Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting in Touch with the Temple

My Grandson touching the granite walls of the Salt Lake Temple on his Uncle's wedding day.
Yesterday, my son was married to a wonderful, young lady in the Salt Lake Temple. Last Tuesday, we went with her to the Bountiful Temple where she took out her own endowments in preparation for the Temple sealing to my son. The Temple links generations through this life and beyond the grave.

While my new daughter-in-law went through the Temple on her own behalf, the rest of us were able to go through the same sacred ceremony on behalf of deceased individuals who did not have that chance when they lived on the earth. I had a few male family names from my research connected to our trip to England and Wales two years ago. I gave a name to my oldest son and my second son - the one who was married yesterday.

The names are of some people deceased several generations back sharing my surname in Clifford, Herefordshire, on the border with Wales and just down the River Wye from the town of Hay-on-Wye. This is where my direct paternal line takes us to the origins of our surname. I still don't have the direct link to my ancestral line with these names, but I have the right surname in the right geographical location and even the right profession of butcher shared by my known ancestors. I have a distinct family group from a will confirmed through contemporaneous church records. So, it meets the standards for temple work (far from the prohibited practice of randomly baptizing celebrities or Holocaust victims).

The churchyard at St. Mary's, Clifford, Herefordshire looking toward the Black Mountains of Wales.
St. Mary's, Clifford, Herefordshire
As I sat in the Temple Tuesday night, I had no visions but having been there, I could see from memory the beautiful, green churchyard at Clifford where I knew the mortal remains of these people were buried. The thought came to me based on my LDS beliefs of priesthood ordinance work on behalf of the dead, that they were stirring in recognition of my efforts and thoughts on their behalf. That is, our thoughts were turned towards each other along with our hearts.

The next morning I checked my email. I was surprised and excited to see a message in response to an inquiry I had posted about three years ago on a British genealogical website. The message was from a woman in England who is writing on a book on the Freemen of the City of Hereford in the 18th Century. One of the names she had was the same as that of my inquiry even if the year was off by a couple of generations. But I had already researched information on the name and had a copy of a will that seemed to match the name she had. I sent it to the woman and she responded back that she would get me a marriage record that she had seen for the same person. I got the information from her this morning.

From the 1718 will, I knew that John Vaughan, butcher of Clifford next to Hay, had a wife named Mary. I did not know her family name from before she was married. I do now. Unfortunately, there wasn't much more information. But Mary Berrington will be glad I can complete her name in And now I know the name to look for in the search for her parents.

That e-mail was no coincidence. I have an idea I may be meeting Mary Berrington, along with a few others, on that morning of the resurrection.

Meanwhile, Requiescat in pace.

Addendum May 13, 2012

Now that I check all my notes and information, it appears that this Mary Berrington is married to a John Vaughan, the son of John Vaughan of the 1718 will. I think I found a missing generation. It seems to fit as in the next generation there is a Barrington Hergest, son of a John Hergest and Susanna Vaughan. More work to do.

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