AML Review – Volume One

True Miracles with Genealogy

Not Everyone Has Cooperative Kindred Dead

Reviewed by Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury for the Association for Mormon Letters (AML)

reviewI’m a professional genealogist, of sorts, specializing in computer genealogy, but I have done enough “original research” on my own ancestors to enjoy and envy the experiences related in this book.

Anne Bradshaw has compiled an amazing collection of stories, from the oft-told “right place at the right time” kinds to the wonderful description of Daris Howard’s writing of the musical Lilacs in the Valley about his own pioneer ancestors — with their undeniable assistance.

There are stories about the kindnesses of strangers who purchase bibles on e-bay and then track down the descendants so they can have them, or who come into possession of other vital family records and bring them together with the heirs.  Tracy St. Clare, one of the Bible collectors, even included a website where people can check for family Bible information by surname and where other kind strangers can provide such information:

There are also stories of how descendants were able to come to know better the ancestors they already knew about and to appreciate their personal histories, and those stories shared how that knowledge was encouraged by more than natural means.

Mysteries solved

Mysteries have been solved and gaps filled with the help of those who have gone before and want their temple work done, and the researchers have shared some of the strong promptings and clear impressions that loved ones are nearby.  This short book contains one heart-warming story after another.

While I was deeply touched by these experiences, I was also envious.  I have several “blind alleys” and “dead ends” in my ancestry, and reading about how those who have gone before assisting in the research that led to their temple work made me wish some of my end-of-line ancestors would get with the program.

Often few and far between

I have had some similar experiences, as I was learning how to do my own research, but they have been few and far between, something I think this book may not imply.  While some of the authors have had more than one experience included, and have asserted that they have many more they could share, not everyone has such cooperative kindred dead.

Still it is exciting and encouraging to read about the successes of other genealogists and to know that help is there from “beyond the veil.”  These stories testify to the importance and urgency of the work, and the same kinds of experiences are available to all who are willing to become so involved.

Grandma didn’t do it all

Your grandmother most assuredly did not do it all, no matter what anyone may think.  And even if, by some remote chance, she actually did discover all of your ancestors all the way back to Adam, you can still do your part to get to know your family and your family history.  As a genealogist, I can say without reservation that you will never regret it.

There aren’t enough collections of these stories, and I, for one, am very grateful to Anne Bradshaw for compiling a few more of them.  They truly do touch and encourage and uplift, and having read the book, I am once again inspired to try a little harder on my own “blind alleys.”

About the reviewer

Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury is a science fiction short story author and writing workshop organizer. She has six short stories in anthologies and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She also moderates the Hatrack River Writers Workshop at Orson Scott Card’s website.


One comment on “AML Review – Volume One

  1. JohnCounsel on said:

    If there’s one outstanding message I’ve learned in regard to miracles of any kind in life — including those I wrote about in respect of my family’s history in the book — it is this: we need to learn to expect them.

    I guess this is really about learning to live by faith. It’s a gradual process, but once we reach a certain stage of experience (or a point of critical mass, perhaps?) it seems to become an intrinsic part of living. That was certainly the case for me. I know of others who, once they became aware of this, experienced similar occurrences.

    I’m sure we all experience these things in different ways, similar to gaining a testimony. And I’m just as sure that having someone on the other side, moving things forward, is crucial. But I also know the frustration and disappointments of not having someone “over there”. All it seemed to take, in our case, was for my mother to urge my father, on his death bed, to “get things happening when you get there!”

    Perhaps it will be someone you know?

    Perhaps it could be you?

    Best wishes for your success.

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