What is Family?
Family is defined as "a group consisting of people usually related to one another by blood or marriage and united by a significant shared characteristic. They are to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy."
What might that characteristic be?
Here is my favorite definition:
A family consists of the characteristic in that we are all Children of God.
We are all children of our Heavenly Father. We are, we were, and we will forever be a people related to each other by our very natures and essence. Our spirits were designed and fashioned by an infinitely creative and powerful God. We were meant to treat each other with kindness. We are brothers and sisters. I think sometimes we forget this.
With this eternal perspective of who we each are, it would stand to reason that we would naturally be social creatures. God meant for us to interact and to yearn for love and give love in return. We are meant to have a family.
How does this relate to Family History Work?
I have found that when I am exploring the expanse of my family tree, there is a certain love I have developed for people that I haven't even met yet. As I delve into their lives and their legacy, I realize that I can take pride in what they have accomplished. For I am a product of their lives. I celebrate when they succeeded in life, and I mourn when a hard trial came to them such as the loss of a loved one.
Why does this matter?
Interesting question. Why DOES it matter? Are we just meant to have these relationships and feelings for nothing? If you have done family history/geneological work before, I think I would be safe to say that you have felt similar feelings of love and curiousity, as I have.
Why do I feel this way?
If you go to the very end of the Old Testament, there is a book called Malachi. Malachi 4: 5-6 to be exact:
¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the :
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite theearth with a curse.
Bascially what you are feeling as you do family history work is called the Spirit of Elijah.
“The Spirit of Elijah is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family. Hence, people throughout the world, regardless of religious affiliation, are gathering records of deceased relatives at an ever-increasing rate.”
—Elder Russell M. Nelson, “A New Harvest Time,” May 1998 general conference
I love this. People no matter what religion they may be, are searching their family trees. Most of them, think it is just a neat, worthwhile hobbie. Which is true.To Latter-day Saints, however, there is a deeper meaning.
What is that?