The Record Box

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“The Record Box,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 60–61

The Record Box

Many years ago my great-aunt Martha Olaveson, who was affectionately known as Aunt Mattie, lived with her mother in a tiny town in Idaho. At a family reunion one year, Mattie was appointed family genealogist. Because she and her mother had always been interested in keeping the family records in order, she was glad to continue searching out family history. Eventually the two of them reached a point where they could find no more information.

One night Mattie dreamed that a messenger came to her and said, “Mattie, how are you coming with your record book?” Mattie replied, “We’ve stopped our research. We just can’t find the information we need.” The messenger then held out his hand, and in it was a box. “Here is where your records are,” he said. Mattie recognized the box as one she had seen in the cellar. “I know where that is!” she cried.

When Mattie woke up, she went to her mother’s room and told her of her dream. George, Mattie’s brother, arrived at the house later that morning, and Mattie recounted her curious dream to him. “Well, let’s go look in the old cellar,” he suggested. They went down into the cellar, which was full of discarded items. There, at the bottom of a bin, was the very box Mattie had seen in her dream. Inside they found many old letters from relatives living in England and other places. The letters were filled with names, dates, and places of residence of many ancestors.

Not long after this, Mattie’s mother became very ill and went to live with another relative. One night Mattie had another dream about the messenger. “Where are your letters?” he asked. Surprised, Mattie answered, “Mother took them for safekeeping.” The messenger replied, “They are your responsibility.”

The next morning Mattie went to see her mother and recounted this second unusual dream and asked her for the letters. Her mother had placed them in a secret compartment for safekeeping. Mattie realized that if her mother had passed away, the letters would have been lost again. Mattie retrieved the letters and worked on the information they contained for many years until her death.