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.