Alexis Fox, Mckayla Crump, Trevor Brown and Alex Garza have a couple things in common. These young people all attend Central Valley High School and they all serve as Family History consultants in their ward.
Called to serve last summer, the team has slowly but surely energized the Liberty Lake Ward with enthusiasm about searching for family. On Feb. 19, about 40 young people gathered at the chapel with laptops, tablets and phones to find their ancestors.
“We wanted to get all the youth together in an environment where they have the chance and the motivation to work on their family history,” Trevor explained.
Most of the youth in the room knew how to login to the familysearch.org website because a previous activity had been geared toward accomplishing just that. Last week’s activity was designed to move beyond the creation of a FamilySearch account.
“We want them to have the opportunity to catch the vision,” Trevor explained. “Tonight is about getting past the login and actually finding the people who need our help.”
To start the evening, Trevor announced a friendly competition between quorums and classes.
“Whenever someone found a name, they jumped up and shouted and we gave their class a tally mark,” he explained.
When the pizza arrived, the class with the most “finds” went first to the buffet table. Much to the dismay of the 14-year-old boys, it was their 14 and 15 year old female counterparts who were leading the competition with 14 tally marks.
As they devoured 20 pizzas, they continued to search.
Dennis and Sherry Paul attended with their daughters, Ashley and Shelby, to help in the effort. Ashley’s big accomplishment for the night was creating her own account (she had just turned 12 the week before) and seeing some of her ancestors online.
“I’m glad I could know who my family members are,” Ashley said.
Sherry was reviewing her Icelandic ancestors and helping the girls identify which ancestors were ready to receive temple work.
All the youth consultants wandered through the crowd, helping everyone. Alexis Fox set up a printer for those who found names they wanted to print out for the temple.
“I’ve been helping kids figure out which names need to be brought to the temple and showing them how to reserve names,” Alexis explained.
When asked if she herself had a name prepared to bring to the temple, Alexis answered, “Yes I do.”
Bishop Richard Kearnes interrupted the searching to remind the youth that 7:30 a.m. on Saturday was the meeting time for anyone planning to bring a name to the temple.
Priest Quorum member Dallin Macomber had his name ready to go. Dallin sat down to work on his family history and found a family with four children living in United States late 1800s. When he ran a search on the father, he found a fifth child named Erwin on the 1910 census and was able to add him to his family.
“I kind of feel like it is a good thing to do if they don’t have their temple ordinances and they’re not sealed to their family,” Dallin explained. “If nobody else finds them they might not be sealed. I feel like you’re doing them a favor and it helps them out. And it is kind of an accomplishment.”
Because Dallin had spent some time on FamilySearch already, he was able to help his friend Logan set up an account.
“The site was pretty user-friendly,” Logan said. “I didn’t know but my dad’s side goes back pretty far.”
But maybe not as far as Elise Brockbank’s line. She had successfully identified an ancestor born in 1522, in England, and was making plans to take her name to the temple.
“I was pretty happy when I found someone I could help,” Elise said, pointing out that most of her finds had been male ancestors.
As the night wound down, the youth began to fold up tables and chairs and laptops. The tally marks on the board had grown to about 50 and the pizza had disappeared. As youth headed home for the night, some had printed temple forms in their hands, ready to help their ancestors start on the path toward becoming part of an eternal family.
“Family history is something that I’ve never really known how awesome it is before,” Trevor said. “When I was called to be a consultant I was able to understand that and really gain my own testimony of the importance of family history. I’m glad that I have the chance to share that testimony with others and help them gain their own.”