Gary Gillen

Gary Edward Gillen Obituary

Lovingly written by Gary’s beloved companion, Barbara Gillen

He was born to his parents, Edward Francis Gillen and Berneda Elene Cox, in Powell, Wyoming. He spent his childhood years with his older sister, Bobbi (Barbara) and his younger brother (Larry) Dean Gillen.

They were quite a team.

Gary Gillen

They had lost their father early on when Gary was 13, so he knew to be the protector for his mother and siblings.
He attended school through college in Powell and graduated Powell High School in 1960. After some college he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1963 in Denver, Colorado. He was transferred to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, where he first met his sweetheart, Barbara Malone, on a blind date. They instantly fell in love and shortly thereafter he proposed to her and they were married.

Gary Gillen

Gary then went to Aircraft Loadmaster School at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. After graduating from loadmaster school he returned to Suisun, California where they lived.

Sometime later Gary and Barbara were blessed with twin daughters, Cynthia and Sandra. A few years later their son, Greg, arrived and four years later a third daughter, Terri, was born.

Gary Gillen

In 1964, with his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Gary and his family moved to Modesto, where he immediately began working as a construction laborer. He worked for several different companies, digging and paving roads nearly 32 years, many of those years as a foreman.

During the growing up years of his children, the protector in him decided to introduce his family to his church, as he invited the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to come into our home and teach us the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He then was able to baptize his family in 1977 and one year later Gary and Barbara were sealed as a couple and family for time and all eternity in the Oakland Temple.

When finally retiring from the construction union he began driving a charter bus for Storer Transportation, where he worked for 18 years. Then it was time for him to retire due to the beginning problems with dementia.

While he was still capable of driving, Gary and Barbara began to do some traveling to visit all the children and their families more often – 16 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and another on the way.

In 2016 he became unable to drive at all. So most of the time was spent at home visiting with family and friends and having game nights with lots of laughter and singing songs accompanied by Pops on his harmonica.

Gary Gillen

He was a wonderfully devoted provider and an amazingly loving husband and father to us all.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, his aunts and uncles, and many cousins. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughter Cindy (Bud), daughter Sandy (Jeff), son Greg (Stacy) and Terri (Adam), and by his brother, Dean Gillen.

We are grateful to Community Hospice in Hughson, California for their many kindnesses. In lieu of flowers it was Gary’s desire that donations be made to the missionary fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Funeral services for Pops will be on Wednesday, September 21st, at 10am Pacific time in Modesto, California. Those wishing to join in online via Zoom please use the following link:

https://carta.zoom.us/j/95839029153?pwd=UEppOFJOTDVoREl4S2lQeVVhc3VrQT09

Kyle Jay Westover Sr.

Kyle J. Westover Sr. – Obituary

Kyle J. Westover, Sr. Kyle J. Westover Sr., beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away on Tuesday, November 16, after a long and valiant battle with cancer.

Kyle J. Westover Sr. Dad was born on March 20, 1942, to Leon and Maurine Westover in Richfield, Utah.

Dad’s early years were spent in southern Utah and included time living in the Japanese Internment Camp in Topaz, where his parents served as teachers.

Dad had a legendary memory and was able to recall and tell stories from very early in his life. There are many stories from his childhood years in southern Utah that would rival any Mark Twain novel.

From dropping large rocks down the outhouse while ladies were walking by and enjoying the large splash, to inviting the entire town of Enterprise to his birthday party without telling his Mom, to hopping on his bike with a friend to head out to Zion, Dad showed early he was a big thinker who took large strides.

His numerous adventures with friends and cousins were so legendary that when we took Dad to the 50th reunion of the school in Enterprise those in the class remembered him clearly and added even more stories and adventures to his epic childhood.

Following the war and during the post-war migration of returning troops, Dad and his family moved to Concord, California.

It was there that Dad continued his early education. He attended Mount Diablo High School and participated in choir and journalism. He was a card-carrying member of the Pat Boone Fan Club where he proudly served as their president (and only member). He was a rabid consumer of 1950’s pop culture, enjoying the entertainment of radio and television.

Kyle and Cathi WestoverThese interests impacted the rest of his life and led to him meeting the love of his life, Cathi Begich Caldwell, our mother.

Their senior year included a trip to Lake Tahoe for the 1960 Winter Olympics where they served as student journalists for the Oakland Tribune. Mom and Dad married in August of 1960 and immediately started their life together in Provo, Utah, and attended BYU.

It was during this first year together that Dad began a number of traditions that continued for the rest of his life, and are now carried on by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

One special tradition was making sure Christmas was a joyous celebration full of music, decorations, and presents. Mom was an only child and not used to such big celebrations. Dad was intent on showing her the way because he wanted that special season of the year to be meaningful for the family they together hoped to raise.

Mom and Dad’s first Christmas together, despite being struggling college students and having very meager funds, caused Dad to go all out to make it unforgettable.

With a budget of about $15—which was a huge sum of money to them in those days—he plotted a Christmas surprise. On Christmas Eve night he went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. He somehow managed to shimmy through the skinny bathroom window and snuck out of the apartment on a snowy night to retrieve the treasures from Santa’s sleigh.

He thought Mom was sound asleep, but she was not. Later she gleefully retold the story many times of this first Christmas watching Dad running back and forth barefoot in the snow to bring in the treasures.

Her amateur Santa had to toss the wrapped presents one by one through the skinny window, over the stream of still running water, and then get himself back inside without getting caught.

When he emerged from the bathroom, breathing heavily yet shivering from being out in the cold in just a tee-shirt, she had to stifle her giggles into the pillow while still pretending to be asleep.

It was a glorious sight that Christmas morning—the little trimmed tree with many presents to open was festive and foreshadowed the epic Christmases to come in the years ahead.

Of course, being limited in funds as poor college students, Dad had to make it look abundant by wrapping each shoe in its own box. He wrapped bobby pins, boxed food, and other much-needed items individually.

As Mom retold this story year after year you could see how special this was for her. That humble and festive little first Christmas together became the ideal we all tried to replicate in the years ahead.

Dad’s first job in Provo seemed at first to be a dream come true. He had heard that a small local radio station needed a night-time weekend anchor. He applied and got a phone call from the owner of the station, who hired him based upon Dad’s resonant voice alone over the phone.

Dad showed up to work, was shown where all the records were, and told when to air and read the commercials. He was left alone to choose the music, spin the discs, and provide the dialogue. Everything went well for his first weekend until he read a sponsor’s script and mispronounced the name of a local business. The owner was listening and became enraged. Just as he was hired over the phone, he was fired over the phone.

Dad was never paid for that exhaustive weekend of DJ work and never could forget the quick lessons that resulted. He vowed that if he ever owned an enterprise or led a work team, he would never treat people the way he was treated. It was a defining experience that influenced many years of later leadership.

As their life together continued, Dad and Mom moved back to California. They moved in with Mom’s parents for a brief time before buying their first home in Concord, California with the help of both families.

1287 Crawford Street

This was the first family home on Crawford Street in Concord, California.

Our family continued to grow with Debbie, Jeff, and David arriving during these years in Concord.

It was a simple time when Dad completed his education, graduating from the University of California in Berkeley during the height of the Vietnam War and the turbulent protests of the time, getting a degree as a political science major.

During these years he worked at US Steel and as a custodian at his old high school. At night and on weekends Dad would take us with Mom to work with him at the school, beginning another tradition that would endure.

His janitorial training was carefully taught to us as we helped him complete his “night job” and those same skills have now been passed down to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as we all now know the proper way to use a dustpan and vacuum.

Upon graduating in 1968 Dad started his career with Longs Drug Stores at a store located not far from the little family home on Crawford Street.

As what seemed to have become his way, Dad was nearly fired almost as quickly as he was hired.

He rapidly took to the business and felt he could help improve things by submitting a paper suggesting changes in the operation of the store.

