Present and Connected: A FamilySearch Partnership Success Story

November 7, 2014  - by 

Alison Shaw Knudsen had been looking for her father’s great-grandmother for many years. In fact, many people had tried for more than 40 years to find her. Her father had spent his entire adult life searching, without success. It seemed like a lost cause.Alison felt a very strong prompting to try again to find her great-great-grandmother. She and her husband began their search with a prayer. They searched again through all their family history books, looking for a clue. Finally, they turned to

“ gave us a massive list of possibilities,” said Alison. “For some reason, I was prompted to click on one amongst hundreds of options—and there she was! We found this great-great-grandmother in an English workhouse, at the bottom of a census record. We also found her father and mother on this record. The Spirit was electrifying at that moment in the room. No words can describe our joy at making this connection.”

The Knudsens, of British Columbia, Canada, live a day’s journey from the closest temple. As they made the long trip to perform temple ordinances for this beloved, newly-found grandmother, everything seemed to go wrong, and they nearly missed the opportunity. Upon arrival at the temple, they discovered that the temple office had misplaced this grandmother’s name card, and office staff couldn’t find it anywhere.

“The temple workers told me to get ready for the session and use a temple name instead. My heart was broken, as I felt this grandmother there, wanting her work to be done. Just as I was going to get a new name, a temple worker came rushing in to give me her name. They had found her card!”

Alison had the privilege of performing her great-great-grandmother’s endowment and sealing to her parents and children. “I felt her spirit finally happy. She had lived a life of poverty and abuse with her family in an English workhouse. But in the temple, I felt generations of our family present, now all eternally connected.”

Latter-day Saints now receive free subscriptions to FamilySearch partner websites, such as Partner websites provide access to 3.5 times the records, provide deeper and broader research opportunities, and combine the unique assets of each partner to best benefit patrons. Get your free accounts at

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  1. I love this story. At the time it happened Alison was our Relief Society President and her husband in the Bishopric. Alison is nearly blind and has to take strong pain medication for her one partially sighted eye, in order to do computer research. But they had made a decision and commitment to work together every Sunday evening on their Family History. This happy ending is an example of what miraculous results can happen when we use faith and prayer, put forth the effort and use the wonderful tools provided for our family history research. This story serves as an example to us all.

  2. I know how that goes, I to was looking for a Great Aunt , which I first didn’t even know existed, she and her family had moved to Canada and being the oldest of my Grand Father 17 siblings (only 8 stayed a life) and the others were brothers, my mom not a member said one day, I have an Aunt who lives in Canada, I was surprised I never heard about her, I asked do you know where she lives, she went looking and about a year after I emigrated to the USA, she gave me an address, so I send a card hoping that maybe some relative might live ad the address, the card came back with no delivery possible without a zip code, I was very discouraged, so I left it. Got married and moved, a friend of mine moved in to my old apartment, she called me after 9 YEARS and said there is a letter here for you in your maiden name, but it is from Canada, I told her I don’t know anyone in Canada, but picked up the letter anyway, it was a thick letter, from a lady with a name I didn’t know.
    I started to read, Hi I was in one of those Mormon buildings trying to look for ancestors, and I came up on your name, and looked through your line, but my Grand Mother was missing and saw that everything I knew looked like it fit in my line, do you think we might be family, I was VERY surprised to see, that she happened to be the Grand Daughter of my Great Aunt, and isn’t even a member of the church, of course I wrote right away back, and we send each other pictures, I took them with me when I went to Europe to show my Mom, she looked just like her cousins, so much excitement, we are still in touch, hopefully we can meet once, but at least we call, she says I sound just like her Grand Mother, it’s great to hear the accent again.
    So don’t EVER give up, the Lord has his ways.

  3. I love how much more work I have been able to get done through the partnership of these websites. They are especially helpful in finding our cousins as Elder Bednar talked about. I hope more people will realize their potential and learn to navigate these sites.