Teen discovers joy in family history and temple work

by Teresa Tebbs Dewey

Jacob Poxon

Jacob Poxon’s experience with family history work started a few years ago when he was fifteen working on his Duke of Edinburgh award. Some of the award requirements include participating in a physical activity, a skill-learning activity, and a volunteering activity at least once a week for three months. 

Jacob wanted his skill-learning activity to be one that he could use to bless others, and his mother suggested family history.
“Genealogical research was perfect because I could learn to do something vital for others who have gone before, and I could use it later in life,” Jacob said. 
Jacob was able to do his research at the Family History Centre in his Wylde Green Ward meetinghouse in the Lichfield England Stake.

“I aimed to spend two hours searching for my ancestors each Saturday, and after learning how to do the research, it blessed my life greatly. I felt the pull of family history only getting stronger as I invested time in uncovering more about my ancestors’ lives,” he explained. 

He got help along the way. Sister Keri Rubery, the Centre director, helped him link his FamilySearch account to records of his deceased ancestors. Brother David and Sister Celia Hayes helped him learn how to use other genealogy websites to research his ancestry.

“It was surprisingly easy to learn how to use the multiple websites; most of my learning was in developing the skills to build on my family tree accurately using reliable sources,” Jacob said.

He especially likes to use the findmypast.co.uk website because it makes the actual scanned records very easy to see. Also, a website called freebmd.org.uk (for registered births, marriages and deaths), often provided names which can’t be found elsewhere.

“I love familysearch.org (the Church’s genealogy website).  Because it is so well integrated with the temple, it makes it easy to find out which ancestors need to have their ordinances done,” Jacob said.  “For me, temple work was probably the biggest motivation for doing family history.  By showing me the status of their ordinances, familysearch.org always reminded me why I was working to find my ancestors.”

“One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was being able to witness proxy baptisms of people whose names I had found during those Saturday mornings spent in the Family History Centre.  I have found through personal experience that genealogy is something special that connects us to our family roots in the temple,” said Jacob.

Elder Jacob Poxon is currently serving as a missionary in the Australia Perth Mission.  “As a missionary, I now advocate it as a great way to spend time, and I know that it is a special work to be involved with,” he said.  “And yes! I definitely see myself doing family history work again after my mission.  It’s the same work as missionary work anyway, except the people my companion and I focus on right now are still alive!”
Discovering one’s ancestors can be rewarding at any age.

“To youth getting started with family history, I would say learn to love your dead,” Jacob said.  “They were real people and for the most part they lived and died without much comfort or rest.  Their blood is your blood, and it can be really exciting to learn about them, because in a way you learn about yourself in the process.”


Donny Osmond is to speak at RootsTech London. RootsTech, the world’s largest genealogy conference, is coming to London and is pleased to announce Donny Osmond as a featured speaker. The 2019 conference will be held at ExCeL London from 24th to 26th of October. Donny will address RootsTech attendees on Saturday, October 26 at 11 am.

Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond

“I’m already looking forward to RootsTech London. The United Kingdom is like a second home to me. Much of my own ancestry is British, so I feel a particular affinity to this country and its people. I’ve enjoyed performing in the UK throughout my career. Family and family stories are also very important to me. I’m excited to speak about my heritage at this exciting event.”

Donny Osmond

Register today at https://www.rootstech.org/london.