The move did not exactly endear him to store management and he was only rescued by a company executive who liked what Dad had to say. Another valuable lesson in communication and management was learned when given a chance to discuss his ideas.

Kyle J. Westover - College Graduate

A college graduate at age 26, with four children.

Little did he know that this was the start of a 30-year career that saw him go from store clerk to Vice President of Training and Communication, and being known as the “voice of Longs Drugs.”

Dad relied on all his past educational experience to build a training department and a culture that valued customers and employees.

His influence, mentoring, and drive to make sure every employee knew the “Long’s Way” led to life-long friendships and training methods that are now thought of as pioneering and forward-thinking.

Many of Dad’s former staff continued to reach out for mentoring and advice until the day he passed away.

During this time at Longs, both Mom and Dad worked together to develop the training department and culture within the organization. This collaboration between Mom and Dad that started in high school continued on in many different kinds of projects during their 55 years together.

Mom and Dad

While yet in high school, Mom and Dad combined their creative talents, producing exceptional work.

Their work together was magic. Their combined creative processes often produced impactful results for Longs, for church assignments, and for family goals. Watching them work together was a huge influence in the lives of their children and grandchildren. They were partners, soul mates, teammates, and influencers who, when they got together to drive a project or deliver on a deadline, made unbeatable contributions. They could complete each other’s sentences, build on each other’s ideas, and lift each other to ever higher standards. Dad and Mom were made for each other in so many ways that leaned on their creative talents.

In 1969 Dad was promoted and we moved to Lodi, California, where Kris arrived to the family and gave Dad and Mom the second daughter they both greatly wanted.

While in Lodi, Dad’s career took off. Given greater responsibility and the backdrop of a great little market in Lodi to grow a new customer base, Dad and Mom put their combined energies into building a team and a business for Longs in Lodi that was unique and productive. They designed their own ads, made their own promotions, reached out to the local community, and built team relationships by holding training meetings in our own home on weekend nights.

Dad

Dad, behind the photo counter in the Lodi store.

Even as children we were involved in these events. Many a Saturday night we would head to the store with sleeping bags and pillows to bed down in the buyer’s office while Mom and Dad set the sales floor for the new Sunday ad. It was during these years that Jay learned to set an end cap, Debbie learned to make signs and Jeff learned to fill and face product. We all prepped food and cleaned up the house for meetings that always left a buzz of energy in the home from work associates equally committed to the store that Dad helped to lead.

Dad was simply ahead of his time in these efforts, and he got noticed. He was again promoted and asked to expand his efforts to other stores. As he developed his department and worked from home commuting at times from Lodi to Longs’ general office in Walnut Creek, Mom continued to be his devoted partner. The dynamic of their creative talents and ambitious energy led to new outlets.

Dad was called to serve in leadership roles at church. All of the endeavors and project work that Dad and Mom were engaged in were embedded in our family culture. We worked and played together as a family, learning all along the way.

Family Home Evenings at Lodi Lake, dinner at Pizza Garden, sandwiches at Howard’s Deli, surprise trips to Disneyland, and amazing family vacations to Fish Lake, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Dead Horse Point were the stuff of these years. Each trip was filled with stories of Dad’s childhood, his family, and heritage.

Kyle J. Westover

Trolling for trout on Fish Lake while on vacation with Dad. Note the fishing license pinned to the shirt – always legal and always fashionable.

He would use big words from his extensive vocabulary, and when we would ask what it meant he would say ‘look it up” so, yes, a dictionary and thesaurus became part of necessary items to take on vacation.

Dad’s love for music, especially classical music and movie soundtracks, was also part of our travel routine. He would test us on who wrote what piece of music or what movie soundtrack the music came from.

This tradition became so special that it continued as he and Mom would take their grandchildren on trips.

Their grandchildren continued this tradition and now the great-grandchildren can now name the composer and movie soundtrack for hundreds of pieces.

If you are starting to see a commonality to Dad’s priorities and values, it’s because there is.

