Family History Insights


Man Was Made for Immortality
“Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.” Abraham Lincoln, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum,of Springfield, Illinois (January 27, 1838), Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1953, p. 109.

Prayer About Eternal Life
George Washington, the Father of our country, prayed regularly and earnestly. Here’s one of his recorded prayers about being reunited with his family and friends after death:
“Daily frame me more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father, & c.@ W. Herbert Burk, Washington's Prayers, 1907

We Come From God, Who is Our Home
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home.” William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250-1900, 536.

The Greatest Blessings
“God is the designer of the family. He intended that the greatest of happiness, the most satisfying aspects of life, the deepest joys should come in our associations together and our concerns one for another as fathers and mothers and children”. Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1991, 74

Knowing Who You Are
“Knowing who you are and what responsibility you have towards your family forces your behavior to be consistent with your family values. It passes right down across the generations.”
Alex Haley, press conference, Freedman’s Bank CD, 2001

Digging for Your Roots
“My fondest hope is that “Roots” may start black, white, brown, red, yellow people digging back for their own roots. Man, that would make me feel 90 feet tall.” Alex Haley

Collect Everything About Your Life
“Get a cardboard box. Any kind of box will do. Put it someplace where it is in the way, . . . anywhere where it cannot go unnoticed. Then, over a period of a few weeks, collect and put into the box every record of your life..... Collect diplomas, all of the photographs, honors, or awards, a diary if you have kept one, everything that you can find pertaining to your life; anything that is written, or registered, or recorded that testifies that you are alive and what you have done.” Boyd K. Packer, Liahona, Aug. 2003, 15

Connected With Our Past
“Whether we recognize it or not, we are connected with our past… people who care nothing for the past usually have no thought for the future and are selfish in the way they use the present.” Spencer W. Kimball, World Conference of Records, 1980

Become Acquainted with Ancestors
“It doesn’t matter whether your computer is able to compile all the family group sheets for everyone that every lived on the earth, it remains the responsibility of each individual to know his kindred dead…[it is] each person’s responsibility to study and become acquainted with his ancestors.” J. Fielding Smith, Turned to the Fathers, 184

Receive Strength and Guidance
“So often we think of our responsibility to do something for those who have gone before. We need to understand that probably one of the most important benefits of preserving our heritage is what it does for us today. If we want our problems to be solved, one of the surest ways of doing that is to search for our past, for therein we receive strength, guidance, and understanding. [You] are giving an added eternal dimension to your lives as you learn and study the past. We can receive strength and help from those who have gone on before. To raise our families today, we need to do family research and genealogy.” John H. Groberg, Chairman of the Olympic Events Executive Committee, Press Conference 2002

Increases Sense of Identity
As I learn more about my own ancestors who worked so hard, sacrificed so much, it increases my sense of identity and deepens my commitment to honor their memory. Perhaps there has never been a time when a sense of family, of identity and self worth has been more important to the world. Seeking to understand our family history can change our lives and helps bring unity and cohesion to the family.” Gordon B. Hinckley, Deseret News, 17 Apr 2001

You Will Find It
“The spirit and influence of your dead will guide those who are interested in finding those records. If there is anywhere on the earth anything concerning them, you will find it.” Melvin J. Ballard (1873-1939), Sermons of Melvin Joseph Ballard, p. 230

Shall Not Have Died in Vain
“...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln,  Gettysburg Address

Love Your Family
“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your family, what have you really accomplished?”  Lee Iacocca

What Do Your Ancestors Think?
“We know that many have passed away in wars, pestilence, and various accidents. .... We wonder about our progenitors—grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc. What do they think of you and me? We are their offspring...” Spencer Kimball, Ensign, January 1977:5

Continuation of Your Parents
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. A Lifetime of Peace, 2003, 141

Weight of History
“We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.” Shirley Abbott

A Light From Our Ancestors
“Distinguished ancestors shed a powerful light on their descendants, and forbid the concealment either of their merits or of their demerits.” Gaius Sallustius Crispus

An Inheritance From Our Ancestors
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards . . . . We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors . . . [they] transmitted them to us with care and diligence.” Samuel Adams

Traits from Ancestors
“A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Quotation from Ancestors
“Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Made from Our Ancestors
“...a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight [ancestors] rolled up in each man’s skin ... and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Decide to Do Something Significant
“Set aside those things that don’t really matter in your life. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences. Perhaps you have been prompted to look for ancestors but feel that you are not a genealogist. Can you see that you don’t have to be anymore? It all begins with love and a sincere desire. ... This is...a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil where help is given in both directions. It begins with love. Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful.”  Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1990, 7

