Forgiveness: My Testimony

I have struggled with this concept since I was 9 years old. How do you forgive someone who has wronged you when they won’t acknowledge their wrong-doing by, at the very least, apologizing? It’s even more difficult when it’s a family member. When I was 19, a stranger assaulted me, was apprehended, judged in a court of law, and served his time. Never apologized. How can I forgive him? Is it possible to forgive those who haven’t repented?

I am grateful for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for helping me gain the testimony that it is possible to forgive those who have not apologized. There is no need for me to judge these people; Heavenly Father will handle that. In the Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-10, the Lord said, “Ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”

I am thankful to finally have gained the strength to release the anger and anxiety related to these events. I firmly believe I could not have found the courage to do so without the guidance of Heavenly Father’s word and the blessing of the Holy Ghost.

I’m looking forward to recapturing some of that 9-year-old enthusiasm that was taken from me and living in the light of Christ.

Me (on the right) and my sister at Kings Island (bonus: Creepy botanical Fred Flintstone photo bombing!)

What Drew Me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…

It’s time I put this down in writing.

First of all, we need to go back five years when I started this blog…this is what I wrote:

Since you’re probably dying to know:  Independent and agnostic. <–That is historical context for my descendants in 100 years.

Per the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

agnostic: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable

My entire adult life has been defined as above. I attended different services at different churches at different times. What I found difficult with attending those services is being preached to without context. Sure, who doesn’t know John 3:16, but what does that mean to me? One could say I could’ve devoted a little time to figuring that out…this is true, I could have. Maybe that means God wanted me to experience more, learn more, before making the ultimate decision to come to Him. Maybe this has been my path all along. I trust that God is guiding me now and forever!

You can be reunited with your family after death, your temporal family and your spiritual family. That’s it. That’s what I needed to know. I had always believed that once you die, you cease to exist. But then I wondered, your physical body ceases to exist but does your soul? My friend Sister F* explained it so well…that energy has to go somewhere! It is a very comforting feeling to know that someday you’ll be with loved ones you knew on Earth, loved ones who came before and after you, and your Heavenly Parents. Since I was taught that, I have felt nothing but light to the depths of my soul. I literally smile when I think about the Church or reading scriptures or thanking God for leading the way.

I could say my journey to God began before I was even born. He knew me then. He knew I would want to find my way, learn, and come to believe His word. I could say my journey involved divine intervention on 1 August 2015 when I first met my friend Sister F*. Heavenly Father crossed her path with mine! I could say my journey to this very moment began on 6 May 2019 when Sister F* shared with me what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was all about. I could say my journey back to God began on 20 July 2019 when I was baptized and confirmed on 21 July 2019 as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Emerging from the baptismal font, I felt joyful, ecstatic, newly born! Yes, it took three dunks but maybe I needed those three to wash away years of sin! My friend, Sister F*, was there to meet me coming out of the water…what a wonderful day!

A member of this Church, Sister B*, spoke about the Holy Ghost following the baptism. She said I know God is with you at this moment. She had no idea how true those words were. She had mentioned that with my job at the Museum I have to retain so much knowledge and share it with others, and I’ve always been happy to do so. Earlier that day, however, I had gone to work with a litany of to-do items that I really wanted to get done in the three hours I would be working. A volunteer I hadn’t seen in a few months came in unexpectedly. She has always been an avid supporter of the Museum and its activities. We wound up spending my entire workday brainstorming ideas to drum up interest in our community. I didn’t get anything on my list done. After I left the Museum to run errands, I was trying to figure out the best time to get back to the Museum to catch up. I’m not going to lie, it adds a bit of stress to my life, especially leaving things undone. On the other hand, I can’t turn a deaf ear to someone who is so enthusiastic about the Museum’s mission. So, yes, God was with me in that moment in Sister B*’s words; hearing her say that God has gifted me with this love of local and family history so that I may share it with others was God’s way of reassuring me that the items on my to-do list will get done and He had even sent someone who is genuinely excited to plan and help carry out activities at the Museum!

