“Hooked on Histories,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 69
“If my house were on fire, the first things I would run for are my diaries and records,” says Ruth Zollinger, an 80-year-old family history buff.
Ruth, a member of the Thatcher-Penrose First Ward, Tremonton Utah South Stake, has compiled forty-eight history books, many of them nine inches thick, and has sent them to the archives of the Church Historical Department, where they were microfilmed.
The books include the history of many stakes, wards, and towns. One book is the compilation of fifty years of Ruth’s diaries.
“I got ‘hooked’ at age twenty-one when I began writing in a tiny five-year diary,” Ruth says.
She later switched to using large books for her diaries.
“It’s a sad situation when no records are kept,” Ruth explains. “Some people don’t write so much as a note about themselves! And then what records have they got?”
But Ruth’s diaries don’t just include the important events of her life—they also contain a detailed history of her family, including her fifty grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. In the front of each diary, she records each family member’s name, age, date of birth, mission, wedding, temple sealing, and death.
“If anyone forgets a birthday, they know who to call!” laughs Ruth.
In the back pages of her diaries, Ruth records the stake and ward news, her budget, and the interesting experiences of her seven children. Every year she makes a little book listing events in her children’s lives and gives each a copy for Christmas.—Amy K. Stewart, Pocatello, Idaho