Creating Memories
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”  Charles R. Swindol, pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California (1971-1994); radio host for Insight for Living; www.oneplace.com

Feel A Special Connection
“As you look into the [computer] you may be surprised to find names of your parents, of your grandparents, of your great-grandparents, and your great-great-grandparents, who have bequeathed to you all you are of body and mind. You will feel a special connection to those who have gone before you and an increased responsibility to those who will follow.” Gordon Hinckley, National Press Club Speech, March 8, 2000

Before You Were Born
“Not to know what happened before one was born is to remain a child.”  Cicero (106-43 BC)

Know Where You Came From
“A nation [or family] which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”  Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States (1913-1921)

Nature's Masterpiece
“The family is one of nature's masterpieces.”  George Santayana, Philosopher, poet, literary and cultural critic

Tend Your Roots
A family tree can wither if nobody tends it's roots.  Unknown

Politics and Family History
"Why waste your money looking up your family tree, just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you."  Mark Twain

Lemons and Bad Apples
Any family tree produces lemons, nuts, and a few bad apples. Unknown

Heritage of the Past
"The heritage of the past is in the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future."  National Archives, Washington. D.C.

Ancestors Treasury
“We cannot live fully without the treasury our ancestors have left to us.”  George Mackay Brown

Pride in Ancestors
“Happy the man who thinks of his ancestors with pride, who likes to tell of their deeds and greatness, and rejoices to feel himself linked to their goodly chain.” Goethe

Deserve to be Remembered
“It is a noble employment to rescue from oblivion those who deserve to be remembered.” Pliny

An Historian
“An historian is a prophet in retrospect.” Von Schlegel, 1798

Ancestors Wisdom
“We have hardly any land-marks from the wisdom of our ancestors, to guide us. At best we can only follow the spirit of their proceeding in other cases.” Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, 1770

Reflecting on Ancestors
“People will not look forward to posterity, who never looks backward to their ancestors.” Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790

Find the Time to
Connect to Your Ancestors

“There somehow seems to be the feeling that genealogical work is an all-or-nothing [activity]. That is not so. Genealogical work is [a hobby] for every [one]. And we may do it successfully along with all the other responsibilities that rest upon us. ... You can fulfill your [ambition to trace] your kindred dead...without forsaking your other responsibilities. ... You can do it without becoming a so-called ‘expert’ in it.

There is an old Chinese proverb which states: ‘Man who sits with legs crossed and mouth open, waiting for roast duck to fly in, have long hunger.’ Once we started, we found the time. Somehow we were able to carry on all of the other responsibilities. There seemed to be an increased inspiration in our lives because of this work. But the decision, the action, must begin with [you]. ...

The process of searching...[is] worth all the effort you could invest. The reason: You cannot find names without knowing that they represent people. You begin to find out things about people. When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names. ... Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find and to know and to serve them.”  Boyd Packer, Bookcraft, 1980, pp. 223-30, 239-40

I Felt a Connection with My Ancestors
“Spiritual blessings do come to people who are involved in this [family history] work! ... Thirty-five years ago I was...in England. My mother had been pursuing her grandmother’s family history, but she knew nothing more than that her grandmother had been born in a little place called Philly Green, England. My mother had never been able to locate this town. ... As I was driving...I saw a little sign that said “Philly Green.” Several weeks later, I returned and drove down a winding country lane until I came to a quaint little village with a church that had been built in 1174. I went out into the cemetery and looked at each headstone. During the next few hours, I had the privilege of finding the headstones of my great-grandmother’s family members. I’ll never forget how I felt that day standing in that cemetery in that beautiful place in England. I felt a connection with my ancestors, particularly with my great-grandmother, who as a seventeen-year-old girl left her family in England and moved to [America]. What a great experience! This kind of joy really can come to every[one].”  Monte J. Brough, Ensign, Dec. 1994, 16

Connecting the Past with the Future
Those who do not look upon themselves as links connecting the past with the future do not perform their duty to the world.  Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Possible Ancestors (mathematically)
Generations  Years  Ancestors
1             25          2 
2             50          4
3             75          8
4             100        16
10            250        1024
15            375        32,768
20            500        1,048,576
25            625        33,554,432
30            750        1 billion
35            875        30 billion
40            1000      1 trillion

