Mary Atkins- A Family History Experience

When I was attending Utah State University, I also attended Institute. During my 4th semester there I was doing an elementary education practicum which meant I was at an elementary school from 7 am-4 pm Tues/Wed/Thurs. Most Institute classes are Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs. I chose a Family History course that was Mon/Wed and attended on Mondays only for 3 weeks. The instructor encouraged me to attend the class at a later date when I could make it both Mon/Wed. (little did she know that was my last semester at USU!) I did not attend the class any more.

In those 3 weeks, I learned how to log in to and scroll through my Family Tree. I learned that little green temples meant there was temple work to be done and that I could request the ordinances so I could do them. And I was amazed to see that I had many more little green temples than I imagined I would!

Occasionally I still scroll through my Family Tree looking for little green temples. Over the years I've probably completed the temple work for around 20 individuals. It became much easier to assist once I was endowed and could take a deaceased individual all the way through all the ordinances. It is fun to take little blue & pink cards to the temple, and I have found an increased desire to go when I am doing names that come from my own family line. I am willing to say that I never feel the spirit as strongly as I do when I am doing ordinances for my own family in the temple. 

A few weeks ago, Colten and I attended to do Baptisms for some of my friend's family names as well as a few of my own. After the confirmation, one of the temple workers noticed a male card that said "Mary Atkins" on it. He said, "Are you sure that Mary is male? Or do you think Mary could be female?" I assured him that Mary did indeed have a wife on my Family Tree but I would look into it before continuing the work. 

Over 2 weeks later I had a prompting to open my family tree and learn more about Mary Atkins. When I logged on I noticed that Mary's spouse was indeed marked female, but the name was Thomas. Things were suspicious. I messaged with a Family Search volunteer who said I needed proof to change the sex of the individuals. She suggested I search Family Search records, which I had never done. 

I searched Mary's name, date of birth, and birthplace and came across a census record that aligned perfectly with the information on file, and clearly labeled her sex as female. I got so excited! I saved the Census record and let the volunteer know. She was able to update the system and we found that there were two records for Mary and her husband. The temple work had already been done for them! There was even a picture of Mary. I looked at that picture and was reminded that these names... they are real people. They are waiting for US to do the work for them, that they cannot do for themselves. 

The resources available on are incredible! I love taking my little pink & blue cards to the temple with my husband and relishing, in the SPIRIT OF ELIJAH! My contribution to Family History may not be as significant as another individual's, but it is still MY contribution. I dream of the day when I get to the other side and those individuals welcome me to heaven, and thank me for my work. Of course, I will thank them right back, because doing their work makes me more holy and brings me closer to my Heavenly Father than anything else in this world. 

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Autumn @ Stay gold Autumn said...

I love doing genealogy and I love going to the temple. Doing temple work is always one of those things that keeps me grounded in the church because it just makes so much sense and makes me feel like I am serving! I love feeling more connected to my ancestors and learning about them and I loved reading your experience where you able to do the same!

Tayler Morrell said...

Genealogy and indexing and that kind of stuff is so much fun! But then again, I'm a historian at heart and looking at any kind of record is exhilarating to me because of all you can learn. My favorite is indexing obituaries because you get a little insight of that person's life. I took a family history class at BYU as a last elective for my history major and I loved researching more about my ancestors!

Melanie said...

I wish I could this!!! I'm only the 2nd generation here in America on one side and 3rd on the might be tough but I definitely want to try! Good luck with your research and thanks for hte motivation!! =)

Melanie | Blog: Toots + Dill

Ashley Ziegler said...

I wish I had family names to take to the temple!!