Dad can best be summed up in these words: family, faith, tradition, teaching, and history.

From monthly father/child discussions on goals and striving to live up to your potential, to Father’s blessings, gospel discussions, the importance of not only knowing history but understanding what it represents, to identifying significant emotional events and their role in your eternal journey, Dad made sure we knew who we were, where we came from, and the deep heritage we inherited from our ancestors and our obligation to honor the past, to embrace the principles of liberty, hard work, fidelity and life with eternity in mind—and to hold tight to the iron rod of gospel truth.

Kyle J. Westover

Family Christmas around 1973 – Mom must be taking the picture.

Dad’s job eventually led the family back to Concord in 1978, where a home was lovingly built by Uncle Darrell and his sons. It formed a small neighborhood of Westover homes.

As always, the loving influence of family, aunts, uncles, and cousins helped shape the lives of myself and my siblings.

As some of us left home, went on to missions, college, and marriage Dad continued the traditions of teaching, the father/child discussions, Father’s blessings, temple attendance, and church service. All along he documented the history of our growing family, now added upon through grandchildren, via photo, video, and the written word.

His influence became generational and his teaching even more wide-ranging. As new personalities entered the family picture, Dad adjusted to his new roles with them with great pleasure.

Granddad

Dad cherished his role as Granddad.

Grandchildren marveled at his pancake-making skills and his ability to tackle any shape or character they asked him for.

He never missed an opportunity to teach. Photography, history, music, journalism, and humor were all taught and passed down to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

To accurately measure the impact Dad has had in his 79 years on earth look to the many tributes and memories being shared on social media and the family website at westoverfamilyhistory.org.

Mom passed away in 2015 and Dad spent the last years of his life focused on family history, capturing and documenting his family. One of Dad’s many pursuits in creating a lasting family record was the work he did to learn the history of Mom’s family that she never got a chance to learn growing up. He came to love the great clan of Begich family members.

Dad was consistent, steadfast, and diligent in teaching us to remember who we are and where we came from. As an educator, Dad was a master storyteller who emphasized that the heart of family history lies in the legends, the experiences, and the contributions of the past.

Sadly, shortly after Mom’s passing Dad was diagnosed with a rare, slow-moving cancer.

As he had done during Mom’s health trials, he learned everything he could about the disease.

He kept tedious records. He worked over his notes and came prepared to discuss how treatment was going. His doctors, much like his work associates during his career, became friends and productive contributors. Dad was adored by his caregivers. They loved his attitude and his spirit of cooperation and goodwill. He remained fiercely loyal to all those working so hard on his behalf, and they responded by “going the extra mile” for him in his fight.

Last year Dad fought off Covid while in his second year of chemo. Jeff moved in and became Dad’s primary caretaker. Together they worked for 14 months to extend his life and continue the many projects he was continually pursuing.

Debbie and Matthew, Kris and Michaela, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad’s siblings, and cousins all made time to help in his care to provide both temporal and spiritual support and to help Dad fight the good fight. Dad cherished all these family relationships, working more in his final days to connect and spread love.

Kyle J. Westover

Dad and Jeff exploring pioneer ancestor cemeteries in 2021, a trip taken for family history purposes with Will and LaRee Harvey

He was humbled by their enduring love for him and generous efforts on his behalf. The family forces he tried so hard during our growing up years to teach to us all came home to bear for him during his illness and final days. He was smothered in love and caring from family coast to coast.

Dad’s final day on earth was similar to thousands of days during his life.

He was looking forward—planning for the upcoming holidays, future family history trips with family, and in taking joy in his posterity. He made sure those who contacted him on Monday, knew that they were loved, that he was proud of them and, as always, to remember who we are and those who came before us.

Dad always taught that “history is not what it is, it’s what it represents.”

Family, faith, tradition, teaching, and heritage. These are what he was all about.

Thanks, Dad, for a life well led and an eternity of memories, lessons, and mentoring.

We could not have had a better father, a more loving mentor, or a more trusted friend. We love you.

