Personal Progress on My Family Tree
February 2017

“Personal Progress on My Family Tree,” New Era, February 2017

Personal Progress on My Family Tree

The author lives in Manaus, Brazil.

My brother and I are the only members of my family in the Church—at least that’s what I thought before beginning my family history work.

family tree

Illustration by Jim Madsen

I had always procrastinated doing my genealogy. But my desire to serve a mission led me to set goals to help prepare myself to be a better missionary. With the help of an inspired bishop, I decided to begin working on Personal Progress. In order to accomplish certain goals and good works projects, I needed to become involved in genealogy. So I went to work.

I know the Spirit guided me, because one Sunday night, after only three hours of work, something amazing happened.

As soon as I began, I remembered that my great-great-grandfather had been the governor of the state of Amazonas, Brazil. So I typed his name into an online search engine, and to my surprise, I found a Wikipedia page about both my great-great-grandfather and my great-great-grandmother! I immediately recognized in them talents and gifts I have, and emotion began to well up inside me. But there was still much more to discover.

Looking through the links on the page, I noticed one of them said “family tree.” I clicked on it, and I found branches of my family I’d had no idea even existed. But what most caught my attention was the name of my great-aunt, Rosalina Meireles, who apparently lived in Utah, USA.

I was astonished. I thought only my brother and I were members of the Church. Could there really be other Church members in my family? When I clicked on her name, I saw a link to a Facebook page, so I contacted her. Within two days I received a message from her, confirming that we were related and that she too was a member of the Church.

I felt immensely grateful to Heavenly Father for allowing me to feel such great joy as I felt in that moment.

I continued searching for my deceased ancestors, and Heavenly Father blessed me with so many family names that I could take to the temple. But He also helped me find living family members who are faithful in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And I owe it all to Personal Progress, family history work, and my desire to serve a mission.