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Family Matters

Daniel Torea, known as Danny by his friends and family, lives with his wife, Tania, in Porirua, New Zealand. He serves in the Porirua Stake presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Danny heard President Russell M. Nelson encourage Church members to do family history during our 190th Annual General Conference, held on April 4 to 5, 2020.

“While worshipping in the temple is presently not possible, I invite you to increase your participation in family history, including family history research and indexing. I promise that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him.”1

The promise from President Nelson sparked Danny to seriously look into family history research.

Everything needs a starting point, so on Easter Sunday, Danny decided to do what the prophet had said. He got a notebook, some family papers, his laptop and went to work.

Danny states, “I thought I would start by looking for information about the Strickland family, my father’s family. I had a little information written in a notebook. I enjoyed finding out new stories about my grandfather’s family.”

Through this process, he has reached out to extended family members. He talked to his cousin, Ake Johanson, who helped him discover two of his father’s siblings. Danny had no record of their names. This was the beginning of many exciting moments.

Danny has found digitized records in the Cook Islands that can be viewed at no cost.

“Discovering new information feels like a wave of happiness. When I found my parents’ marriage record, the first thing I did was send it to my nieces and nephews on Messenger.”

He is also discovering other ways to share his newfound excitement for family history. He made a video about family history and shared it with his family on their family Facebook page.

Now, you might think that Daniel Torea is home all day just looking into his family history. Not at all. He is an essential worker and goes to work every day.

“As soon as I get home,” he laughs, “I jump on the computer to do FamilySearch. After dinner I do FamilySearch, and after Come Follow Me—yes, you guessed it, I do FamilySearch.”

Tania said, “I love that my husband is learning about his family. He is having so much fun discovering something new about his ancestors. It makes me so happy. It's the first thing he does when he comes home—after kissing me and asking about my day, of course.”

She asked her husband, “On a scale of one to ten, how much do you like FamilySearch?” He stated wholeheartedly, “It’s a twelve! Nothing beats being able to look on records and think about how my grandparents, aunties, and uncles lived. I’ve been to Aitutaki, so I can see in my mind the places on the records. You know, it’s all about knowing who you are and where you come from. I hope that my nephews, nieces, and my children will know who they are and connect themselves back to Aitutaki.”

His excitement can be contagious. He encourages anyone, young and old, to start doing their family history. If not knowing where to start is the problem, he says to go ask an auntie or uncle.

“Everyone has a story to tell. One story leads to another and you will soon have your own collection of priceless memories. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, when you sign up on FamilySearch, you will always be connected to your family.”

Daniel Torea listened and took to heart the message from general conference. “President Nelson is the Lord’s mouthpiece. So, by accepting his invitation, I know that I’m doing what the Lord wants me to do and I love it.”