BETA

Family history moments: Shared connections

Recently my husband, Dale, came upon several missionary cards belonging to his grandfather, Elder Albert Kirby, who served in the Indian Territory Mission St. John Kansas Conference from 1898 to 1900. The Articles of Faith appear on one side of each card and the missionary's photo, name and hometown on the other.

As we admired the cards, we thought that those missionaries' descendants would enjoy having them.

One card had belonged to Elder Reuben W. Fuller Sr. of Thatcher, Ariz. After locating him in newFamilysearch, I used the "Discussions" feature to invite his descendents to contact me if they wanted the card.

On May 19, 2011, I was delighted to receive an email from Elder Fuller's great-granddaughter, Debra Woods, in Mesa, Ariz., who had seen my posting. Elder Fuller and Elder Kirby were missionary companions and both kept journals. Journal quotes soon flew back and forth such as the following from Elder Kirby's journal: "Elder Reuben Fuller had just come into the conference. He was from Arizona ... Elder Fuller and I went and stayed with [an investigator]. We talked upon the gospel and upon Utah."

Debra emailed a group picture of the missionaries with Elders Fuller and Kirby in the back row.

After I sent the missionary card to her, she wrote, "The mail just came and Reuben W. Fuller's missionary calling card came. It is really cool, and I want to thank you and your husband again for taking the time to find an owner. I have finished copying his journal pages that are relevant to Albert Kirby."

Dale then mailed a copy of an Elder's Report page to Debra, which tallied the 31 miles walked, 54 gospel conversations engaged in and the three times they were refused "entertainment" [lodging] in the week preceding Christmas in 1889.

We are grateful for newFamilysearch's capability to bring people together to collaborate. This computer program connects not only relatives but also people whose ancestors shared experiences 113 years ago. Through this we gained an enriched understanding and admiration of ancestors' lives and sacrifices for the kingdom of God. —Anne M. Kirby, Turner Ward, Salem Oregon Stake