Family history and temple work especially for my own kindred dead has always been very meaningful to me since my early days as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized at age 17, in 1958, and was able to contribute to the early gathering of family information, but for many years my parents carried the work forward.
For about seven years, I have been actively building on the already excellent work done by my parents before their deaths. Records have come into my hands from unexpected sources, and I have had spiritual experiences confirming the strong desire that many persons on the other side of the veil have for their temple work to be completed. Recently, I have witnessed once again the hand of the Lord in helping to move the work forward.
Toward the end of February 2010, my wife and I were returning to England from a holiday in Cyprus on a late-night flight. According to standard procedures, we should have been given seats near the front as we had paid for a meal in advance.
We were not aware of this fact and were given seats near the back of the plane in error. I sat next to a woman named Ann, who was also retired and we conversed for a while.
I had never heard of or met her before but we soon realized that we are related. Her mother and mine were cousins with the same family name, Booth.
Ann was brought up in the same country locality in Cheshire, England, as my mother and attended the same church school. Ann is a grandchild of William, who was my grandfather's brother.
I checked my records on return home and did some more research. The outcome is that work can now be completed for many of my kindred dead not previously known to me.
Much of family work for Ann's grandmothers has been completed back 200-plus years — perhaps as much as 70 percent — under the extraction program. But there is additional work to be done to fully connect the chain of families and bring the work to completion. In accordance with church policies, I can now complete the work for all those born before a certain date.
I am reminded of words written by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson:
"The work of seeking out our dead and ensuring that the ordinances of exaltation are performed in their behalf is a mandate from Heavenly Father and his beloved Son. They do not leave us to struggle alone but rather, in ways which are sometimes dramatic, prepare the way and answer our prayers."
Peter Lee is a self-employed professional family history researcher and is working on a not-for-profile compilation of inspirational family history stories with a view to publication. For information or share stories, his website is furnissfamilysearch.co.uk. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and address is 36 Hadrian Dr., Chester, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom, CH1 5JX.