"In the Quiet Heart" is based on experiences I have had over the years with family history and indexing.
My grandparents spent countless hours researching our family history, writing letters and making phone calls in search of our missing ancestors. Over the years, they gathered thousands of names, doing all they could for our kindred dead. In our modern world, genealogy work can be done in the comfort of our own home. With just a few clicks on the computer, we are instantly connected to people and records across the world.
I felt compelled soon after I was married to continue the work that my grandparents had started. I would sit down at the computer whenever I could, hoping to find a clue to continue one of the many family lines that ended so abruptly. It was not always easy to do with my young children needing my constant attention. As my kids grew older, I began to find more time, but still only had minimal success. It was a slow, difficult process.
Things changed drastically with the inspired commencement of the indexing program. Family history work suddenly became much easier. I went back to work on my genealogy with a renewed vigor, certain that I would now be able to extend my family history lines. I noticed that in many of my ancestor’s families the work was only done on the direct ancestor. The siblings were often unknown and unaccounted for. I decided that my focus would be to find the siblings and their spouses, working to seal the entire family together.
There was one particular family that I was constantly drawn to over the years. We had found the nine siblings, but none of them had spouses or children listed. Finding their spouses and children became my new challenge. I began with the oldest and worked my way to the youngest child. I found entire family units on the census records and felt so blessed to be able to take their names to the temple. At last, I reached the end of the family and started working on the youngest daughter.
After being married for several years, this young mother died in childbirth leaving her husband, Edwin, to raise a son on his own. The records showed that Edwin eventually remarried and had more children.
Incredibly, over the space of a few more days, I was able to find Edwin’s parents and siblings as well. I was thrilled to be able to further his line. Out of curiosity, or so I thought at the time, I followed Edwin’s family through the census records. I discovered that his second wife had an older sister named Sarah that had never married. The records showed that Sarah had lived with her sister’s family for many years. It occurred to me that Sarah had no descendants to do her work. I felt impressed to add Sarah to my list of names to take to the temple.
As I sat in the temple a few weeks later with Sarah’s name in my hand, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the Spirit. Unable to contain the tears that streamed down my face, I felt certain that Sarah was with me in the temple that day. I felt as if she were saying, “Thank you. I was afraid I would never be found.”
Had it been just curiosity on my part to read through the records? Or was Sarah nudging me in the right direction? Maybe someday I will meet Sarah and find out.