The Seeds of Our Heritage
Etched in stone at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., is this meaningful truth: “The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.” Two hundred years ago the seeds of our heritage were being planted by men and women of great spiritual drive and steadfastness of purpose. Seeds of devotion and willing sacrifice for a just cause, seeds of courage and loyalty, seeds of faith in God were all planted in the soil of freedom that a mightier work might come forth. In Richard Wheeler’s Voices of 1776 we read firsthand accounts of some of those who were engaged in this “planting” process. Their expressions stir our souls to a greater appreciation of the heritage we enjoy and upon which we must build. A young doctor of Barnstable, Massachusetts, recorded in his journal on the 21st of April, 1775, the following: “This event seems to have electrified all classes of people … inspiriting and rousing the people to arms! to arms! … Never was a cause more just, more sacred, than ours. We are commanded to defend the rich inheritance bequeathed to us by our virtuous ancestors; it is our bounden duty to transmit it uncontaminated to our posterity. We must fight valiantly.” (Richard Wheeler, Voices of 1776, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1972, pp. 33-34.) Rex D. Pinegar, “A Call to Arms,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 101

A Priceless Heritage
In addition to the legacy of faith bequeathed by [our ancestors], they also left a great heritage of love—love of God and love of mankind. It is an inheritance of sobriety, independence, hard work, high moral values, and fellowship. ... It is a legacy of forsaking evil. Immorality, alternative lifestyles, gambling, selfishness, dishonesty, unkindness, and addiction to alcohol and drugs are not part of [our great heritage].... James E. Faust, “A Priceless Heritage,” Ensign, July 2002, 2

The Graciousness of Heaven
“The success, which has hitherto attended our united efforts we owe to the gracious interposition of Heaven. And to that interposition let us gratefully ascribe the praise of victory, and the blessings of peace.” George Washington, “To the Executive of New Hampshire, Nov. 3, 1789,” Writings, 30:453

Our Noble Heritage
Fifty-six men signed the [Declaration of Independence] on August 2, 1776, or, in the case of some, shortly thereafter. They pledged their lives!—and at least nine of them died as a result of the war. If the Revolution had failed, if their fight had come to naught, they would have been hanged as traitors. They pledged their fortunes!—and at least fifteen fulfilled that pledge to support the war effort. They pledged their sacred honor!—best expressed by the noble statement of John Adams. He said: “All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I begun, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, Independence, now, and INDEPENDENCE FOR EVER.” (Works of Daniel Webster, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1877, 17th ed., 1:135.)

How fitting it is that we sing:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
“America the Beautiful” Hymn

...[Our forefathers] came—with indomitable faith and courage, following incredible suffering and adversity. They came—with stamina, with inspired confidence for better days. We live amid unbounded prosperity—this because of the heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears, a heritage of self-reliance, initiative, personal industry, and faith in God, all in an atmosphere of freedom. Though they did not possess our physical comforts, they left their posterity a legacy of something more enduring—a hearthside where parents were close by their children, where daily devotions, family prayer, scripture reading, and the singing of hymns was commonplace. Families worked, worshipped, played, and prayed together. ...

There should be no doubt what our task is today. If we truly cherish the heritage we have received, we must maintain the same virtues and the same character of our stalwart forebears—faith in God, courage, industry, frugality, self-reliance, and integrity. We have the obligation to maintain what those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and sacred honor gave to future generations. Our opportunity and obligation for doing so is clearly upon us. As one with you, charged with the responsibility of protecting and perpetuating this noble heritage, I stand today with bowed head and heart overflowing with gratitude. May we begin to repay this debt by preserving and strengthening this heritage in our own lives, in the lives of our children, their children, and generations yet unborn.” Ezra Taft Benson, “Our Priceless Heritage,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 33

Unlock the Knowledge of Who You Really Are
“I encourage you...to begin to unlock the knowledge of who you really are by learning more about your forebears. ... Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness. We can have exciting experiences as we learn about our vibrant, dynamic ancestors. They were very real, living people with problems, hopes, and dreams like we have today. In many ways each of us is the sum total of what our ancestors were. The virtues they had may be our virtues, their strengths our strengths, and in a way their challenges could be our challenges. Some of their traits may be our traits. ... It is a joy to become acquainted with our forebears who died long ago. Each of us has a fascinating family history. Finding your ancestors can be one of the most interesting puzzles you...can work on. James E. Faust, Ensign, Nov. 2003, 53

The Miracle of the Chinese Bamboo Tree
After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, watered, and fertilized regularly every year you see NOTHING for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But sometime during the fifth year the Chinese Bamboo tree grows to EIGHTY FEET IN SIX WEEKS! Life is much akin to the growing process of the Chinese bamboo tree. It is often discouraging. We seemingly do things right, and nothing happens. But for those who do things right and are not discouraged and are persistent things will happen. Through patience, perseverance, diligence, work and nurturing, that “fifth year” will come, and all will be astonished at the growth and change which takes place. Finally we begin to receive the rewards. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we must “never, never, NEVER give up!”

Where Are You Headed?
“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

What Are You Doing?
"It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?"  Henry David Thoreau

Close to Success
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)

Know Where You’re Going
“No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.” – Maya Angelou (1928-    )

No Progress Without Struggle
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet renounce controversy are people who want crops without ploughing the ground.” – Frederick Douglass (1817-1895)

Felt With the Heart
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Opportunity in Difficulties
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

What Does “Third Cousin Once Removed” Mean?
Most of the time family relationships are simple. We know our father and mother, our brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. In our society, cousinhood is our way of expressing how closely two people are related to each other. We do this by counting generations back to our common ancestor, and subtracting one. For example, two people who share the same grandparents count two generations to their common ancestors. Two minus one equals one, so they are “first” cousins. If their closest common ancestors were their great great grandparents, they would be “third” cousins (four generations, minus one, equals three). We say removed when the number of generations is unequal. If you count three generations to a common ancestor (your great grandfather), and your cousin counts four generations to that same ancestor (her great great grandfather), your cousinhood is expressed first in terms of the closest relationship (second cousins), with an amendment showing the difference of one generation (once removed). Determining relationships can sound complex, but if you remember that you’re simply counting generations, it’s easier.

Genuine History
"A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable." – Thomas Jefferson

Standing on Ancestors Shoulders
The only way to look into the future is by standing on the shoulders of the past. – unknown

A Tree Without Roots
“To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.” – Chinese Proverb

Digging in Dirt/Facts
The difference between a geologist and a genealogist is that one digs in the dirt and sometimes find artifacts, while the other digs in facts and sometimes finds dirt. – Unknown

Benefits From Ancestors
“What task could be more agreeable than to tell of the benefits conferred on us by our ancestors, so that you may get to know the achievements of those from whom you have received both the basis of your beliefs and the inspiration to conduct your life properly?” – William Malmesbury, 1125 A.D.

Love and Life
“Where there is love, there is life.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Invited to Great Things
“He is invited to great things who receives small things greatly.” Cassiodorus (c. 485 - c. 585) Roman statesman, writer

The Best Day
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

To Forget One’s Ancestors
“To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.” – Chinese Proverb

Finding Your Roots
“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul."  – Simone Weil

Gathering Family Keepsakes
"Every family has...keepsakes. ... These include genealogies, family stories, historical accounts, and traditions. These eternal keepsakes...form a bridge between past and future and bind generations together in ways that no other keepsake can. ... Bridges between generations are not built by accident. Each [individual] has the personal responsibility to be an eternal architect of this bridge for his or her own family. ...

If I want my children and grandchildren to know those who still live in my memory, then I must build the bridge between them. I alone am the link to the generations that stand on either side of them. It is my responsibility to knit their hearts together through love and respect, even though they may never have known each other personally. My grandchildren will have no knowledge of their family’s history if I do nothing to preserve it for them. That which I do not in some way record will be lost at my death, and that which I do not pass on to my posterity, they will never have. The work of gathering and sharing eternal family keepsakes is a personal responsibility. It cannot be passed off or given to another.

A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory. What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family. Knowledge of our ancestors shapes us and instills within us values that give direction and meaning to our lives.”  Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Ensign, May 1999, 83

Your True Self
“Begin today to write and keep records of all the important things in [your] own lives and also the lives of [your] antecedents. ... Your own private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity. Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant. ...

No one is commonplace. ...Your own journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them. Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are ‘made up’ for a public performance. There is a temptation to paint one’s virtues in rich color and whitewash the vices, but there is also the opposite pitfall of accentuating the negative. ... The truth should be told, but we should not emphasize the negative. ...

Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life... Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available...What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.