Westover Family Tree

Our Family Tree

I believe now will be a good time to introduce a significant new feature to our website, one that has been requested and worked on for some time. It is our family tree.

What many folks want is a visual. They want to be able to understand how they connect to all the individuals we talk about.

That’s actually a pretty tall order and one I have frankly tried to avoid for a long time. It’s so very complex.

Most places you go online – such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org – are really limited in showing information of the living. We get why that is. The issues of privacy are complex.

Complicating that is the fact that logging in and keeping a password for any site is just plain problematic for some folks (well, everyone).

What has been requested is a way to have a tree that shows the living and yet doesn’t require a login or password.

Well, we think we have found a way. You can access our family tree at this link.

Please understand that this is a work in progress and it will always be a work in progress. We’re also attempting to include all of our many branches. This is not just Westovers alone.

We are also very focused on grafting in the ancient branches of the family – or at least those we can find within the past 500 years.

That means we are in active pursuit of the Canadian Westover lines, the Michigan Westovers, the Missouri Westovers, etc. – and we want ALL of them on the tree.

We cannot do this alone.

We know there are a lot of skill levels to this and we’re wanting to connect and work with them all.

If you have resources, especially pertaining to connected branches of the family so far not represented on the tree, we’d love to converse and, if possible, get a GEDCOM file of your current data for those missing lines.

The tree presently has about 33,000 names and more than 13,000 family groups. And that’s nothing. There are literally MILLIONS of us.

The living are very important. The Edwin Westover Family Project is a good example. We just want to know how many living descendants Edwin has and who they are. We feel that if we can find them and list them we can better share his story (and thus OUR story).

But it doesn’t end with Edwin. In fact, we want as many living family members as we can find.

We do not need any private information for the living. We just want a photo and a name. That’s it.

Here is an example of a living individual – one of my daughters, Allie. This shows only basic information about her family and her connection to me and thus to all our ancestors.

In fact, our tree is set up to showcase both the ancestors and descendants of any individual. Explore the menus a little bit, you’ll see.

And that is our primary goal: to make it possible to see how we are all connected – whether you’re on a computer, a phone or a tablet.

As with any family tree, this project will take time and effort. It will get better with time and the effort it takes to fill it out.

While we really want GEDCOM files of all our many branches we desire more to get the stories, photos and journals of as many as possible. We will work with anyone to help get that information on the site. It may take a while to achieve it but we will achieve it.

My big fear in putting this feature out there is that we will get bombarded with comments like “It’s wrong! You have my information wrong! Stuff is missing! You mangled my grandma! Where’s Uncle LeRoy? This sucks!”

We KNOW some of this wrong. We know it is incomplete. Please just help us get it right.

To begin, please see this page about what the tree is or is not (if the info above doesn’t explain it enough for you).

Then see our use and contribution policy. It contains a form where you can submit information you may want added to the tree.

Then point your folks here and have them see how they connect. Invite them to contribute or suggest. The more involved we all get the better the tree becomes.

Finally, I want to once again caution you about the many resources found online related to family history.

Any resource online – Family Search, Ancestry, even Westover Family History – is only temporary. EVER. Don’t think it will be there forever and never think it is absolute. Someone’s always messing with it.

You need to be keeping your own separate records.

You need to gather and preserve information for your own children and grandchildren. You need to have a standalone organized library of information that you have put together featuring your own research blood, sweat and tears.

That’s a lot of work and so daunting. Some have issues using computers. Others just do not see the time required to do these things. Some just rely on others to get it done. Most just don’t know where or how to begin.

We get that. We have all been there.

Whatever your excuse, please get over it.

The only way is to just jump into the pool and to take the sting of the cold water. Every journey begins with a step. There are lots around to help you and that’s all we’re offering.

It can be done if that is your true desire.

Please also recognize there are a lot of ways to bring your own talents and knowledge to the table besides working the project of researching and recording names and dates.

You can help catalog pictures, for example. We need all kinds of help organizing and identifying people in pictures.

