Friday, September 27, 2013

Genealogy Joy

Last fall I finally found the native homeland for some of my German ancestors. This particular branch of my family on my father's father's side came from the beautiful Moselle River Valley in western Germany.  I cannot possibly describe the joy I have felt in preparing many of their names for temple work. Some of their surnames are Kelsch ((Cölsch/Koelsch), Peil (Beyl), Weber, Junck, Schlaegel, Rether, Keip, Schantz, Reichman, and Laux.

Today I went to the temple with the names of four of my great grandmothers (two 6th great grandmothers and two 7th great grandmothers to be exact). The feeling I had while I was in the temple was so moving that I was unable to control my tears. One of the women helping me was also so moved that she unable to control her tears. The two of us just kept crying. They were tears of joy and profound peace. The feeling was so intense that it was overwhelming.

I had five years of German language study in junior high and high school. I made sure that we pronounced the names of my German ancestors properly. I told one of the women helping me that these were German names. That's what started her crying. As I was leaving, this woman pulled me aside and with tears still in her eyes, told me her son is currently serving as a missionary in Germany. I told her I had a son serving in Georgia. She told me how much she missed her son. I sensed her deep love for him and of her sacrifice in supporting his service. Knowing that God's blessings are real and profound for the living and for our deceased ancestors makes all of our sacrifices bearable. To serve our ancestors and serve God in these ways are blessings in and of themselves.

I wish everyone could experience the peace found in the temples of God. It is so beautiful and very real. Heaven must be such a wonderful place. I look forward to meeting my ancestors there someday when I pass on. They have become very dear to me.
The first ancestors I discovered came from Cochem.
This is a picture of Cochem on the Moselle River
 and of the Cochem Castle in Rheinland, Germany.
I have since discovered ancestors all along the 
Moselle River south to Trier and on both sides of the river.
It seems like such a beautiful place.
I'd love to go there someday.

I'm sitting here on my window seat looking at a spectacular sunset over the great Salt Lake. As I was eating dinner this evening, I thought about my afternoon with Hannah and Nathan. As I held Hannah on my lap, I thought about my "great grandmothers." I thought about how much I love my granddaughter Hannah. There is a special bond between grandmothers and their granddaughters. It's supposed to be that way. Someday I will be a great grandmother to Hannah's daughters. I don't know them yet but I feel as though I already love them. I suspect that's the way my great grandmothers felt about me today. I thought I could feel their love for me. That's what had me crying. It might sound strange but I know it's real. 

Today I reached back in time towards my ancestors. I also reached forward in time towards my own descendants. I feel surrounded by love on both ends. What a lovely day.
 Tonight's sunset.


  1. Hello Liz

    Wow - what a great post about your German ancestors! And I love your blog - a very welcoming place and lots to explore. I grew up in the Catskills as well (over in Sullivan county) and my ancestors settled Ulster County. Thanks so much for posting!

    1. Thanks so much for the comment. I never quite know who stumbles on my blog; I just write for the joy of writing. I'm happy to share my life with others, mostly i just do it for my family. Happy reading.

      How can we ever quite get over the Catskills? I'm not sure it's possible, especially in the fall. :) I miss it every year and every once in a while I just have to take a trip back home in October.


  2. Hi Liz,

    Thomas MacEntee, who commented above, shared your blog on Facebook. I'm so glad he did! It's wonderful!

    I too am a Missionary Mom. In fact, I have two missionary sons serving right now. One is serving in the Massachusetts Boston Mission and one is serving in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Our older two sons have already served their missions, have returned home, and are in college. They served in Illinois and Maryland.

    By the way, where did your son serve in Brazil? My mom was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    Thank you also for sharing your sweet and joyful experience while doing temple work for your ancestors. I started my family history research back around 1996 and currently serve as a Family History Consultant in my ward.

    1. Hi Jana,

      What a nice comment and so thoughtful of you to leave one. I'm glad you liked this post. I was just so emotional when I wrote it yesterday. I never realized it would affect people so much.

      My son served in Londrina, Brazil. He had a good mission and loved the people.

      I've been doing genealogy research for 18 years. It was only last November that I began to find direct ancestors. It's amazing how we grow so close to the people we find. Actually, I'm pretty sure they find us sometimes. :) Thanks again.


    2. Liz,

      I write a genealogy blog and want to let you know that this blog post is listed in my weekly Fab Finds post today at

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. I, too, enjoyed your post! I had a lump in my throat as I read it, for I can relate on so many angles.

    I am a temple worker, and there is a different feeling when patrons bring their ancestors with them. They become more than names on a piece of paper.

    Wonderful, wonderful post...

    1. Thank you as well for your kind comment. These things are so personal but also so wonderful. There's nothing quite like feeling a deep connection to your direct ancestors. It was hard to leave the temple yesterday after that experience.

      Enjoy your evening. Thanks again.


  4. I was in Salt Lake City last week and happened to see the same sunset! It was so beautiful we went outside and just enjoyed it. I'm glad you got such spectacular pictures of it.