Get a notebook...a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies.”  Spencer W. Kimball, New Era, October 1975, 4-5

Preserve Your Journal for Posterity
“By now, in my own personal history, I have managed to fill seventy-eight large volumes, which are my personal journal. There have been times when I have been so tired at the end of a day that the effort could hardly be managed, but I am so grateful that I have not let slip away from me and my posterity those things which needed to be recorded.” Spender W. Kimball, Ensign, Oct. 1980, 72.

Help Get Past Difficult Times
“...important in journal writing is the recording of both our failures and successes. If we can look back and see where we failed in the past and why, we are better able to chart a course for success in the future. Likewise, recounting triumphs and accomplishments can be a great source of strength in periods of discouragement and frustration and can help us get past other difficult times.” Gawain and Gayle J. Wells, Ensign, July 1986, 47

We Profit by Our Ancestors
Mistakes and Achievements

“The importance of written records in the lives of men and the activities of nations is apparent to everyone because through them we have advance in knowledge and power. We profit by the thoughts and actions of those who have gone before because their experiences become ours as we put them into action. We profit by their mistakes and by their successful achievements. We accept the actions of the ages past, and thus, using our judgement, we gather out from that which has been recorded that which will be of benefit to us, and so we incorporate it in our lives.”   J. Fielding Smith

Do As Our Ancestors
“It would be more honorable to our distinguished ancestors to praise them in words less, but in deeds to imitate them more.”  Horace Mann (1796-1859), Education reformer, politician

Good In Every Heart
“God has put something noble and good into every heart His hand created.” Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (1835-1910), Author and humorist

Everyone is a Somebody
“No one is a nobody!  Everyone is a somebody in our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom! We are all [sons and] daughters of God.” Ardeth Kapp (1931-   )

Nobody is a Nobody
“In God’s eyes, nobody is a nobody. We should never lose sight of what we may become and who we are.” Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994), Ensign, May 1988, 63.

Patience of Our Ancestors
“Some of us have had occasion to wait for someone or something for a minute, an hour, a day, a week, or even a year. Can you imagine how our progenitors must feel, some of whom have perhaps been waiting for decades and even centuries for [us to find] them?”  Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985), Ensign, Jan. 1977, p.7.

Knowing Our Ancestors
"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?" Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman philosopher, stateman

Backwards Progress
Only a genealogist regards a step backwards as progress. Unknown

Basic Components of Family History
We should seek after our ancestors not only to enrich our own lives, but also in behalf of our ancestors who have gone before. There are several basic component parts to our family history to consider:
- As individuals and families, we should seek out our kindred dead, beginning first with the four most recent generations on each line, and then going back as far as we can.
- Each of us should compile his own life history.
- Each of us should keep a Book of Remembrance.
- We should organize our families and hold meetings and reunions.

Invited to Great Things
“He is invited to great things who receives small things greatly.” Cassiodorus (c. 485 - c. 585), Roman statesman, writer

The Best Day
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Philosopher and poet

I Hope You’ll Remember Me
My Christian friends, both old and young,
I hope, in Christ, you’ll all be strong. …
I hope you’ll all remember me,
If no more my face you’ll see.
And in trust, in prayers, I crave
That we shall meet beyond the grave.
Oh glorious day, Oh blessed hope.
My heart leaps forward at the thought!
When in that happy land we’ll meet.
We’ll no more take the parting hand,
But with our holy blessed Lord,
We’ll shout and sing with one accord.
John Brown, 1830, Ensign, Mar. 2002, 70

Your Journals Will be a
Source of Inspiration

“Any...family that has searched genealogical and historical records has fervently wished their ancestors had kept better and more complete records. On the other hand, some families possess some spiritual treasures because ancestors have recorded the events surrounding their [life] and other happenings of interest. ... People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations.”  Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Oct. 1978

Our Posterity is Interested
in All We Do and Say

“We may think there is little of interest or importance in what we personally say or do–but it is remarkable how many of our families, as we pass on down the line, are interested in all that we do and all that we say. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us–and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.” Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct 1979, p.5

Provide Uplifting,
Faith-Promoting Strength

“Much of what we now regard as scripture was not anything more or less than men writing of their own spiritual experiences for the benefit of their posterity.... we ought to write of our own lives and our own experiences to form a sacred record for our descendants. We must provide for them the same uplifting, faith-promoting strength that the ancient scriptures now give us.”  Theodore M. Burton, Ensign, Jan. 1977, 13

 

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