My maternal grandmother lived with us when I was growing up. Her life story was fascinating to me then, and I often asked her to tell me what little she knew about her parents and her early years. Sometimes, if I caught her in the right mood, I could coax out of her the most vivid details from her past. She was born in Puerto Rico with a twin sister. Her mother died in childbirth, but there was a much older sister who took care of them while their father worked. Eventually, he and his three daughters took a ship from Puerto Rico to Maui where he planned to work the pineapple plantations. Apparently there was quite a lot of work there and masses of people migrated from Puerto Rico to Maui for several years in the early 1900s. There are passenger records that I've found that confirm his passage around 1905, but there are no records of my grandmother or her sisters. In 1910, there is a census record showing that both my grandmother and her twin sister were residents in a Salvatoin Army orphange in Maui. My grandmother said that after they moved to Maui, her older sister died, and their father was forced to take the twin girls to a local orphanage because he had no way to care for them during the long working season. Both girls lived there until they were in their late teens.
Since starting this new family history hobby (which sometimes feels more like a compulsion for me) I've had such a hard time finding any information about my grandmother's parents. I have tried on many occasions to remember their names because I know she mentioned them, but each time they've eluded me. Finally last month, when I found the Puerto Rico to Maui ship's record and passenger list, I found a listing for a "C Bruno," and I knew that was my grandmother's father. A little more digging led to a marriage record between C Bruno and a woman named "Tamashia" in the late 1890s. That name didn't sound familiar and it didn't feel quite right when I added it to Family Search, but it was the closest thing I had to a name for her, so I printed it out and took it to the temple last week when we did baptisms as a family.
And then today, while I was sitting in the temple, thinking about my mom and my grandmother and all of the other people whose work we've been so diligently focused on lately, I heard in my head the tiniest little whisper, "Thomasia." And with it came all the familiarity that I needed to confirm that that was my great grandmother's name.
I have a testimony of the miracles of family history and the blessings that come when we are actively engaged in the eternal welfare of those who came before us. I know that through the Holy Ghost, anything and everything can be brought to our remembrance. We have a loving Heavenly Father who knows the intentions of our hearts and will give us the things we need to most help us prepare for His work. Family history is His work.
I am so grateful to have been in the temple today and to have received that one tiny whisper along with a few others that I needed. Heavenly Father is absolutely in the details of our lives.