I received a box full of old photos the other day from my mom. It's not very many, but I finally have one of my great-great-grandmother. Unfortunately my mother didn't keep too many old photos, but the ones she has will be separated between me, and my sister. When my grandmother passed on my mom's side she pretty much left everything to my stepbrother who lives with one of my aunts with whom I'm become estranged with. It's a sad story, but I don't let it bring me down. I will attempt to contact her, and my stepbrother in hopes that she will give me more information on our family, or even send me some photos.
Last weekend I attended a conference at my church on family history, and the theme was "I Am A Cousin". I attended a few classes that really helped me grow in organizing myself a bit better on tracking my side of the family down. It hasn't been an easy task, but it's so worth it. I'm a first generation member, and when you don't come from a "pioneer" family like my husband does doing genealogy can be a little tough. Luckily I still have my mom, and even though she's not a member she's been a pretty good sport in giving me all the names of my four aunts, and two uncles from my fathers side which I've never met, as well as their parents whom I've never met either (insert frown face here.) The fact that my father abandoned us when I was five doesn't help. My mother has no record of their whereabouts except the city in Mexico in which they are from. I am trying, and have willed myself to try harder. Looking in the Mexican census and all! I have encouraged my 15 year old to take the time out of her busy school schedule to put in a couple of hours a week of indexing. I have also advised my oldest daughter who is in Utah at the moment to do the same too. She hasn't gone through the temple yet (she's 19), but can sure as heck do baptisms. They come from pioneer heritage, and it is going to be their job to clean up what little mess I've made in continuing the genealogy on my side of the family. Luckily I have four children that will all pitch in and do their work as I get older. As long as they continue to live righteously they can all have the opportunity to attend the temple and do work for our kindred dead.
I have so much passion for my families history, and am grateful to my mom for giving me some information that I didn't know. For example, I had no idea my grandmother had a brother that died in a car crash at 16 years of age, or that she even had a brother! She actually had two brothers, and they are both deceased. My grandfather also had numerous brothers and sisters who are also deceased. See...the work will never end! Jon will have the privilege of doing all my grandpas, and great-grandpa's work, and am thrilled for that! The spirit of Elijah constantly nudges me to seek, seek, seek, and work, work, work! I know that by exercising faith I will prevail when it comes to finding more about my fathers side of the family. There's so much more to find out about my mothers side of the family as well. It's kind of tough when half of them are spread out all over the country, and for one reason or another have become estranged over the years. It's so sad to know that, and because of that history makes me grateful to be a member of a church that not only helps me grow spiritually, and increases my love for the Savior, but that helps me raise my family in a perspective that focuses on eternal families, and family history.
All I know is that if I never had the gospel in my life before dying that I would be one of those spirits looking down from the spirit world praying my heart out that my "cousin" or someone in my family will do my work for me. I'd be saying, "Do my work please! Do my work! Find Me please!" That is the whole purpose of eternal families, and why we are here. It's so important to seek our ancestors and to know who they are, what they did, where they came from, and if by some chance I may be related to Ricardo Montalban, or Julio, and Enrique Iglesias!! Who knows! I could be a long lost cousin to them!! Seriously...all joking aside the time has come to seriously delve into deeper, unknown territories and to find out more about my fathers side of the family, as well as my mother's.
Since all of the youth are our future generation in accomplishing family history work I leave you with this video (that was made by the youth of our church) in hopes that we will all be encouraged in finding our "cousins".