Do you want to get started in Family History but you’re nervous about the time commitment or your abilities? Do you feel overwhelmed whenever you think about just getting started? Today I’d like to spotlight my friends and neighbors, the Rickenbach family. We belong to the same LDS ward and I’ve worked with their family for the last several months doing family history. Craig and Corinne took my beginning Family History Sunday School class in the fall of 2015 and she has brought her children to the Family History Center several times to work one-on-one with me. Her two oldest teenagers are also youth consultants in our ward and are now helping other youth do family history.
Rickenbach family, 2016
I’ve been impressed with Corinne’s desire to involve her family in learning about and seeking out their ancestors. Despite the very busy life she leads as a wife, mother of five children, and business owner, she finds a way to do family history.
How did you get started in family history?
For such a long time I have had such a desire to do family history. The spirit of Elijah has been working on me for years to start. Unfortunately every time I have looked at it, I felt so overwhelmed and so under skilled that I just would not start. I still feel that way but since I have taken Diana’s family history class and have spent some hours with her at the family history center, I am no longer petrified, just intimidated by the massive amount of knowledge and work there is to learn and to be done. I am trying to not let that get to me though. There are many simple things to be done that aren’t hard at all.
The more time we spend in the temple, the more I realize how important it is for me to be doing the work of those who have gone before me. This last year has been a big temple year for me and I think the combination of that plus the opportunity to take her class was another boost to get me moving.
Recently I have felt inspired to make some little books for my children about their grandparents which I am very excited about. My goal is that I can connect with my children at bedtime and plant seeds of goodness in their hearts from stories of their grandparents and great grandparents. My two younger girls who are still not quite old enough to do what their older siblings can do with family history, will really enjoy getting to know their family better and I believe it will help set a better foundation for their lives.
Even though family history stretches me clear out of my comfort zone, I know that Lord has been nudging me for years and will continue to until I fully embrace this great work that I know is so vital for me and my eternal family. I believe we were saved for such a special time and that genealogy is crucial for all of us to accept and embrace in our lives. Our children seem to have come hardwired for this work!
What mentors influenced you to get started in family history and genealogy research?
Before I met Diana, we had an elderly lady in a previous ward who was just a spitfire and had such a passion and drive for family history. It was her personal mission to convert every member of our ward to genealogy. She had some really amazing experiences where the veil became very thin for her. I think that is common for those who spend a lot of time doing this work and that the Lord works miracles for His children to be found and their work to be done. I never want to be without the blessings of the Lord and those stories always pull on the heartstrings and push me along. My grandfather spent two to three full days in the temple from sun up to sundown, which was a huge inspiration to me to want to be part of such a great work as well. Though he didn’t do a lot of genealogy work that I know of, he did temple work.
Why do you do genealogy? Why do you think it’s important?
Someone once explained it like this to me. Genealogy (God’s family) is like a huge patchwork quilt. It won’t be complete until every square is filled in. (All of his children found and sealed). Right now there are many holes in the quilt and many lost souls. I imagine those who are waiting for their work to be done and how they must be so anxious to be able to be sealed and connected in the most beautiful of all tapestries, the grand family!
What is the most rewarding part of researching your family’s history?
For me it is finding a name and then taking it to the temple. I also really love the stories of my ancestors and knowing that their experiences and stories are part of me. Though many of their experiences happened so long ago, they still impact my life.
What has been the most difficult part of your genealogical journey?
For me it has been the technology left brained side of it. I live in the right side of my brain so trying to learn and memorize how to do it and acquainting myself and re-acquainting myself with it each time I return is difficult. I have a very poor memory for this kind of thing. It is embarrassing to forget so quickly the things I learned. The other difficult part is making the time. I am a full time mother of five, ages 8-16. I am homeschooling my children and my husband and I own a business that I am very involved in. There are many good things going on in life and it’s easy to not have time for family history. Like anything, if I don’t prioritize it in my life it doesn’t happen.
What are your research interests?
I have not spent much time doing a lot of research with family history yet, but I would say learning about people and their stories of life is very interesting to me. I feel I can be better than I am when I know that those who have gone before me have had struggles like myself and overcame them.
How do you preserve your family history?
I have not yet started preserving any family history, but I think through books is how I will like doing it best. My father told me yesterday that I can use my grandmother’s journals and I would like to start making them into a book.
If you had all the time in the world to spend on family history, what would you do?
For me, finding names to take to the temple is so important, so this is where I want my main focus to be along with preparing my kids to develop a love for the work.
What’s the best discovery you’ve made about your family?
Realizing how there really is a lot of work to be done even though so much has already been done.
Who is your most interesting ancestor?
Willard Richards and his wife Nanny Smith, whose line I come out of, and George A Smith, and Bathsheba Smith. These are my 3rd great grandparents who I have learned a lot about because they were so influential in building the church in the beginning stages with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Of course there are so many people, whose stories are not as acclaimed as theirs that I am excited to get to know better as well.
Leah, Corinne’s daughter
Tell us about some of your experiences doing family history.
Last summer a good friend of mine showed me how to find names on Puzzilla.org. She got me excited about doing family history. Then this school year we decided to incorporate family history into our home school. When I first went to the family history center, I did indexing. This was something that was fun and simple for me to do and for a while I just focused on that. Then I decided to try finding my own names and I found a whole family! It made me feel so awesome! Sister Elder told me that I was blessed for all of the indexing I did.
My family got to take those names to the temple together and do their ordinances. If felt so great to help my ancestors. I really like doing family history because there are so many ways you can be involved in it. I love learning the stories and seeing the pictures of family. The options are endless. I feel like understanding family history work is a gift my Heavenly Father has blessed me with and something I want to be involved in to help my family receive their ordinances.
Thank you Rickenbachs for sharing your love for family history and temple work!
We are looking for more people to spotlight in our “family history is for everyone series.” If you would like to be involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
To see more interviews in our Family History is for Everyone Spotlight Series, check these out: