Ramble through a cemetery turns up unknown relatives

Sharon Barrus

Sharon Barrus of West Jordan, Utah, told this story.

A few years ago, Sharon’s sister Lisa Ratzlaff and their mother, a convert to the LDS Church who has ancestors in Pennsylvania, went to that state to do research on the name Reed. They were in a cemetery and had found graves they wanted and taken pictures of them. So they were just walking around the cemetery.

When they got back to the car, their mother told Lisa, “I just had the strangest experience as we were walking down that one area. It was like people were saying to me, ‘Write my name down! Don’t forget me!’”

“Lisa then told our mother she had had exactly the same experience,” Sharon says. “They compared the names they had written down, and they were exactly the same. But they weren't Reed names, and they weren't any names they recognized. So they shrugged their shoulders and let it go. But they remembered the names because they were a little different than the usual.

“About 10 years later, all three of us went back to Pennsylvania and we found that these people indeed were related to us. We found out that Phoebe Reed and her husband William Farver were on that row, and some of their children, and we didn't even know it. Aquilla Reed is our common ancestor. We submitted their names for temple work.

“My husband came home one day after doing one of these endowments and said, ‘Who is this person?’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because when I doing the endowment, I could barely speak.’ The Spirit was so strong—he just had this overwhelming feeling that this person was so ready and wanted this work done for him. My husband was doing the work for Phoebe’s husband, William Farver, who was a gunsmith during his life.

“They’re real, you know—they're real people. They are just living somewhere else. They definitely care about having this work done for them.”

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