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Community of Faith

Community of Faith: Spend time with family, including ancestors

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2022 is a year of new possibilities, challenges, and experiences, and a time to complete some of the resolutions I set last year. Typically, each January I make a few resolutions: exercise more, eat healthier, less TV, more books, try to maintain a consistent study schedule, and spend more time with family — including my ancestors.

Two years ago, my husband Jim and I served a church mission in Paris, France. We were assigned to the National Paris Archives to capture images of secondary records to make them available to the people of France (genealogy is their third national pastime) and the free Family Search website. In addition to basic historical information, Family Search allows you to include pictures, stories, and memories, so that you come to know and love the people behind the names.

Let me tell you about my Grandfather Roberts. He was a small man, but to me larger than life. There was no place I would rather be than with my grandparents.

Grandfather was born in 1903 and raised in American Fork, Utah. He was the oldest son. His parents raised sheep. When they retired, they sold the sheep to my grandfather. My grandmother told me stories of raising four little boys on a sheep herd in the summers. Each summer they drove the herd all the way to Kalispell, Montana. She never once complained of hardships. I thought she must have enjoyed the adventure. Winters often required my grandfather to borrow money to feed the sheep through the cold months. When the Depression hit, the bank called in my grandfather’s note. Some of his friends suggested that he hold out a few sheep to start up another herd. My honest grandfather sold every sheep he had for pennies on the dollar. Even though the note was satisfied, my grandfather spent the next 16 years paying back every cent he borrowed. He worked as a handyman and picked beans in the summer to provide for his family. When his 4-year-old son was stricken with spinal meningitis the pharmacist would not give my grandfather medicine on credit. His son died. You would think that these experiences would make him bitter. They did not. He was humble and kind. He never met a stranger. Trips to the gas pump or the grocery took forever because he visited with everyone. He watched the weather and was ready with his shovel to clear snow from sidewalks and driveways of every widow in a four-block radius. He helped anyone and everyone and was always cheerful. He made us all feel special. I believe that we show our Savior Jesus Christ how much we love him by how we treat others. I know the Lord loved my grandfather. I am so grateful for the example he set.

I knew and loved my grandfather, but my children were toddlers when he died in 1979. He left a legacy of faith and family. I am grateful that his legacy is preserved in Family Search so that his grandchildren, great- and great-great grandchildren can come to know him. The online Family Search tool and our Church’s local Family History Center, including family history consultants, are free and available to anyone interested in genealogy.

Family Search is a great way to spend more time with family.

Carolyn Parker, a women's organization leader in a Missoula congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can be reached at Family Search: and Missoula Family History Center: 406-543-6148.

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