You can write histories – really, just memories of your experiences with family members and those things you can remember. It doesn’t have to be a thesis or school paper. Just talk.

You don’t even have to write them anymore. Even recording them into your phone and passing along that recording would do.

You can be a family history reviewer – where you read and submit corrections to written histories of the past.

You can simply video yourself telling stories to your grandchildren.

There are lots of ways of doing family history and they all can now come back to the tree. Everyone putting in stuff makes the tree stronger.

I’m excited for this feature and I’m terrified by it. I hope you will consider becoming a part of it.

Family Tree

Hearts, Souls and Bones

I was recently released from my calling as a Temple and Family History Consultant. I’m sad to lose the responsibility because I have enjoyed it a great deal. I’ve served in that capacity for more than six years and even though it is the type of calling that gets people running the other way from you in the halls of the church it’s been a lot of fun to see people grow when they begin their family history.

The journey of discovery is a fun one, I don’t care who you are. It’s great to see someone go from the frustrated beginnings of not knowing where to start or being overwhelmed by the technology to actually learning their family and where they come from.

It does take a while to capture the vision. But once you’re hooked, you never quite get over the excitement of what family history really is.

I’m an opinionated person. Nobody really appreciates that much and in the calling of being a family history consultant there is a lot of needed restraint when it comes to opinions.

But now that I’ve been relieved of that responsibility I’m going to give you some opinions based upon my experience in trying to help others.

~ The Main Thing ~

The first rule of Family History is one that I use for a lot of things: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

What’s the main thing?

You.

You are the main thing. And for many people that’s an absurd idea. After all, family history is the exploration of others, right?

But that exploration is really about you, at the end of the day. Like many things, losing yourself in family history is just another method of finding yourself. Most are really surprised by that after they have invested the time and work of family history.

But why is it such a singular thing when it involves thousands of people, at least in theory?

Because your family history is unique. You might share heritage with a sibling or a parent but your total family history is entirely unique.

When you marry you adopt a whole new line of family thanks to your spouse – one that will belong to your children. But theirs will one day be unique from yours.

In that respect, the family history of one is not the same of another. It’s like fingerprints. Nobody has the same family history.

That singular definition and pursuit of the same individualizes family history. And there are times when you will swear the lessons you continue to learn from it are individual as well.

You are the main thing. Nobody can do it for you. You have to tackle it alone. You have to make the effort alone. You have to leave it for others to discover somehow.

That makes it all a very daunting thing. It is work. It is time consuming. It can be expensive. It can feel like an insurmountable task, which it really is, and it will never be truly done.

So why do it?

We do it because of the heart, the souls and the bones. That’s the stuff that family history is made of. It’s a very personal thing.

~ The Bones ~

The bones of family history are found in cemeteries and in pedigree charts. They are the dry data of names, birth dates, places and relatives. They are what everyone thinks of when they think of family history.

Oh sure, family history is much more than the bones. But it’s where nearly all of us begin.

It’s necessary to get down to the details at this level. Frankly, it’s not my favorite thing, to be honest. Standing over a grave and getting a name and a date really does not tell me much beyond the fact that existence is proven.

But the bones are heartless and soulless. Meaningless, otherwise. If that’s family history to you it has to be the blandest of meals.

Real family history has more flavor. That’s the stuff of the heart.

~ The Heart ~

The heart of family history is found in the stories, the personalities, and the experiences of the person attached to the bones. It’s the fun stuff of family history.

Unfortunately, it is the hardest part to find, especially the further back you go.

YOU have the potential of being a heartless entity of family history if you don’t do something about the record you leave behind. That too is family history.

I have a grandfather who modestly wrote a one-page autobiography. He was a modest individual. But really if I had my way I’d like to lecture him about how it wasn’t enough. I’ve learned a lot more about him through the stories and experiences of others with him. It sure would be nice to get to know him through his own words and recollections.

That is worthy of your thought and consideration.

