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March 31, 2007

Family History Work + Temple Work = Full Blessing

President Howard W. Hunter was prophet of the LDS church 1994 - 1995. A month before he died he published an excellent article in the February 1995 Ensign called A Temple-Motivated People. In the article he states that we need to work on our genealogy and then go to the temple and do the work for our ancestors, rather than just doing one or the other. Here is how he says it:

Surely we on this side of the veil have a great work to do. For in light of all the above-noted facts about temple ordinances, we can see that the building of temples has deep significance for ourselves and mankind, and our responsibilities become clear. We must accomplish the priesthood temple ordinance work necessary for our own exaltation; then we must do the necessary work for those who did not have the opportunity to accept the gospel in life. Doing work for others is accomplished in two steps: first, by family history research to ascertain our progenitors; and second, by performing the temple ordinances to give them the same opportunities afforded to the living.

Yet there are many members of the Church who have only limited access to the temples. They do the best they can. They pursue family history research and have the temple ordinance work done by others. Conversely, there are some members who engage in temple work but fail to do family history research on their own family lines. Although they perform a divine service in assisting others, they lose a blessing by not seeking their own kindred dead as divinely directed by latter-day prophets.

I recall an experience of a few years ago that is analogous to this condition. At the close of a fast and testimony meeting, the bishop remarked, “We have had a spiritual experience today listening to the testimonies borne by each other. This is because we have come fasting according to the law of the Lord. But let us never forget that the law consists of two parts: that we fast by abstaining from food and drink and that we contribute what we have thereby saved to the bishop’s storehouse for the benefit of those who are less fortunate.” Then he added: “I hope no one of us will leave today with only half a blessing.”

I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.

Furthermore, the dead are anxiously waiting for the Latter-day Saints to search out their names and then go into the temples to officiate in their behalf, that they may be liberated from their prison house in the spirit world. All of us should find joy in this magnificent labor of love.

I love the analogy of fasting and fast offerings. So many people go to the temple every week or every month, which is an excellent thing to do, but from my own experience, the temple experience means a lot more when you go there for one of your ancestors as opposed to someone you don't know. Just as fasting means so much more when you know you are contributing that saved money to help your ward members.

March 30, 2007

Nova Scotia Vital Records Released

Here is a recent announcement from the LDS Church:

One Million Historical Names from Canada Go Online Nova Scotia Releases Early Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - Early vital records of Nova Scotia, Canada, are viewable over the Internet for the first time and for free, thanks to a joint project by the Genealogical Society of Utah, FamilySearch, and the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM). The records include one million names found in birth records from 1864 to 1877, marriages from 1864 to 1930, and death records from 1864 to 1877 and 1908 to 1955. Users can search the database at www.novascotiagenealogy.com.

Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to digitize all of its historical vital statistics and make them available online. "This project provides key information to researchers on their ancestors," said Genealogical Society of Utah regional manager Alain Allard. "It involves the vital records-births, marriages, and deaths-which are a key record set to find, identify, and link ancestors into family units."

The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) first microfilmed most of Nova Scotia's vital records back in the 1980s. In 2005, GSU used FamilySearch Scanning to convert those microfilms to digital images, while at the same time capturing additional vital records with a specially designed digital camera. Volunteers for the Nova Scotia Archives then used the images to create the searchable electronic index, which was completed in 2006.

Anyone can now search names in the index and view a high quality digital copy of the original image online for free at NSARM's Web site, www.novascotiagenealogy.com. In the near future, the index and images will also be available on FamilySearch.org. Researchers who want to obtain an official copy of a record can do so online through the Nova Scotia Archives. The cost will be CAN$9.95 for an electronic file and CAN$19.95, plus shipping and taxes, for paper copies.

Nova Scotia Provincial Archivist, W. Brian Speirs, said the cooperation of GSU was crucial to this important project. "Without the Genealogical Society of Utah offering in the early days of the project to provide complimentary digitization of all the records as their contribution to the initiative, the proposed undertaking would have been dead in the water and gone nowhere," Speirs said.

FamilySearch is the public channel of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

March 22, 2007

Ancestry Continues to Offer a Low Price

Well I'm sure everyone in the Genealogy community has heard about the access to Ancestry.com being dropped from LDS Family History Centers. As of April 1st the Ancestry.com information available will be much more minimal at FHCs. I think Ancestry is offering a special price for the next few days because of this recent announcement. I got in on this special deal a few months ago and I think it is a very fair price for all the information they offer.


* We tripled what was already the world’s largest online collection of immigration records.
* We completed the U.S. Federal Census collection (1790-1930). This 6.6 million hour project allows you to trace your family back decade by decade.
* We added completely new personal trees that offer you hints and let you more easily organize and share your research — even upload photos.
* We also launched a new online store that features more than 10,000 family history products.

Get ready for our best year ever.

In 2007 we’ll be adding millions of new records to Ancestry.com, including U.S. state census records, U.S. military records and others from outside the United States. We'll also be helping you collaborate with loved ones to build your own family history website featuring family photos and stories all at no extra charge. In addition, you’ll be able to use your research to create beautiful scrapbooks and other gifts. Join now and you’ll get it all for the low price mentioned above.

Click here for an Annual US Deluxe Membership.
Click here for an Annual World Deluxe Membership.

March 13, 2007

Goodbye to my oldest Living Relative


Ellen E. Bickel

EXETER -- Ellen Elizabeth "Libby" Bickel, 95, formerly of Lincoln Street, died Saturday, March 10, 2007, at the Eventide Home in Exeter.

She was born April 24, 1911, in Tewksbury, Mass., the daughter of the late Eliot Howe and Elizabeth (McCausland) French. She was raised in Massachusetts, moving to Exeter more than 70 years ago.

Mrs. Bickel was well-known for walking to numerous functions and meetings as she was very active with the Exeter Congregational Church and the Women's Fellowship at the Church. She was an honorary member of the Corporation of Eventide, a member of the Exeter Women's Club, a member of the Exeter Historical Society, attended the class reunions at the Radcliffe College in Cambridge into her 90s, and was a volunteer at Exeter Hospital.

The widow of Charles Bickel, who died in 1984, she is survived by one son, Charles E. Bickel of San Francisco; one daughter, Elizabeth B. Hersam of Exeter; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two nephews, Peter E. French and Wallace H. French.

There are no calling hours. A memorial service will be announced in June. Burial will be in the Rural Dale Cemetery, Trenton, Mo.

Memorial donations may be made to the Eventide Home, 81 High St. Exeter, NH 03833.

Brewitt Funeral Home, 14 Pine St., Exeter is handling the arrangements.

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