Genealogists deal with death routinely, usually with an impersonal entry “d.” and a date. But sometimes it is personal, like when I fought back tears while reading microfilm of German church burial records of children (an epidemic), some families losing more than one child. You’ve had similar experiences, I’m sure. I want to acknowledge our deceased relatives — the ones we knew and the ones we wish we had known.

Remember your ancestors and collaterals who died too young, or too ill to survive without medical technology, or too overworked by feudal landlords, or simply from old age. They were more than names, places, dates, and gravestones. Their deaths remind us to value life.

Non-Christians are asked to be tolerant as I offer a prayer….

Lord, we thank You for families and for the intelligence to study our ancestors and derive pleasure from that. We ask you to bless all our relatives who have died before us. Help us to be good people that we might join our family in Heaven. Amen

Psalm 23: 1-6, King James Version:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still wasters, restores my life, leads me in right paths for the sake of the Lord’s name. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Now combining religion and patriotism, here are the words to”God Bless America” by Irving Berlin:
God Bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Through the night, with a light, from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the ocean, white with foam;
God bless America; my home sweet home.
God bless America; my home sweet home.