The heart, you see, is what we really all get the thrills from when it comes to family history. The heart is found in tragedies, tears and triumphs. It is born through the unchangeable stuff of gender, identity, roles and even in what some call “social constructs”.

You see, it doesn’t matter if they were famous. It does not matter even what they did for a living. Where they went, the houses they lived in and they stuff they did on a daily basis pales in importance to what they thought, how they treated others, and what their opinions were when they faced the stuff of life we all face.

That’s the heart.

That is what makes us appreciate the folks of the past that we have never met. And that is where the real work and the real payoff is in family history.

The heart is what leads us to the real blessing of the work: the soul.

~ The Soul ~

The soul is the spiritual side of family history. If you are a person of faith this is a concept that builds faith. If you are not a person of faith it is something you discover and may have trouble explaining.

Years ago, I met a man at Roots Tech who was not a person of faith. He was elderly and suffering from physical challenges that made attending Roots Tech problematic and that saw his decades-long hobby of family history one that pushed him in ever-more difficult directions. He openly asked my why he kept doing it, given all that he was dealing with.

I tried my best to explain that his ancestors, though long dead, were still alive. I tried to explain they were pushing him as much as he was pushing himself. I tried to explain that the work he had engaged in for years was one they appreciated and that someday when he crossed over to the other side he would recognize them and they him.

I did my best to explain the doctrine of “we without them cannot be made perfect and they without us cannot be made perfect”.

With tears in his eyes and a nodding head he agreed. He could not articulate what he was feeling. He did say that was the most profound and loving doctrine he had ever heard. But it helped to explain the power of the work and the influence upon his life for good.

Though unschooled in things spiritual he was not inexperienced. His family history work had exposed him to the souls of those he researched. He discovered that he loved them. How do you define love? Would you call it a thing of the soul?

The soul of the work of family history comes from connecting with those ancestors you research. Many reject that thought as crazy. Yet so many who might shy away from spiritual or “churchy” things cannot deny this is what happens to them the deeper they wade into the waters of family history. Love is the ultimate and unavoidable outcome.

If family history teaches things of the soul what does it teach us about the Divine within us?

What more can personalize the work than that?

When you discover the soul of others you discover the soul of yourself. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. YOU – the main thing – are great in the sight of God. Your ancestors teach you this about yourself.

~ Bringing the Bones and the Heart to Discover the Soul ~

As I wrote when I first began this little website many years ago my goal was to leave my children and grandchildren a better record than I received.

I’m still working on that. I realize that not everything I share here applies to everyone. My family history is not exactly the same as anyone else’s, as noted above.

But the effort of sharing what I can find is put out there to help others help themselves. I’ve discovered a lot about myself in my efforts here to just share. I would not have discovered what has been so important to me if others had not done their best to share what they had.

So we will continue to evolve. I’ve shared in other parts of the website many times that we don’t really do the family tree thing here.

I have tried to steer as many people as I can to the efforts of the one-world family tree located at FamilySearch.

That’s still true.

I believe FamilySearch is one of the the most important projects in the world.

We all contribute to it. In my 20 years or so of working with FamilySearch it is amazing to see what it has become.

Yes, it’s frustrating that anyone can edit, add to and take away from the tree. That will never change.

But that capability is also it’s magic. The record only gets stronger and stronger as we move along.

So we don’t want to discourage its use. We will continue to link to it relentlessly and work to get you logged in there and using it.

But I also know there are many who are still so challenged with even the technology of a password that they will never go to FamilySearch and pay the price for learning how to use it.

I know there are people who need the visual of a tree or pedigree chart to understand the connections between people and generations.

So we’re soon to post up a family tree – free and available to all – right here on WFH. No login required either. Just click and it will be there.

Naturally, it will not be as complete as a family tree that any competent individual can build on their own. It certainly cannot have all the dynamics of what can be found on FamilySearch.

But it will be enough for those who cannot get to that level.

To it will be tied pictures, documents, histories, links, maps and the stuff of the heart and soul.

Oh, and the bones.