The gravestones in a small, abandoned cemetery near Elmira, Ontario, had been broken and scattered, and were no longer on the graves they represented.
A few surviving relatives collected the stones and placed them in two concrete troughs to hold them erect. In the process, some of the information had been lost as the stones were set into the concrete, and some of the names were nearly obliterated through years of weathering.Few in the area could remember much about the cemetery, as Lorne Umbach of the Kitchener (Ontario) 1st Ward found when he tried to gather information on those interred there.
As soon as the snow had melted from the cemetery, Umbach, searching for lost kin, spent every moment he could holding paper against the stones and rubbing crayons over them to extract readable information. it was slow, exhausting work, and he was often cold and wet because of the season of the year.
Success was slow in coming, but, he recounted, each time he wanted to quit, he was beset with an overpowering feeling of sadness when leaving the area, as though someone was pleading with him to continue.
Several times, the influence was so strong, it moved him to tears
One calm Sunday morning, he arose early to prepare for a meeting with his bishop, but felt impressed instead to travel 20 miles to the cemetery to gather more information before the meeting.
He related, "As I was walking into the cemetery with my paper and crayons, I was startled to find that the sun had just cleared a small hill east of the grounds and was shining accross the headstones at such an angle as to cause all the letters on the stones to stand out in sharp plainess, even on those that were badly worn.
Writing frantically, he copied information from nearly all the stones in a few minutes. what had been consuming his time for weeks and months was instantly made plain to his view.
As a result, Umbach has been able to prepare for temple ordinances the records of most of the persons buried in the cemetery. He has also been able to add hundreds more names to his own family records.