Family History Miracles: Help from the other side
Did you know that many people have shared experiences about deceased relatives helping them with their genealogy research? I have four anecdotes to share today, and I think you will find them fascinating. To me, these stories show the connection of our deceased relatives to us.
Deceased Grandmother Appears to Help Researcher
Pyschic Roots, by Hank Z. Jones, Jr., F.A.S.G., is a collection of experiences from genealogists who felt the influence of coincidence and serendipity while undertaking genealogy research. These experiences led them to fortuitous discoveries – through hunches, intuition, dumb luck, preternatural experiences, and so forth.
One of my favorite experiences from the book is about a woman who was trying to make a connection between her ancestors and a family of the same surname. A few weeks after researching and not coming to a conclusion, this research came to her mind as she was driving home from church. She decided to think about it later and when her deceased grandmother suddenly appeared and asked her to “remember what I told you about that!”
You’ll have to purchase the ebook or print book (published by Genealogical Publishing Co.) to read the whole account, because I don’t have permission to reprint the experience here. I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it.
A Whisper From Rosa
My great grandparents, Blanche and Earl, were researching their Earl’s ancestors and his distant cousin gave them a long list of several pages containing names and vital information of relatives.
Blanche and Earl were transferring the names to genealogy forms late into the night, and when they had finished everyone on the list, they went upstairs to bed.
A little while later, Earl awoke to the sound of a whisper saying, “Don’t leave me out! My name is Rosa. I’m on page 2.” He woke up his wife, Blanche, and they went back downstairs and searched through the list. After some time, they found a name along the edge of the paper written away from all the other entries. The name was Rosa! 
Visit from Deceased Parents
A. J. Graham, a Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recorded the following account of a visit from his deceased parents:
“One night while in the hospital after an operation and in the act of praying I felt someone present in my room. I opened my eyes and the room was light, the door closed and near my bed stood my mother. She smiled and said:
“‘I am glad to see you are better.’ She held in her hand a book. I asked what it was. She replied that it was a book of genealogies. Father then appeared with three books in his hand, saying, ‘I am glad you are better.’
“‘You must get well, for I have three volumes of names that are ready to have work done for in the Temple. We have connected up our family so you can do their work. Ways and means will open for you if you will.’
“I asked how I was to find these records. He said, ‘If you will work in the Temple, you shall know but it will take money.’ I said ‘Father, I haven’t any money and have been out of work since May 1.’
“He said, ‘never mind my boy, money will come to you if you are determined to work in the Temple for these poor people who are held back and can’t go on. They pray as earnestly for you, that you might have money and the necessities of life, and that your heart will be moved so that you will do this work for them, just as sincerely as you pray for things you need. Don’t forget, they can not go on until their work is done.’
“With a smile of confidence and content they both faded from my mortal vision.”
Angels Dispatched to Help Barbara’s Sister
In a 2016 RootsTech Discovery Day session with Sherri Dew and Wendy Watson Nelson, Sister Nelson and Sister Dew discussed how angels helped Barbara and her sister.
Sheri Dew: Today we’ve talked primarily about how eager those living on the other side of the veil are for our help. But Wendy and I have come to appreciate just how eager those living on the other side are to help us. President Joseph F. Smith taught something truly profound when he said this:
“When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred [and] friends…. In like manner, our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they have learned to love in the flesh.”
Wendy Nelson: Well, I know that’s true. Sometimes I hear counsel that sounds a whole lot like my mother.
Sheri Dew: What we’re saying is that Wendy and I believe in angels. We believed Elder Holland when he said, “Ask for angels to help you.” Think about that. Ask for angels to help you. Then we believed him also when he said that angels could be dispatched to help us, and then he explained further: “Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”
We have both had far too many experiences with those from the other side of the veil to ever doubt their presence or their involvement in our lives. If you want to have a truly great experience, read the Book of Mormon again, marking every time angels ministered to someone here on earth. Pay attention to why they came, what they taught, what they did to minister to a mortal man or woman, and the difference it made in those people’s lives.
Wendy Nelson: I taught Elder Holland’s teachings to our institute students, and one, whom I’ll call Barbara, followed through with Elder Holland’s counsel with amazing results. Barbara has served as proxy for many of my ancestors. She had special proxy experiences with a woman named Genevieve and with Genevieve’s biological sisters. So Barbara prayed and asked if Genevieve and her sisters, all who live on the other side of the veil, could be dispatched to help Barbara’s own sister who lives on this side of the veil.
Barbara’s sister had not been active in the Church for years. She was having heart-wrenching difficulties with some really rigorous life events. Here are Barbara’s own words: “I prayed that my sister could find peace in this world, that she could find direction back to Heavenly Father, and that the sisters of Genevieve could help her find her way back and watch over her in this process.
A few weeks later, my sister told me that she was taking her three boys to Church. Later she asked how to get her patriarchal blessing. The eldest boy turned eight this summer and was baptized. And my sister is now attending temple preparation classes.” I find that just so thrilling.
Sheri Dew: What Barbara was describing in every respect is a miracle. How can we explain miracles? Moroni told us, “My beloved [brothers]”—and may I add sisters—”have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. … And the office of their ministry is to call men”—and, I believe, women— “[to] repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father” (Moroni 7:29, 31).
Wendy Nelson: Here’s what I know to be true. Family history and temple work will bring miracles to your life and to the lives of those you love. 
Our deceased relatives care about us, and they want a correct record to be kept on earth about them. They are able to speak to us, appear to us, and comfort and guide us in our mortal journey. We are connected to them, and they are connected to us! They also need our help. They can’t progress without ordinances performed in temples on earth. To learn about how to find names for the temple, read my series of articles here, or purchase my book – Find Names for the Temple: A Step-by-Step Method for Success.
To read more about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding temple work for deceased ancestors, go here: Baptisms for the Dead, article at LDS.org.
If you have any stories you’d like to share with me, please comment below or email me at email@example.com.
1. Hank Z. Jones, Psychic Roots (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1993) p. 171.
2. Renee Hollingsworth, “A Whisper,” typed manuscript in the files of Nicole Dyer, Tucson, AZ.
3. “Bishop Graham Recounts Rare Genealogical Experience,” Church News, June 25, 1932, 2; quoted in “Chapter 5: Personal Revelation in Family History,” Introduction to Family History Student Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2012); book online, LDS.org (https://www.lds.org/manual/introduction-to-family-history-student-manual/chapter-5?lang=eng : accessed 8 November 2018).
4. Sheri L. Dew and Wendy W. Nelson, “Family History Discussion,” video and transcript from RootsTech 2016 Family Discovery Day, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/familydiscoveryday/family-history-discussion : accessed 8 November 2018).