Quantcast

Youths doing family history: 'I couldn't help but smile'

Published: Saturday, April 12 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Tiffany and Karisa Reynolds work on family history. (Wendi Reynolds) Tiffany and Karisa Reynolds work on family history. (Wendi Reynolds)

When Tiffany turned 12, she received a Book of Remembrance. It contained a history — with photos, testimonies and stories — of my granddaughter Tiffany and her family.

Included in the treasured book was a section on Tiffany’s ancestors — her grandparents, great-grandparents and even her great-great-grandparents. Photos had been labeled indicating how each relative was connected to Tiffany. The photos and information stirred an interest in Tiffany.

“These people are real. They have names and faces,” Tiffany said to herself. She recalled the orientation and encouragement — to participate in family history — which the leaders and bishop had given the young women in her ward.

At age 13, Tiffany was intrigued with the new family history program. She learned how to research family names and find ancestors whose ordinances had not been performed. She was careful to avoid duplications. She wanted to do it right.

Tiffany and Karisa Reynolds work on family history. (Wendi Reynolds) Tiffany and Karisa Reynolds work on family history. (Wendi Reynolds)

Tiffany became so excited she couldn’t pull herself away from the computer. Therefore, in the beginning, she worked long hours on weekends and several hours each day during the week. She traced some of her genealogy lines back to the 1600s. Each day, before beginning a search, Tiffany sought help through prayer. She prayed for guidance. She felt driven to continue with family history. To Tiffany, it simply was “fun!”

Then the secondary fun began, acting as proxy for baptisms and confirmations of her progenitors. She — along with her sister Tanisha — were able to do the baptisms for more than a hundred family names. Tanisha had also helped with family history. Their younger sister Karisa is excited to join her sisters in the fun.

Tiffany became aware of a kinship with her ancestors, There were times — coming forth out of the waters of baptism — when she felt a strong impression that her deceased relative had accepted the ordinance. When that happened, Tiffany was unable to contain her smile. She shared her feelings, “I was so happy, I couldn’t help but smile and I couldn’t stop smiling.”

These experiences are sacred to Tiffany. She’s humble about her service. Few family members have known about her inspirational efforts. She has felt close to the Lord, her testimony has been strengthened. Most assuredly, some of her ancestors have praised her name. In between her busy teenage life she still spends time — when she can — enjoying the experiences of family history. She has continued her service for three years.

Tiffany’s efforts have spread to her extended family as they furthered temple covenants for those who had been baptized by proxy. Her granddad was waiting in the chapel prior to attending an endowment session. He glanced at his blue family name card. He read the submitter’s name. It was his granddaughter. Tears welled up in his eyes knowing Tiffany had helped to bring some of his ancestors into the gospel. It was his 16-year-old granddaughter’s name, Tiffany Marie Reynolds.

Jelean Reynolds is an accomplished author. She is a mother to five children and a grandmother to 18 beautiful grandchildren, including Tiffany.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company