Now, if anyone knows my dad, family history has been a focus of his for as long as he has been a member of the church (over 55yrs). In fact, so much so that when I was 19 my parents packed up everything in our family home and moved to London to concentrate on doing family history there for a couple of years. I was left back in Australia wondering whether it was me who had just left home or my parents.
So I was not surprised to have him start talking to me about it over dinner that night. In fact, I had tuned out a bit as I was pretty used to this kind of conversation with him. But I was instantly brought back to reality when I heard the words, “…and I have traced one of our lines back to Adam”. Ok, this was the point where I started to wonder if, after being away from my dad for almost 12 months, his age was catching up with him. I listened to what he had to say, but found it hard to take it seriously. I even questioned him on whether some organisation had contacted him and had fed him this story so they could fleece him. However, after he assured me no-one had, my fears were allayed, and I resumed my inattention to the conversation.
It wasn’t until about a month later, as I was walking with some friends one morning, that I actually started to believe what he had said. Several of my friends confirmed that they too had traced one or two of their lines right back to Adam. I was dumfounded. Could this really be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah?
Another month later and I received a document in the mail from my father. Sure enough there it was on paper…every generation starting from me, through my father, through Robert de Brus, Old King Cole, Julius Caesar, King Solomon, Noah, right down to Adam and Eve. Each link connecting the generation before, right down to the very first man and women who had lived on the earth. This was a literal realisation of all that the Prophets of old and new had spoken of.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5–6
“…the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. ” D&C 128:18
Elder D. Todd Christofferson:
“Elijah has, in fact, come as promised to confer the priesthood power that turns hearts and establishes the welding links between the fathers and the children so that once again what is bound on earth “shall be bound in heaven.” October 200 General Conference
This experience was the beginning of my interest in family history. While I don’t think it will be to the extent of my mother and father, I do see it as the start of something that will not only further my family ties, but I hope it will also open the door to many others furthering their family ties.
Since this experience I have taken the time to explore the wonderful new tools available to us as members of the church to help promote the spirit of Elijah. Helped on by the fact that the YW I work with in my ward, who have just spent the last two months on a project to research and prepare family names for the Temple, I have since discovered just how easy it is to locate family names and prepare them for Temple ordinances (You may like to read my article ‘Missionary Work of Different Kind’ to find out what my YW actually did in this project).
Have any of you explored the New FamilySearch program online? It is here that you may just discover how far your family reaches. And if it doesn’t reach as far as some, then it will give you the tools to expand it.
Have you ever heard of anyone talking about the ‘FamilySearch Indexing’ program of the church? It is here that you can assist the church in building up the worlds largest database of family history records.What does this mean? It means that each day more and more family history records become available online to member and non-member alike, so they can work on connecting their broken family links.
If it all seems too much for you to work out, then there are specialists in your ward who can help walk you through it all. But once you know, then it can all be done from the comfort of your own home! No more trekking down to the closest Family History Library.
Lately, I have been known to spend many an evening in front of the screen transferring data from one set of records into another. To date I have processed over 3,000 names from military, birth, death and marriage records. The work continues, and requires an army of volunteers to sift through the millions and millions of names still to be processed.
If I am not working on these record transfers, then you can find me wandering through the garden of my extended family, trying to find some more famous people in my family line.
So, I bet you are wondering how all this relates to Helen of Troy? Well, that’s just it, it turns out that through another family line, my children and husband are all related to the royal family of ancient Troy. Welcome to the family Helen! What does my son think of that? He walks just a little bit taller knowing that his cousin Hector caused the demise of Achilles…