Search for ancestors leads to living relatives all over the country
“My wife has been readily involved in family history,” says Kenneth Stewart of Walnut, California. “She kept kind of bugging me to get started. On my dad's side, people have been in the church for generations, all the way back to the Mormon Battalion. So pretty much all the work had been done, and lots of other people were working on those lines. But my mom was a convert, and nothing had been done.
“I discovered that my great-aunt had done a lot of the research for my great-grandfather and his siblings, but not their spouses and nobody else. So I started filling in the gaps. It was fascinating. My great-grandfather, my mom's mom’s dad, was kind of a character, a philanderer, so the family kind of split up.
“I would email people on Ancestry.com as I discovered more relatives. One lady was my mom's cousin. It was so fun to meet relatives all over the country. She actually lives up near Fresno, and we had a little family reunion there where I got to know her, and through her some other cousins. I found other relatives in Alabama and made contact with them. So that's been fun, getting to know relatives I never knew I had.
“My wife joined the LDS Church when she was in her late teens, and she got the genealogy bug a while ago. She is assistant director of our family history library. Her dad's mother died young and left her husband with all those kids. He parceled the kids out to relatives, but they all kind of pulled back together again later.
“My wife started feeling that she needed to find her grandmother, Maggie Katie McCorkle. There was a lot of opposition from the family—she was the only member of the LDS Church in her family, and they were suspicious of her motives. But she did the work for her grandmother, and as each of her uncles (her dad's brothers) passed away, she had the temple work done for them. I was able to participate in the ordinances for one of her uncles. As we did the sealing of him to his parents (Maggie Katie and her husband), there was such a powerful feeling there. You just have the feeling that they are there.”