances, whether now or in the Millennium. But I also know that our ancestors who accept the gospel in the spirit world are longing for us to do our family history work. If we give our best efforts to the Lord, He will provide a way.