Jesus Christ gave His life as a vicarious atonement. He overcame death for all mankind, which we could not do for ourselves. We can, however, perform vicarious ordinances and truly become saviors on Mount Zion for our own families in order that we, with them, might be exalted as well as saved.
Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Roots and Branches", General Conference, April 2014
In Malachi 4:6, Jehovah (Christ) prophecies that our hearts need to turn towards our ancestors lest "I come and smite the earth with a curse".
So, I take this to mean that as I do temple work for my ancestors, not only will they be spared from being smitten, or, rather, saved, I will be saved too.
They are depending on us!
As I read this talk today, I received a distinct impression that I need to learn how to do family history work and then go out and do it for my family. I can no longer do many things, but doing work for my own ancestors who have long since passed over to the other side, is definitely something I CAN do.
Over the years, I have used the excuse of "well, there is really not much work left to do because of being a descendent of Wilford Woodruff. It's all been done". So, I didn't put priority to doing that.
There is so much work left to be done though. There are so, so many branches to our family tree, that still need that support and "saving".
All I can picture, is an ancestor of mine standing mere feet from me, although hidden from my view because of the veil, and knocking some sense into me to get me moving. It may be a bit comical to think about being slapped to snap out of my funk, but, I promise, that it's a matter of ultimate seriousness and priority for them.