A Family History Field Trip

by Marisa Sharpe
As part of my recent beginnings in learning how to do family history, I decided to organize family history field trips for my children. The idea is to gather stories and photos and take a little road trip to cemeteries. The trips are organized by geographic location and some take three hours, some will take the entire day, and one will take a couple of days.

On Memorial Day, we embarked on our first family history field trip. On the itinerary were three cemeteries in two counties. To help keep it interesting, we took along blank copy paper and peeled crayons so the children could do rubbings of the gravestones. They loved this! They found and did crayon rubbings of their names, someone with their same birthday, designs or engravings which they thought were cool or pretty, and names and dates of our deceased ancestors.

At the first cemetery, my son noticed a headstone with a golfer on it. I explained that people put on their gravestone things which are important to them or which they loved a lot. And because it is written in stone, you know if the person wanted it on there, it was very important to them. Obviously, this man loved golf.

We went on our way to the next cemetery. When we found our ancestors' grave marker, I was overcome with the spirit of Elijah and felt a love and gratitude for these people whom I hadn't even known about until six months ago. Then we noticed that above their names and dates was engraved, "The Book of Mormon is true."

I said, "Look at this! Remember the golfer? Well, this is what was most important to this couple. This is what they wanted people to know about them even after they died! 'The Book of Mormon is true.' How amazing is that that they keep bearing testimony even 160 years after they died!" It was the most wonderful teaching experience I could not even have planned myself!

I am so excited to do more family history field trips and have more learning experiences prepared by the Lord just for my family. I know as we study our family trees and learn stories of our ancestors, it will be valuable for our children to see examples of people who were married in the temple, people who served missions, people who sacrificed for the gospel, people who displayed traits we want our children and ourselves to exhibit.

Organize one for your family! I know it will bless your family like it has blessed mine.

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