Note: This article was originally written in 2008. Be certain to read end note.

I used to write regularly on the topic of family history. However, when I got sick, I let my family history slide. It was one of the things I was no longer able to do. But anyone who has read my mysteries knows how very much I love being involved in genealogy. The miracles come, and the veil grows very, very thin. It’s a tremendous experience to feel the Spirit of Elijah and to be a savior on Mount Zion for your ancestors.

Recently, I had another miracle that just turned up out of the blue, giving me a nudge that it was time to begin again. Those who have read Deliverance from Depression, know that I had electro-convulsive therapy. It is basically a procedure of repeatedly shocking your brain until you go into convulsions. I had to go through this for six weeks every other day. It was a terrible experience and it fried my brain so that I have lost years of memories. One of the things I completely lost was the fact that I had hired a Russian couple who live on the Volga to do my grandfather’s genealogy.

That was eight years ago, and this week I received the fruits of their labors. To my astonishment, they sent an enormous handwritten chart, suitable for framing, starting with my many times great grandfather who had emigrated to Russia from Germany. I had never even known where he came from in 1760 when he left home, taking up Catherine the Great’s offer of fertile farmland. A German born princess, she had married the Czar. She wanted to help her people and so she offered farmland for free and promised freedom of religion.

I knew all this, and even had a map of the colony, Doenhof, where my ancestors settled. But my grandfather never knew he’d come from a foreign country. He was told he was born in Denver. It was after his death that his 100 year old stepmother told me the truth. I was discouraged, because at that time the Iron Curtain was firmly in place. I just told myself that my grandfather’s ancestry was going to have to wait until the millennium.

Then, sometime around the turn of the century, this Russian man got in touch with me by e-mail and asked if he could do a descendancy for me. Knowing it might be a hoax, I still felt I had to try to explore this avenue, so I sent him a down payment. (This is all according to my husband. I have no memory of it).

The chart is an absolutely miraculous. The posterity of my many times great grandfather is so great that it will take me years to enter it into PAF and do the temple work. I am thrilled, and know that these ancestors must have wanted to be found. My grandfather died in 1972, so I think that it is a definite possibility that he has accepted the gospel and has been teaching his ancestors.

I also know that the Henkels originated from Darmstadt, Germany, and so will be able to begin research in that country when I am ready.

I testify that there is real power in the Spirit of Elijah. Once you turn your hand to the work, it will bless your life to the extent that you will have angels on your shoulders, guiding you and blessing you and your family.

Endnote: The job of submitting all those names to FamilySearch turned out to be beyond me. Miraculously (again), my eldest son married Jessi Judd, who had been on a mission to Russia and was fascinated by the story of Doenhof and the chart I had received. She was between jobs, so she spent her time entering all those thousands of names into FamilySearch. She began correspondence with a man who was very knowledgeable about my great grandmother’s line-the Lohrengels. From him she obtained thousands more names. Shortly thereafter he had a stroke. I know my Russian-German ancestors are thrilled that Jessi is now sealed into the Henkel line through her marriage to my son.


G.G. Vandagriff is the author of sixteen books, all available on Amazon or through her website. Her most recent book Rescuing Rosalind is available on Amazon.