The next day at Church, I was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost through the most beautiful blessing bestowed by Brother C*. I was surrounded by my new family who shared in praying with those wondrous words, and my soul beamed brightly. Thus begins my true journey…and I have never been so sure of anything in my life!

There is sunshine in my soul today,

More glorious and bright

Than glows in any earthly sky,

For Jesus is my light!

FIVE YEARS…and counting!

June 24 came and went without much fanfare…indeed, it was the 5th anniversary of LifeCitation! This is not an excuse…more like an explanation…I was out of state attending the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, otherwise known lovingly as GRIP. How to describe GRIP? I’ve heard “summer camp for genealogists,” though no one has time to sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya. There were crafts…crafting citations, proof arguments, case studies. People wrote a lot about their families, not to their families. People learned a lot…about technology, finding the right tool to break down those brick walls, and about the very substance that makes us uniquely us…DNA. To learn more about this summer’s sessions and next summer’s sessions, go here.

My particular experience at GRIP…this was my first time attending. I chose “Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation” led by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA. Dr. Jones is a leading expert in the genealogical field, with many years of educating, researching, writing, and editing. Documentation is the foundation of solid genealogical writing…I knew that this was the first course I wanted to take. For five short days, I focused on learning how to craft a well-written citation. And, to paraphrase Dr. Jones, we are always learning.

GRIP instructors being introduced; Dr. Jones is at the far left in the red shirt.

During GRIP, I had an assignment due in my ProGen39 course…a proof argument/case study. My assignment was using derivative records with secondary sources and one original record with a primary source to determine the place of birth of my 2nd-great-grandmother, Mary (Ammerman) Ford…was she born in Illinois or Indiana? At the time of her birth (1838), no official birth records were kept in either state, and there were no newspapers announcements that I could find. So, I used her death certificate, her children’s death certs, census records, and a War of 1812 widow’s pension record of her mother. I think I proved her place of birth, at least to the state level. As to the county level, it’s questionable. If anyone is interested in reading it, let me know and I’ll upload it here after it’s reviewed in class this week.

Regarding ProGen39, we have two assignments left to turn in…time has flown! I have learned so much from the group I’m in…talk about inspiring women! These ladies are fantastic. I had the pleasure of meeting one of my group members, Diana, at GRIP…hopefully next summer more of our group can attend a session in Pittsburgh together. That, too, would be fantastic!

Coincidentally, I was able to do some on-site research the day GRIP ended in Jefferson County, Ohio, in the city of Steubenville. The man I believe to be my 5th-great-grandfather, Israel Massey, died there in 1885 and is buried at the Union Cemetery. If you ever have a chance to visit this cemetery, please do! Online, I was able to find what section Massey was buried in and also used their map to find that section. He and several members of his family (son and grandchildren) are also buried in the same plot, but only what appeared to be three headstones remain.

This is one of the three headstones; all look like this. I believe these are three headstones for Massey’s grandchildren (children of Cyrus Massey).

Israel was born around 1792 in Maryland; his parents immigrated here from Ireland. His daughter, Mary Elizabeth (Massey) Devore, is my 4th-great-grandmother. She lived in southeastern Ohio until she and her family moved west to Louisa County, Iowa, in 1877. Whenever I get the opportunity to explore places my ancestors lived, I jump at the chance!

So…two major life changes to share with you. One, my former married surname is officially dropped. Secondly, I’ve decided to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after much consideration. A friend of mine mentioned in passing about a year or so ago that she belonged to the Mormon Church in our hometown. I didn’t even know there was one in our town…less than 5 minutes from my home! We began talking and then I studied what I could online. It was as if a light was shining inside me…this was what I had been looking for my entire adult life in other religions but had yet to find! Finally, a doctrine aligned with my beliefs and how I’d been living for many years. It’s hard to explain in words, but I felt like I’d come home, joy, welcomed, like I fit in. I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon, attending sacrament services, and meeting with the missionaries. My Baptism is planned for July 20. With all my heart and soul, this feels right for me.

