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Family history moments: Now I know why

Being born and raised in Montana built within my soul a devotion to the Big Sky Country, still unshakable at 70-plus years of age.

In 1971, circumstances necessitated moving to Utah, leaving me in a quandary as to why Utah, of all places.

As the only member of the Church on either side of my family, I felt the prompting to research and compile a family history.

My paternal ancestors joined the Church in 1857 in Stenum, Holuse, Denmark. They subsequently emigrated in 1888 and settled in Utah. My father was born in Provo, and his siblings were born in Leamington, when his father worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. I also knew my great-grandfather was probably buried in Provo in 1948. A picture of him and his home showed a number, but the house was moved to build a street overpass over some railroad tracks. I not only found his grave and the story of the house, but a man in his 70s who lived in the neighborhood and knew him during the Second World War, when the troop trains came through. This man, then a boy, told me a lot about my Grandpa Anders and what kind of a man he was.

I also have a copy of a letter he wrote to an aunt in 1945 in his broken English. That page-and-a-half letter is a gold mine of history of him in itself.

Further research brought forth three cousins, two second cousins and numerous others yet to be contacted. My travels about Provo have taken me past the one cousin's home dozens of times, though I never knew she was there.

When photographing grave stones, I discovered many of my ancestors are buried in a 30-by-30-foot plot in the Provo cemetery, including my great-great-grandmother Johanna Marie Nielsen.

Why am I in Utah? The Lord has carefully led me to what was necessary for the compiling of this history for my family. Montana is still my home, but how grateful I am to be in Utah! — Richard Andersen, Lehi 1st Ward, Lehi Utah South Stake