My Journey in Family History Work

by Kwan Yew Mun

I was very blessed to have a grandaunt whom I had developed a trusting relationship with. She was my eldest living relative and my only link to my relatives in China. While I expressed my enthusiasm in appreciating my roots and furthering my family’s genealogy work over the years, she was reluctant to share any contact information of our distant relatives despite my numerous requests. I do not know the reason for her reluctance, but thankfully, shortly before she passed away, her heart was softened and she finally agreed to share their contact information. I believe it was because she felt my sincerity after I had made my desire known to her repeatedly over the years.

With the information she provided, I knew I needed to make a trip to China in order to obtain more family records of my ancestors and to appreciate my roots. I was hesitant at first, unsure and not knowing what kind of reception I would receive. Still, I decided to make the trip, and traveled to Samsui (三水), China with my brother-in-law, John Lee as my support. It was a wonderful experience as I soon found that my concerns were unnecessary. I met my elderly uncle for the first time and was warmly welcomed by him and his household. Through them, I was able to obtain precious information about many living and deceased relatives of mine.

The most memorable part of the visit was when my uncle brought me to the village where the clan used to live. He showed me our ancestral home, and then ushered me towards a forested area behind the village. As my uncle spoke with a strong local accent, I could not fully understand him and was nervous about what to expect about the place he was bringing me to. As we walked deeper into the forest, I was honestly beginning to fear for my life! After a short trek, my uncle unexpectedly stopped and squatted down. He began to clear the vegetation and dirt on the ground. There, he uncovered two tombstones, with the names of my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother engraven on them! I had not known of their names or my relationship with them till then. My uncle later showed me the tombs of other relatives as well, all located within the same forest in the village. I was overcome with emotions having finally found a branch of my family tree.

Ancestor tombs
Tombs of my great-great-grandfather and his wife

It was a wonderful trip I am very grateful for. I was able to meet many humble and hospitable relatives that I had not known before my grandaunt granted my request for their contact information. I am also grateful that I had subsequent opportunities to visit my ancestral village in China and have my children acquainted with our ancestry and grow more connected to our roots.

Extended family China
With my two sons, uncle and his two grandsons at the ancestral home

Since then, I have tried to search for more genealogical records without much success. My prayers have been answered before through my grandaunt, and I know they will be in the future as I continue in this journey of seeking out my ancestors. As I continue praying to find my ancestors, I realise that I can also pray for my ancestors to find me.

Participating in this great work has given me a glimpse of the all-encompassing love of our Savior, where even ones who had passed on and were buried in an obscure forest will not be forgotten. Truly, the Savior’s Atonement is infinite.