"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
December 10, 2014
"But Wait... There's More!": Unexpected Blessings of Family History
by Kathryn Grant

The blessings of doing family history have been taught in the Church since the Restoration: closeness to family, miracles in finding ancestors, and joy in temple service. These blessings are true and real.

But as I’ve worked on my own family history and helped others with theirs, I’ve discovered that family history often brings other less recognized but equally powerful blessings. These blessings also are true and real.

One blessing is having more time. You’ll still have 24 hours in a day, but you’ll be more productive with the time you have, and you’ll see ongoing miracles. Errands or tasks will take less time than they should have. You’ll go to solve a problem and find that the Lord has already taken care of it for you. People will offer assistance when you weren’t expecting it.

One of the reasons people often give for not doing family history is lack of time. But the delightful irony is that doing family history is the solution to finding the time you need for it.

Another blessing of doing family history is that it helps you develop skills of mindfulness that will bless you in every area of your life. As you explore family history records, verify names and relationships, and build your family tree, your reasoning and problem-solving skills will grow.

You’ll become a better planner. You’ll be able to see connections between things more clearly. You’ll learn to be more cautious about making assumptions and to recognize unproven assertions.

These increased mental abilities will improve your effectiveness in Church callings, employment, family situations, and more.

There’s another often unrecognized but supremely valuable blessing of doing family history: it’s one of the best possible tutorials in learning how to recognize and follow the Spirit. As you search out your ancestors, you’ll often have promptings to look for a certain type of record — say, a birth certificate or will — or you may have a prompting to attend a family history class, or to verify whether some information about an ancestor is actually true.

As you follow these promptings and see them fulfilled, you’ll become more familiar with how the Spirit speaks to you. Growing in your ability to discern the Spirit’s voice will bring blessings not only in family history, but in every other aspect of life.

If you’re already doing family history, you may have enjoyed these blessings whether they’ve been clearly connected to your family history work or not. And if you have wanted to get started with family history but haven’t yet, now is a great time to move forward. You’ll be amazed at the blessings that follow, both obvious and less so.

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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