Janice Kapp Perry: ‘How Family History Became My Powerful New Passion’

Janice Kapp Perry family history
Janice Kapp Perry's grandparents. Image via ldsmag.com.

This article was originally written by Janice Kapp Perry for Meridian Magazine. The following is an excerpt.

During the last two decades of her life, during her 21 years of widowhood, my mother completely devoted herself to family history, taking the bumpy bus from Orem, Utah, up to the Church’s Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City once a week to search through old films from Holland, Scotland and England to glean information about her own ancestors and my dad’s. Through this laborious method I figure she saved over 40,000 of my dad’s Dutch ancestors and many of her own from the British Isles.

Her enthusiasm for the work was palpable and I listened as she shared her joy over every new ancestor she discovered. I heard the names of people in our direct line that she was discovering weekly, and could not help but feel her passion for the work, but I was busy raising kids and then beginning my songwriting career and I just never felt the urge to become personally involved. In the back of my mind was a phrase from my patriarchal blessing which said I would experience a strong desire to be involved in genealogy and family history work, but I conveniently avoided focusing on that phrase for decades.

When Mother passed away in 1991, my sister Ann (Nettie) and I had just a few days to make decisions about the disposition of everything in her apartment. She had scaled down twice so this was doable for us. Her worldly possessions were simple and few, and it was obvious to us what really mattered to her—filing cabinets and a banquet table filled with family history records and scrapbooks. To expedite our work I brought all of these materials to my home and stored them in a few large drawers until we could decide later what would become of them.

Read Perry’s full article at LDSmag.com.

Kylie is a writer at LDS.net and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.