Knocking on One Last Door. (Digitally Speaking)

Row of Houses

You have all heard, or lived, stories of missionaries who wanted to go home for the night, but instead decided to knock on that “one last door” and found someone waiting for their gospel message. Last night I had one of those experiences in a digital sense.

Our stake has challenged every member to come up with a name to take to the temple between the last and next stake conference. So, for FHE last night, we figured we should all get that knocked out.

In order to prepare ourselves, we went to Costco. Because, well, hot dogs. (On a totally unrelated note: If you ever feel that you are a little weird, and that you don’t belong, spend some time looking in other people’s shopping carts at Costco. You will feel wildly normal.)

We got home and grabbed our computers and logged-on to Family Search. The days of grazing for green temples are long gone on our lines, and I hadn’t researched enough lately to create any new ones, so it took a little bit of time. Eventually we found someone and printed our cards. Mission accomplished!

(This is not meant as an endorsement for green temple grazing. It bugs me when someone harvests other people’s hard work, or grabs up stuff that isn’t ready to be grabbed up, but that is another issue entirely.)

After we did our due diligence, found a couple names and printed out the cards, I was left largely unsatisfied, so I took my laptop into my room and plopped down in my chair. I kinda watched TV and kinda paid attention to what was going on around me. Kinda. Mostly, I was bound and determined that I was going to strike some sort of genealogical Mother Lode that would bring green temples and blessings cascading over me and my dead ancestors. This quest began in earnest at about 8:00pm.

Just before midnight I had absolutely nothing to show for my labors except a tied kiester. (Maybe a little frustration and irritation at how messed up some of the records were.) But I was undeterred. My EC was getting ready for bed when I told myself, “Just give it 10 more minutes and you’ll find something.”

Four hours and diddly. Twenty minutes later, I decided to shut things down and go to bed.

But I didn’t. I clicked on a couple more screens and saw the name of George Washington Holdcroft. A name like that stands out. He just happens to be the brother of the mystery man that I wrote about here. (Yes, this is the one Elder Quentin Cook referenced in a talk.)

A couple clicks, a lo and behold, Uncle George pops up, and there he was hiding in plain sight in the 1860 US Census. And the 1850 US Census.

GW Holdcroft

Better yet, I turned to the next page and found…his wife and 6 kids.

wife and kids

The logjam was broken, and each one of those kids has spouses and kids to track down as well. Lots of cards, lots of ordinance and oodles of happy folks in the Spirit World.

Strange how things like this always happen. I spent four hours searching and found nothing, and it wasn’t until I had just pushed past my decision to quit that everything fell into place. I don’t know if it a testament to divine intervention, a reward for faith, or just plain old stubbornness, but I’ll take it.

Since it was late (around 12:30am), I bragged to my EC regarding my success, then decided to go to bed – leaving the actual data entry until another day.


No such luck. I woke up and laid in bed for half an hour being mentally browbeaten into getting up and finishing the data entry. Someone is impatient. I get it.

I got up, and now here I sit at 6:30am writing about my experience. Who says nothing good happens after midnight?


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  1. Dare I ask for a little explanation of the “green temple” thing? Not exactly sure what you are referring to here. I don’t think I’ve heard that expression before…

    1. When you are on Family Search and working to find ancestors that are ready to have ordinance work done, a little green temple appears next to their name. You can then reserve that name to take to the temple. Call your ward High Priest Group Leader and ask him who can come teach you how to do this stuff. It is awesome.

  2. Within the past month I have had long-sought breakthroughs in 2 different lines. And it comes from “just one more click”, just one more click”. It gets so obsessive it’s a wonder I ever get laundry done. Maybe that’s why we have so many labor-saving devices! We have more time to spend on family research!
    And thank you indexers and random donators of books and collections. I’m pretty sure my ancestors thank you too.

  3. AuntSue
    My mother has had a really bad heart for 20 years. She goes to bed by 6 pm to save her strength, but gets up about 4:30. Then she spends all morning on her computer doing family history work. Evidently, our kin are early risers. Congratulations on finding unknown loved ones.

  4. Is this a “joy cometh in the morning” experience? Just saying…

    BTW — I share your feelings about others coming in and harvesting the green temples on your direct line, before they are fully ready.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It is wonderful to hear of stories like these tied to our searching for our families.

  5. I haven’t made comments on your blog gems in a couple of years but I thought that I would respond here and express my love of your FH enthusiasm. Just remember that even though you might not hear from me, I’m still a loyal fan.

  6. Yes, it happens. As a ward Family History consultant, I encourage those that are searching to: 1) listen to and follow the “still small voice”, 1a) When the veil is parted, other family membors also want to use you as a portal, and 2) be aware of cousins, aunts and uncles that died in childhood, wars, never married or had children — they leave no descendants. In short, few actively hunt for them.
    Take those extra few minutes. You are literally saving those souls that cannot save themselves. It is the the purest unselfish service you can provide.

  7. A few weeks ago I got an email from Family Search that there was someone in an offshoot of my line who needed temple work done – a daughter named Paul. I saw this email on Sunday morning before church and it just didn’t feel right. So I stared looking at the records and the census record had been indexed incorrectly, it should have read Pearl. So I corrected the entry (all before I left for church at 9:30 am) and started looking for more verification, which I found, along with a husband and child…. now Family Search says we’re not related and what am I doing working on this line? All I know is Pearl is happy!

    1. FamSearch will now tell us when we’re too far afield? I hadn’t heard/seen that, but no doubt they’ll be getting in touch. Just where do they draw the lines w/ decendencies and in laws of in laws x3?

  8. I’m a convert to the church and I almost never have anyone else doing temple work on the crazy family lines I sometimes wander into, but I can attest to the wee hours of the morning treasures. I haven’t done any FH stuff for a while but I used to start it around 11:00 pm after saying good night to the long-distance boyfriend, thinking I would do some work for an hour or so. HAH! An hour…as if. 4-6 hours later I’d finally crawl into bed, elated at the missing children I’d found, and the two or three generations I had added. I can also relate to the sensation of urgency. I was working on one family (inlaws of inlaws x3) and got the impression that I needed to find the spouse and children of one of the sons. I worked on that family exclusively for a few days and then was not at all surprised to find that their temple ordinances had been reserved already. Someone was waiting for them to be found! It’s very rewarding work!

  9. Excellent discovery and follow-through. My husband would have shouted to the rooftops, “I found you!” After a sleepless night of ancestor hunting I hope your are blessed with some extra energy and adrenaline to get you through the day…of course there’s always those caffeinated sodas that also help.

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