As I’m finishing this post on Independence Day, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our Revolutionary War Patriots for sacrificing their lives and fortunes for what would become America and subsequently our freedoms.

I first really listened to this song in high school when we played it in marching band during the commencement ceremony. In recent years, however, I’ve studied the lyrics and history behind it. Hands down, my favorite patriotic tune:

Have a safe and joyous 4th of July, one and all!

Arrangements by my Mom.

And I Thought I’d Seen It All…

I’ve been doing research on the surname “Shultz.” I thought I had seen all possible versions of its spelling.


Found “Shoulch” on a census.

Today, I got this:

Wow. Just…wow. I also tested my Mom and Dad. No surprises with Mom. Dad’s showed up 3% Scandinavian. DNA testing is very fascinating. I wonder if I’ll ever find my Italian ancestor.

In MuzeNews, I am the proud grant-writer of my second successful grant! I also just had a lovely 132nd Annual Meeting of our historical society. You read that right…132 years. We are the oldest continually operating historical society in Indiana. Our Museum doors have been open 117 years. Needless to say, I am a very proud executive director!

In mid May I’ll be attending my DAR State Conference, and, in late June, I’ll be attending a genealogical research institute in an area of the U.S. where I will have the opportunity to do family research. I finished my research report for my ProGen39 course, and I’ve begun another one for some pro bono research I’m doing.

This year is turning out to be a ROCK STAR!!!

No, you’re in the middle of a Glee binge!

My apologies Interwebz….it’s been nearly 3 months since I’ve posted.

I’ve about finished a major research report for ProGen39, the 132nd annual meeting at the historical society is in a week, my first year as chapter regent of my DAR chapter is coming to a close, and it’s been 10 years since Glee premiered so I started at the beginning of the series. One ep after another…no commercials…just wonderful singing and teenage angst. It’s so weird watching it now where they just barely mention Facebook and Instagram is not even a thing.

***Shout-out to my special Glee friend (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE remember CO!!!)…been thinking of you…hope you’re doing okay!***

At this point, my life is so very full of joy at nearly every turn. My sons are growing into nice young gentlemen, my job literally could not be any better than what it is, and I get to do what I love every. single. day.

Speaking of Instagram, I’m trying it for the historical society…we’re henrycountymuseumin. Please try to contain your laughter.

Other than that, I’m anxious to check out the upcoming 2019-20 Erin Condren LifePlanners…the theme is “kaleidoscope.” I never really thought about it, but I like the word kaleidoscope and what it means, especially related to the intricacies of family history. Family history, or genealogy, is not static and it’s not just documents and photos…it’s fluid, it ebbs and wanes over time, it’s ever-changing.

How do you like my letterhead?

Something My Descendants Will Dread

I’m changing my name.

And that’s if I have any direct descendants.

Most women, after getting a divorce, keep their married name.  I’m bucking that tradition.  Not only that, but instead of using my first name, I’ll be using my middle name!  The first third of my life I went by a kid-like nickname, the second third of my life I’ve gone by my full first name, and for what is most likely the third third of my life I’m going off the rails!

Right now, I’m going through the legal process of changing it, so I’ll answer to just about anything!

In the very near future, just call me A. Kaye Ford.

Mother of a Senior

Today, my oldest son began his senior year of high school.  He’s come so far.  He has been in school since he was 3 years old, and he’ll be 19 next month.  Ben is autistic and is somewhat socially awkward.  Like I said, though, he’s come so far.  For the past 2 years, he has been out in the community working during school, at our Goodwill and the bowling alley.  This year will be much the same, but he’ll be starting at the local factory for folks with disabilities soon.  So, he will have work after he finishes school.  He will receive a certificate of completion, not a diploma, but that is of no concern to me (he’s been on the A/B honor roll more times than I can count).  He will have achieved a huge goal!  Though he will never drive, this year he will be studying the driver’s manual to get an idea of what a big responsibility driving actually is.  Today was so quiet with him at school; I missed him.  The past 2 months he’s had off school we spent quite a bit of time together.  So, my baby is a young man.  It’s bittersweet.


