Volunteer Work Guided By the Spirit
by Lyndie Jackson
“I love genealogical work because it provides a unique experience of continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost and from the other side of the veil,” commented Kristy Thieme.
After volunteering for the Wilford Woodruff Papers for a little over a year, Kristy was offered a position as a Research Assistant. In this role, she researches and shares information on the many people Wilford mentioned in his journals while he was serving a mission in England.
While in her undergraduate program at BYU–Idaho, Kristy found out about the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project through a shared social media post and decided to test her skills. The opportunity turned out to be a unique and clarifying experience for her. She said, “It was my first few months as a volunteer that helped me determine what direction I wanted to go as I continued my educational pursuits. It inspired me to focus on Archival Studies and the preservation and digitization of records.”
One thing that has impressed Kristy about the Wilford Woodruff Papers is the recently acquired partnership with FamilySearch. She noted that the Papers can help connect people to their past and create family ties, saying, “There is so much power in these connections and how they influence the next generation of ancestors and the stories they will leave behind.”
In fact, Kristy has seen these connections in her own family through the Papers. “I have had multiple opportunities to research my own ancestors. . . . I was able to find documents that provided vital information that was previously only supported by family stories. My research guided me to reach out and connect with extended family I didn't know I had. Finding the records enabled me to connect with my immediate and extended family as we celebrated the documents that provided proof of previous assumptions.”
In several instances, Kristy has felt the guidance of the Spirit as she researches for the Wilford Woodruff Papers. She has often felt herself being directed to a specific collection or repository to find important records. This spiritual guidance has strengthened her testimony of the divinity of genealogy and temple work. “These experiences remind me of the importance of family history work and that there are so many who are waiting for their descendants to find them. They also remind me that God's children are not forgotten but are remembered and deeply loved.”
Speaking of volunteering for the Wilford Woodruff Papers, Kristy said, “I think people would be surprised by what talents they could share and are needed! Volunteering is flexible and does not need to be time consuming.”
There are many volunteers who work tirelessly to contribute their individual talents and skills to the great work the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project is doing. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the Project, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.