“Finding Mary Redhead,” New Era, June 2010, 44–45
For as long as I can remember, my mother has sent family file names to the temple with the youth and the young single adults. It wasn’t until my first semester in college that I truly learned to appreciate this.
A few weeks before I moved to a neighboring stake, my mother took our family to a cemetery in search of family names and dates. On her list of ancestors was a woman named Mary Redhead. I volunteered to look for the tombstone of this Mary Redhead, immediately attracted to her uncommon surname.
The cemetery was small and it wasn’t long before I realized she wasn’t there. Eventually it was time to go, and I was very discouraged at not being able to find the dates needed to send her name to the temple.
We made our way to the next cemetery to find more names and dates. I had an overwhelming feeling of desperation as I searched stone after stone. I didn’t have much success until we were about to leave. I came to a tombstone that was barely readable. I traced my fingers along the carvings hoping for some luck. Mary Redhead. There she was! I couldn’t explain why it meant so much to me to find her.
Weeks went by and I found myself busy with all the anxieties and stress that come when a person leaves home to go to school for the first time. I forgot about Mary Redhead. It was on the night of a tri-stake young single adult temple trip when I remembered her again.
I was filing through the pink cards that the matron gave me when I came across the name of Mary Redhead. It didn’t occur to me that my mother would have submitted the names we had looked for, but there she was. I was overwhelmed. I felt as if Mary had chosen me to be baptized for her. I have never felt so close to my ancestors in all my life.
I truly have a great love for my ancestors and genealogy now. I am blessed to know that families are forever and that we need each other no matter what side of the veil we’re on.