Praying for a Path to Find My Family Records
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Praying for a Path to Find My Family Records

The author lives in Virginia, USA.

My angel friend Shirley helped me find my ancestors’ family history books.

Praying for a path to find my family record

Photograph courtesy of the author

Many years ago, I felt I needed to talk with my grandfather about our family history. When I visited Grandpa, he was weak and frail. My aunt asked me not to disturb him, so I didn’t ask him about our family history. A few months later, I married and moved from Taiwan to the United States. I regretted not having another opportunity to speak with Grandpa before he passed away. I asked other family members about our genealogy, but no one could help me. I was sad and disappointed in myself for waiting so long to learn about Grandpa and for dismissing the promptings from the Spirit to talk with him about his history.

One day as I read my patriarchal blessing, I was impressed by a passage that described how I could help perform a marvelous work for my departed ancestors and others who were living. I thought, “How can this happen if I don’t know where to start?” Later I read in Doctrine and Covenants 82:8, 10:

“I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you; …

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”

I felt the Lord encouraging me, and I prayed for a path forward to find my family history records.

A few months later while in Shanghai, China, I met Shirley Wu, who was visiting from Taiwan. We soon became good friends. When she found out I was looking for my family’s genealogy, she encouraged me not to give up. She suggested that as a starting place, I should go to the local household records department in Taiwan to request old addresses. “Maybe something will come up,” she said.

I flew to Taiwan, hoping to find the record of my great-grandfather’s home, but unfortunately, it no longer existed. I also didn’t know his birthplace or the name of my ancestor who first came to Taiwan. Despite this setback, Shirley told me not to worry. “Just have faith,” she said. “God will help us, and your ancestors on the other side of the veil will help too.” A few days later, I returned to Shanghai, hoping and praying for a miracle.

One Sunday afternoon, Shirley sent me a picture of some genealogy records. She asked me if any of the names looked familiar.

I was astonished. The names of my ancestors were on the page! When I asked how she found them, she told me the following miraculous story:

I had been thinking about your genealogy for several weeks, and I felt that I should go to the address of your great-grandfather’s home to check the area.

After two hours on the high-speed train, I bussed to the city of Chi Kan, a place I had never been before. I fell asleep, and at the final stop the driver woke me up. I got off, looked around, and saw I was in a fishing village. I asked a young shop owner across the street for directions. He called a taxi for me and directed the driver to a place where an old man lived. When I arrived and asked that man where I could find the town’s genealogy record, he told me to walk a few blocks to a temple by the seashore.

At the temple, I saw a group of men having tea and chatting. They said that they were just starting an annual meeting of the Liu Shi family genealogy to prepare for a big conference in October. I explained that I was there to find family names for my friend.

“Usually no one is at this temple,” they said. “The door is locked except for the two to three hours when we hold the annual meeting. You are very lucky to meet us here.”

When I told the men I was looking for the name Liu Bei, they told me they had been collecting the Liu family genealogy for years and didn’t recall that name. One of the men kindly offered his genealogy records for me to take a look. They continued their meeting while I searched the records. After about 10–15 minutes, I shouted, “I found it!”

Shocked, they stopped talking and grabbed the book. I showed them the name, and they told me that it came from the family line of Mr. Liu Qiu Shan, who was attending their meeting that day. I purchased a copy of the genealogy book, which contained records going back 26 generations and 2,460 years of ancestors’ names on extended family lines.

Mr. Liu Qiu Shan later gave me a ride to the train station. He told me if I had come an hour earlier or the next day, I wouldn’t have found anyone or anything there. He said, “This place is always locked. It must be the ancestors’ blessing. It is truly a miracle.”

Shirley is my angel. She is full of Christ’s love and is always eager to help do God’s work. She is a great example of ministering to others. Her willingness to serve has brought great blessings and a miracle to hundreds of souls. I testify there are angels among us, but we need to have the desire to do the Lord’s errand in order to receive their help. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said: “Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it.”1 When we seek the Lord’s guidance, we will see His hand and the angels in our lives, and we will be able to accomplish what He has asked us to do.


  1. Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2: 2000–2004 (2005), 452.