“I knew I had to find my ancestors and I started doing family history long before I joined the LDS Church,” says Rose March of Green River, Wyoming. “It was after I married my husband, who was a member of the Church. We lived in Costa Mesa, California, and the ward started sending me visiting teachers. They got me started on genealogy back in 1972. After I moved to Idaho, I came down and attend the eighth, ninth, and tenth BYU Conferences on Family History and Genealogy.”
When Rose got to the point where she was ready to “jump the pond” and go to Poland to find more information, she started using the FamilySearch Card Catalog for microfilm.
“I had gotten a copy of my grandmother's christening certificate from 1890,” she says. “Her father died in 1893, when she was three. I got the church record of the death of my grandfather in Chicago and found his information. The priest that wrote it not only put in his name and age, but also had interviewed his brother-in-law—so it had his parents, place of birth, and the fact that he fell four flights of stairs and died. Then I went back to the card catalog and typed in my grandfather's name, and they had the record.
“I called for the microfilm, and I found him, his birth record, the grandfather I thought I would never find, in Poland. It was a year earlier than I had been told. The Nazis had microfilmed all the records! It just amazed me that it was even microfilmed. I screamed, there in that little library!”
Rose’s great-grandfather Frank was born in 1852. His mother Marianna had two children illegitimately. She and her husband Valentine had 11 children in all. In that record as I researched it, I found that of the 11 children, only three lived to adulthood. Cholera swept through the village the month my great-grandfather was born. That same month, Marianna lost a little boy (Thomas, age 2) on the fourth, and her husband Valentine and a little girl, Joanna, 4, both on the 15th. Then on the 30th of the month she gave birth to my great-grandfather Frank.
“To me, reading that, that's a wonderful love story. He loved her so much that he wanted to protect her and the baby. He took care of the sick children, and he also got sick and died. I still don't know how she made it through and didn't get the cholera.”
Rose says that experiences like that from her family history give her a good perspective on life, and not complaining about the difficulties of life today.
“Of all the families that I've researched, that family was the one that had the hardest time, losing the most kids,” she said.