A young 3rd grade Ben and his Aunt Summer, photo credit, Amanda Clark

Ben senior year first day 2 Aug 2016 Ben heading off to his senior year, photo credit: Amanda Clark

New Position

The Association of Professional Genealogists ( includes chapters, one of which is the Indiana Chapter.  I have been a member of APG for 2 years and a member of ICHAP for the last year.  Elections were held recently for chapter officers, and I won the Vice-President position.  I am very excited about this…remember my Four Cornerstones post?  One cornerstone is professionalism in genealogy.  And that is exactly what APG and ICHAP promote.  I’m looking forward to taking a more active role in this great group and supporting professionalism as genealogists.  This is a very exciting opportunity!  If you’re in Indiana and a member of APG and would like to become involved, please let me know!  We hold meetings online through GoToMeeting and plan at least one face-to-face get-together a year.

genealogy, genealogists, professionalism

Life Planners~Part 2 and Prompt #157

I’ve talked about life planners before and thought I’d post an update.  I’m still using the Erin Condren products (no plug here, just like her stuff).  Except instead of an actual life planner, I “built” a more personalized notebook to use for 2016-17.

It’s an 8.5″ x 11″ notebook (so it’s a bit bigger) with a personalized cover, a calendar in the front, and then fun notebook pages.  I bought 3 personalized dividers (historical society, ECIGA, and Life/Citation) to divide the notebook pages.  All I need calendar-wise is a monthly view (not weekly and daily).  With the amount of social media I’m suddenly involved in, I needed a way to keep track of what to post and when to post it, content to post, etc.  The calendar pages were marked with the month and lines for days, but I had to put on the stickers for the corresponding days, which was fine. Makes it totally customizable to when you want to begin using it, whatever year!  The cost was equivalent to a Life Planner.

planner Peek at June!

Prompt #157: What I Would Tell My 9-Year-Old Self

Your maternal grandfather is a photographer…he’s made one room of his house a darkroom.  By the time you come along, he doesn’t use the room anymore, but it still has that darkroom smell.  Plus a lot of negatives.  Get in there and secure those negatives!  And any pictures you find around his house!  Also, check the bookshelves in the living room for an old Bible.  He hand-copied information from a Bible of his grandfather; where that Bible is now, who knows.  But you might salvage it if you just explore those shelves!  What you don’t realize is he was very interested in family history and actually had a lot of it there.  You just need to poke around a bit.  It’s nearly 36 years later and it’s untelling what happened to it all.

Preparing for a trip on June 8 to Fort Wayne to see Dr. John Philip Colletta speak! Excited about what I’ll learn.  He’ll be covering breaking through brick walls, passenger lists, and naturalization records.  I’ve been helping my DAR chapter registrar with some prospective members so the brick wall techniques will come in handy!  Since I’ve been a DAR member now for about 15 months I’ve been thinking about joining one of the national committees, probably lineage research, my forte!

Memorial Day

Today is the 151st day of 2016.  I’ve spent my Memorial Day reflecting on soldiers of different conflicts, reading about the Tomb of the Unknowns (I’ve seen the changing of the guard once), and organizing some of my genea files.

Prompt #151: The last book I read…The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  I found it interesting to read about Chicago during that time period (1892-93), plus Dr. H.H. Holmes and his madness.  The reason this story intrigued me so is that it gave me some insight into what life was like in Chicago at that time.  My 2nd-great-GF, Amos Ballard, had a son named Everett Guy, born 1872, who became a lawyer and moved to Chicago some time shortly after the World’s Fair.  He authored a book about Streeter in 1914 after interviewing the man extensively.  Also, in reading about the World’s Fair and the impact it had, I pondered how my ancestors living at that time considered this extravagance.  Did they wish to go?  Did they go?

Finally…I’m so excited to finally announce this…check out my Pinterest site!  It ties into my website,, with links to repositories in this area plus tips & tricks and fun stuff.  I hope you enjoy it!