It's a little known secret that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is passionate about geneology work. We believe that we must seek out our kindred dead in order to perform sacred ordinances for them; ordinances such as baptism. We also feel that it is important to know our place in our family chain, and to learn about those who have gone before us. We can learn from their lives, and we can pass on their virtuous heritage to our descendants.
Many people have caught the "geneology bug". We in the church refer to it as the "Spirit of Elijah". Malachi 4:5,6 says,
"5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Many people are feeling their hearts turning towards their forefathers in fulfillment of this scripture. The Jews today still set a chair at their passover feast in expectation of Elijah's return.
Elijah held the higher, "Melchizedek Priesthood" which contains the sealing power to bind families as an eternal unit. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Elijah appeared with Moses to bestow these keys up on Peter, James, and John. As mentioned, Elijah held the keys of the sealing power, while Moses held the keys of the gathering of Israel. In latter days, Moses and Elijah both returned to visit the Prophet Joseph Smith and restore these same Priesthood keys to the Earth. Today in sacred temples, families are sealed together as eternal units to carry out the mission of Elijah. In addition, missionaries are sent throughout the world to gather in dispersed Israel to carry on the mission of Moses to gather Israel.
If you are interested in doing your own geneology, there are several tips that can help you get started. First of all, start by writing down the information that you already know. Start with yourself, and go back as many generations as you can. Next talk to your family members and ask questions about your deceased relatives.
Years ago, my husband and I visited Puerto Rico to research his family genenology. Through our interviews with distant family members, we were able to piece together enough information so that his sister was later able to find records to confirm the information we had gathered. I testify that as you work to find your kindred dead, angels will help you and assist you to find the information.
After you have gathered as much information as possible, you can begin to search public records to find more details. You might try using our church geneology website to help you. Click here to visit our family search website. In addition, you may want to visit a local geneology library at one of our Stake centers in your city. You can find a meetinghouse near you by clicking this link.
As you start to search your geneology, you will find a feeling of closeness to your ancestors, and you will feel you have gotten to know them better. You will feel that your heart has turned toward them. You will better understand the mission of Elijah the prophet.