“His Promise Was Fulfilled,” Ensign, Sept. 2011, 68
During a combined priesthood and Relief Society meeting in 2009, our high priests group leader explained our stake presidency’s desire for every adult to take a family name to the temple within a year. He introduced stake and ward programs to help members achieve that goal. As he concluded, he gave an authoritative promise by virtue of his responsibility for the family history program that if we would try to achieve the stake’s goal, we would succeed.
After the meeting my wife and I discussed the promise and agreed that it could not apply to me; we had already spent 40 years investigating every branch of my family tree. My ancestors were difficult to find, and we had made no significant progress for several years. We believed nothing more could be done. Nevertheless, the group leader’s promise echoed in my mind for the next few days. I decided to take him up on his promise. Staring at my pedigree chart, I tried to think of what I could do.
After three days of careful thought, I felt inspired to look in a specific place for information about one of the end-of-line people on my chart. In less than half a day of research on the Internet, I discovered that another man had researched that family name in an English parish. One of the most recent names he’d located was my end-of-line person. Using his data, I was able to extend my line another five generations—back to 1650—and include the maiden names of several women in my line and the names of several brothers and sisters. My wife and I were stunned and delighted.
Some time later I started hunting for information on the Internet about a great-great-grandfather who had seemingly disappeared. After a brief search, I found him. I discovered that he had moved from Pennsylvania, USA, to Wisconsin, USA, shortly after his first wife’s death. With information gathered from Wisconsin records, I added more than 400 names to my family history.
Later I discovered 100 ancestors who had fought in America’s Revolutionary and Civil Wars. I traced six lines to the 1600s.
During my previous 40 years of research, I had recorded about 65 names on my pedigree chart and almost 3,000 names in my database. In the 20 months after my high priests group leader made his promise, I added more than 70 names to the chart and more than 17,000 names to the database, including two presidents of the United States!
The Lord tells us that His word “shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). Truly, Heavenly Father’s promise, given through an inspired, authorized priesthood leader, was fulfilled.