By Jennifer Kerns Davis
A few years ago, I was facing a somewhat challenging research problem in my tree. I had a family pieced together, but I could not extend the mother’s line. I was missing some important bits of data that would help me in my quest. At the time, I had a very busy schedule that would not allow me to spend hours scouring through film or digital images to find the information I needed. I ended up dropping that part of my tree temporarily and focusing on a different part.
About a year later, I decided to revisit this family. After searching indexed records on FamilySearch.org for a few minutes, I couldn’t believe how quickly I was able to find a marriage record that named the maiden name of the mother in question, along with her parents. In the time I deferred my search for this family the year before, someone had indexed the exact record I needed! I was so excited! But in my excitement, I didn’t forget to say a little prayer to God, like I usually did, thanking Him for helping me to find the information I needed.
Then it occurred to me—God was not the only person I needed to thank. I suddenly had a strong desire to thank the person who indexed this marriage record just for me to find! But how could I know who that person was? It was impossible for me to know—except that God knew. Then I knew what to do: I prayed to God and asked Him to bless the person who indexed this record, whoever he or she was. I felt an outpouring of love for the indexer.
I suddenly realized that it was not just the indexer that brought this record to me, it was the arbitrator too! There are also people at FamilySearch who get the records ready to publish, and all the others that touched that record—from the camera operator who took the picture of the record right down to the recorder who sat there with my ancestors so many years ago, pen in hand, and wrote down that information that I now had in my hands. None of these people knew me or even knew my name, but they had done something that meant so much to me. The feeling of love and appreciation for all of the contributors to this record overwhelmed me. As I continued my prayer, I prayed that the Lord would bless each of those persons for carrying out their part. Now this has become a regular occurrence for me: whenever I find a record to fill a branch of my family tree, I ask God to please bless the indexer, arbitrator, and everyone else that brought that record to me.
So if you feel an extra lift while you are indexing or arbitrating, this could be why: there are people praying for you, and thanking you for your work. Perhaps you are receiving blessings outside of your indexing work—blessings for your family, blessings of safety, blessings of health. Whatever the extra strength you feel in your personal life because of your service, just remember that there are appreciative people like me cheering you on, thanking you and praying for you.
Help Fuel the Find
Learn how you can help people like Jennifer discover important details of their family story. Watch the video.
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