Unbelievable Day at Family History Library






I still remember the first time we found a name of one of our ancestors after a year or two of going to the library. We started with Mom’s Scottish line and everything we found had already had the temple work done. They drove us to do something wild and crazy. Attempt to read dutch and search dutch records. Well, we’d been working on Dad’s line and after a lot of effort we finally found a relative needing the temple ordinances. That evening it just so happened there was a dinner over at the Ward. I remember sharing the joyous news with George Young who weighs well the meaning you assign to what you share with him and has the gift to care about what others care about.

Well, that day has been surpassed. Tuesday, Mom picked me up to go to the library. She even told Nancy and Carol to go to the temple without her. The week before we’d met with Maria Eppich, a Polish researcher who works at the FHL on Tuesdays. She is from my ward and offered to help me with my Polish line but explained we have to know the German stuff first. She introduced to the a competent FHL German assistant.

When Mom picked me up Tuesday morning I was finishing up a difficult phone call and so, being distracted, I forgot to pick up the genealogy folder with our Rositski info from the week before.

We got to the library and I had to finsih up some phone calls so handed mom the one thing I had remembered to bring – a copy of an email from the German archive we needed translated. When I finally returned, Mom was at the desk showing the email to the competent FHL German assistant. It was indeed what I thought it was, a response that they couldn’t find the record in their archive. How curious, we knew it had to be there. We had seen a copy of the original on microfilm the week before but simply needed to see the original which they had and might have updated information written in a column- something like, this illegitimate child was legitimized on such and such date with the marriage of the parents. This is not uncommon record keeping we have seen from other parishes in Europe.

Well,the experts don’t always get things right. I’m realizing if anyone is going to be led by the spirit it is probably those closet to those spiritual guides. Translation? It is probably more likely that our ancestors can and will prompt us rather than a third party.

With a sigh the FHL german assistant suggested we go look for the marriage in the microfilm sometime after the birth of the illegitimate child and before the birth of the next child.

Not having our folder with the previous week’s notes in it, and being in a hurry, I asked if he would look up the film number for me. It was odd that I requested that because I know perfectly well how to do it myself. It would have taken just a minute. I remember thinking, what a curious request I just made.

He pulled up the online version of the FHL catalog on the computer screen at his desk and started reading a film number then paused “Wait, there is a book here that I think you ought to check out first. You can go over there and bring it back to me and I’ll help you look at it.”

I took the slip of paper from him and hurried to the stacks. “Save our place Mom.” I said, and eagerly ran off. When I returned he was just finishing up helping another patron whom mom and invited up to the counter. I smiled inside, thinking Mom always does the right thing.

I placed the book on the counter. He opened it and what spilled out was organized, easy to read typed font with pedigree information revealing that our hypothesis was accurate. Not only that, but it contained a record of different parents than we had on our family group record. And here was the proof of births, deaths, marriages, families, from this parish that were our family no one had ever known about. It proved that the 9+ generations of hundreds of Germans some Burt family genealogist had proclaimed as our line were indeed not ours.

We had proof of the real father and in that discovery now have close to 50+ names and relationships and the potential for understanding where to search for more. I hugged mom, clapped for joy and felt my eyes tear up as he turned from page to page showing how to read the beautiful grey book that to me looks an awful lot like a family bible. It even refers to family events in other parishes, e.g. the orange book to the side.

I told Mom as we left the library “I think Grandpa Burt has been having conversations with Dad:
“Tom, I’ve not pestered Lila too much, she has been able to do a lot work on your line. Would it be okay if she went to the library on Tuesday with Jan? I’ve got all these relatives converted up here that just need to be baptized now and there is this jewel of a book just sitting on the stacks at the FHL library that Lila and Jan can find if they go on Tuesday when the right people are there instead of Wednesday.”
“Of course,” says Dad.

Sister Saints and Spray Painting

Why do I think of these things 18 hours later? Why on earth didn’t I take a picture of that ugly rusted patio rocker with the thread bare cushion before Carol sanded and painted it? I wish I had a ‘before’ picture. I could still take an ‘after’ picture but it would’t be the same as seeing the contrast. Hum…that could be a metaphor for repentance. But I’m straying from my purpose…back to the story of my sister saints and spray painting.

Yesterday was our regular Quilting-Birthday-Lunch morning at Mom’s. This month circumstances took our sister-in-laws to other obligations, so only Carol, Judy, Nancy and I were able to assemble to do the planned sprint spring clean (modified from the usual quilting) in recognition of Mom’s May birthday. Thanks to our thoughtful sister-in-law, Julie, our excuse to enjoy each other’s company has become a routine.

We vacuumed floors, mopped, dusted cobwebs from walls, ceiling fans, and shutters, and brought out the patio furniture from winter storage. The rusty chair that swivels and rocks on a circular base was among that furniture. I suggested it might be time to retire the chair. Yet we all knew it was preferred seating for the most comfortable view of the mountains. Carol is more visionary and hard working than her sister. I went back into the house to tackle cleaning the sliding glass door tracks upstairs. The next time I set my eyes on the chair it was transformed. It had miraculously changed from an eye sore to a very-presentable-patio chair with a fresh coat of paint.

At noon we enjoyed a bowl of Carol’s homemade tomato soup followed by marzipan cake with ‘Happy Birthday Lila and Nancy,’ written on top. It is funny how a love for marzipan can be bonding. We ate outside on the deck enjoying the perfect temperature of the spring day. Carol was crowned with dirt smudges. Visiting as we ate, Nancy reminded Mom of the completed temple cards she had delivered from Jed and Betsy. We agreed to Julie’s texts earlier in the day that red pumps for the mother of the bride would be perfect with matching red lipstick. Someone noticed my new glasses and suggested the next step into my foray with eye ware fashion would be shopping with cousin Shelly. Nancy related how her birthday had gone the day before. Kate had bought treats and stayed up late the night before making a banner. She had put much thought into making sure the “whole day” would be wonderful for her mom. (Kate is a future Nancy.) Carol shared exciting news about Taryn moving back to Utah. Sam is going to teach at BYU. Carol found the almost perfect home for them in Provo. Sam flew up a couple of weeks ago, with Taryn’s approval, to make the decision and purchase the home with an identity crisis. We have confidence Taryn will transform it as she has done with similarly promising projects. (Taryn is a future Carol.)

The happy feelings I had yesterday linger. Mixed in that pleasure is gratitude for being part of a family. My sisters are among my heroines. (Their daughter’s are becoming heroines in my eyes too – probably in part because of how they are becoming like their mother’s.) My sister’s exemplify the joy of the saints (Enos 1:3) as taught in the scriptures. It is nice to be around that joy. It is nice to take the time to show love by serving. Cool how it also creates memories for the future. When Nancy offered the blessing on our lunch she acknowledged the goodness of our Mother. It is real that I reap the eye of Heaven’s pleasure in having added a vocal ‘Amen’ to her prayer. I know God likes it when we recognize His hand in our lives. I know He likes it when we love and serve one another. Mosiah 4:15

Driving home afterwards I distinctly felt Dad’s presence. He likes it too when we do those things he would have done if he were here – spray painting a rusty chair.

I eat without washing my hands

I wondered about the meaning of Christ’s defense of his disciples when they were eating bread with unwashed hands. In my search for clarity I came across this commentary I thought of my responsibility as a voting citizen and my responsibility as one who wants to be a better disciple of Christ when I read the word in italics below:

why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders,
but eat with unwashen hands?
or “with common”, that is, defiled “hands”, as in ( Mark 7:2 ) . So the words are read in Beza’s most ancient copy, and in one of Stephens’s copies, and in the Vulgate Latin version. The word “common” is used for that which is unclean or unholy, ( Acts 10:14 Acts 10:28 ) ( Romans 14:14 ) ( Hebrews 10:29 ) , and so signifies unwashen hands, as we read, and render it: besides, “common hands” may have some respect to the hands of the common people, the vulgar and illiterate, who showed no regard to this tradition, but ate their common food without washing their hands. Instead of “the tradition of the elders”, the Ethiopic version reads, “the constitution of the Scribes and Pharisees”; and which are sometimes by the Jews called, (Myrpwo yrbd) , “the words”, or “sayings of the Scribes” F15, and are preferred by them to the written law; and the same are commonly called (twkylh) , “ways”, in which a man is to walk, and according to which he is to steer his course of life; and to which reference is here had in the word, “walk”, used by the Pharisees; who suggest, that these decisions, constitutions, and traditions of the elders, were the rule, according to which men ought to order their manner of life and conversation; blaming the disciples, that they did not conform to them, and particularly in the case of eating bread, which they did without washing their hands, which was strictly enjoined among these canons; and they wanted to know the sense of Christ upon it. Though they might have known from the Scriptures, particularly from ( Ezekiel 20:18 Ezekiel 20:19 ) that it was their duty, as well as the disciples of Christ, to walk, not in the, statutes of their fathers, nor observe their judgments, the laws and ordinances instituted by them; but to walk in the statutes of the Lord, and to keep his judgments, and do them: not the traditions of men, but the word of God, should be the rule of walk and conversation; and as many as walk according to this rule, peace will be upon them; but those that walk according to the commandments of men, justly deserve the character given of such by the prophet Isaiah, whose words our Lord produces in the following verses.