I knew very early on this year what I wanted to blog about, and have been strongly committed to see this challenge through to the end. I do not claim to be an expert in history or genealogy, but I have access to many wonderful stories and photos about my family and my ancestors, and was very excited to share them on my blogs. Between my own family tree and that of my dear husband, I was able to find family names and stories for every letter of the alphabet except U and X. I did have to get a bit creative for those two posts.
I also enjoyed exploring bit from the A to Z linky, and finding new bloggers to visit and learn from. I must confess that time did not allow me to visit as much r s many blogs as I would have liked. I have a very limited amount of time each day to spend blogging, and most of it was spent trying to keep up with my own posts, but I did try to meet and visit at least one new blogger every day. Maybe next year I will do a better job of preparing my posts early in the year so I can spend my April blogging time visiting new blogging friends.
I have had the blessing of having several amazing mentors in the area of family history. My greatest mentor was my very own dear sweet mother who left this mortal world right in the middle of this year's challenge on Friday, April 17th. My mother has been an avid researcher of her family history for most of her life, and in her later years usually spent two days each week at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City searching through books and microfilms of records from all over the world for information about our forebears. I remember many a Sunday afternoon and evening in my childhood was spent hearing stories about my grandparents and great grandparents and copying information from my mother's collection of family records into my own book of remembrance, meant for me to keep when I left home. Much of the information that I have in my own possession is information that she has shared with me. Needless to say, there were quite a few days near the end of the challenge that I was not able to post as I was busy preparing a condensed version of her own life history to present as a life sketch at her funeral. I was very honored to have the opportunity to do this for my family. I am also grateful that I was able to do a bit of catch up work and finish all of the posts before the end of the month.
Another one of my mentors was my father's dear sweet sister who died just a week ago, just after the challenge ended. This aunt has collected much of the information on my father's side of the family tree, helped me do some research when I was taking a family history class during my college years, and has done much over the years to organize family meetings and to help keep the family stories alive and available for the members of the upcoming generations.
Why is our family tree so important to the members of my family? Of course it is fascinating to learn the stories of our grandparents and their grandparents who lived so many years ago. I think most people are drawn to learn more of their own family history. I also believe that this prophesy by the Old Testament prophet Malachi helps us to understand our urge to learn about our family history
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4: 5,6)
We believe that this prophesy is being fulfilled in modern times as so many people search out their ancestors in order to offer them the saving ordinances of baptism and other sacred temple ordinances as they were taught by Jesus Christ and other ancient prophets when these great men were living on the earth that have not always been available to all mankind.As my own dear mother once wrote:
When you think of the history of the world and who created it for us; all the prophets in the Old Testament, the times of the New Testament and the life of Jesus Christ and all he did for us; you are grateful for your many blessings. For one thing, the scriptures, so you can know of these things. Then there was the dark ages where there was not much light to live by. It makes you wonder about your great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents and so forth, and you feel sorry for them and you want to find their names and have their work done for them. for you know that Joseph Smith restored the light of the gospel to the earth in these latter days where everyone can have happiness if they just keep the commandments.
And that, dear friends, hopefully explains my compulsion this past month to explore and share some of my family tree from A to Z.