It’s likely that you know, or have heard about, an expert in family history. Maybe this person is your great aunt, or your cousin. Maybe he or she has shared with you incredible finds, amazing stories and the sheer delight of the pursuit.
I have some family history expert friends. They have that certain look in their eye when they talk about genealogy. It’s a knowing. It’s hard to explain, but I would imagine it’s similar to the look that the children in “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” had when they returned from Narnia. It’s this quiet joy. They have seen the other side. In this case, we’re talking about the other side of the veil. It’s wondrous. They want to go back again and again and again. I remember one of these friends talking about trips to the Family History Library in SLC years ago. She said that she kept in eye on the clock the whole day, savoring the search, and nearly resenting the time it took to go to lunch. Every hour was precious. Every minute represented another potential discovery.
For years I would listen to these stories with a mixture of awe and (internal) yawning. “Y-awe-ning?” I was baffled. How could combing through ancient information bring them such happiness? Genealogy seemed complicated and dry. I reminded myself that I went to the temple. I was still helping people on the other side, right?
And yet, I still made the occasional effort, out of sheer desire to be obedient, to understand the process. My expert friend Annette and I spent time on this together. When we weren’t distracted and laughing, I made some genealogical progress. When I asked my expert friend Cathi for some help, she gave me in entire notebook filled with work she had done on my line. This was above and beyond. It inspired me to want to do more of my own research.
Then progress hit the fast track after I read a quote about how Family History can build family relationships. It can not only “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6), it can turn the hearts of all family members towards each other. I thought about my many non-member siblings. I thought about my great love for them and my desire to help them progress. I thought about how this pursuit might offer us a common interest and bring us even closer. That was it. I was now rushing to be deeply invested.
I sat down with Ancestry, without Annette, and started digging. Basically, I just poked around. It’s an intuitive, user-friendly site. Like a child, I just clicked on things that looked interesting. I began to figure out more and more. My time with Annette had been well spent. I was launched. When I didn’t know what to do next, I asked google for answers.
As I kept doing this for a few days, something incredible happened. I felt that “Whoosh!” It was that excitement I had heard so much about. It was that hunger. It was the thrill of the chase! One day I pushed myself back from my computer screen and had a realization. Logically, I knew our Heavenly Parents were perfect in everything. That perfection, I realized, included fun. They were perfect at having fun, in the purest and best ways. In this, you are playing the role of detective. You are searching for treasures (in this case, relatives). You are rewarded with the thrill of discovery.
I took a deep breath. God could have set this all up so differently. He could have made genealogy beyond easy. But heaven wanted us to have fun in the process. WOW.
I am having a blast. Genealogy is the best game ever. Plus, it’s free on Ancestry with membership in the church! And it’s not just Ancestry. Church membership includes free membership on other Family History sites, like Find My Past and My Heritage.
The two best parts about playing this game, of course, are:
2. Hearts of family members on this side of the veil can be more unified.
One of my sisters is now also caught up in the spirit of Elijah. We are both so deep into this detective game that we have new nicknames for each other based on the names of sister detectives from “The Dana Girls” book series we read as children. We trade information, photos, and stories. This has been a huge source of joy for both of us. We are closer than ever.
We have been sharing our information with our other siblings via emails and texts. Fascinating finds have sparked interest. And we’re just getting started. We’re sharing heritage. We’re sharing joy. We’re sharing fun!
Are you looking for more true fun in your life? What if that fun also deeply blessed your ancestors? What if that fun helped you feel closer to your family? What if that fun also helped you to avoid temptation? Genealogy has our tickets to ride.
Heaven’s got game!
And this game is a game changer for good.
Note: We will be talking about Family History in a future episode of our new podcast “Mom Meets World”. The name of this episode will be “Facebook for Dead People”. We just launched on iTunes/Apple podcasts. You can check periodically to see if this episode is up and running (within the next few weeks or sooner). The “Mom Meets World” podcast is about all things family. Our goal is to strengthen homes and families. We invite you to join us!