At that time, I didn't use a computer for much of anything. We had one in the house that my children knew how to use. But, my thoughts were that it was a glorified typewriter.
One of the keynote speakers that year was Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the LDS Church.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell
I have always enjoyed his talks and his writings, and have missed them since his death several years ago. At this particularly conference, he asked the question, "How many of you, when people find out you are tracing your family history, want to know how far back you have gone?"
Of course, nearly every hand shot up, with a ripple of laughter through the crowd.
He then gave some very wise counsel. He said that instead of worrying about how far back we can go, perhaps we should clean up what we already have.
Truer words could not have been spoken.
In the twenty-one years since he issued that challenge, I have concentrated on the correctness of my own genealogy records, beginning with my own self. I have found the following:
- Additional marriages
- Corrected places of births, deaths, and marriages.
- Corrected dates of the above, including more than just the year.
- Military records that became so numerous I had to put them into a spreadsheet. The number of military ancestors is now 186.
- Stories from extended family members and newspapers.
- Babies that were unknown to our family. As of this writing, I have now found 79 babies, the oldest being four years old.
- Temple work that needed to be completed.
I had more cleaning up to do than I ever thought. My parents were thorough, but there is more accessibility with today's technology.
Plus, perhaps they are helping me out a bit.
So, I needed to put a bit more effort into what I thought had been a pretty good genealogy. However, I now realize it was only the beginning.
Thank you, Elder Maxwell! I'll keep at it.