When I started this blog, I simply wanted to leave a legacy of stories for my family, with photos and any reminiscences neatly wrapped up in one package. What I did not expect is something more closely resembling a spiritual journey-one that has helped me to uncover parts of myself, and my own deep connections to the families and stories I wanted to preserve.
I’ve been a fan of “Who Do You Think You Are?” for a long time, and I think every single person who’s been on that show by the end of it finds some deep connection to the people and stories they uncover. Everyone takes a journey when they seek out their ancestors and I don’t think anyone expects what they find.
When you have just a name or a date or a photograph, you have something flat and two dimensional, but when you find details, stories, loves and heartaches, blessings and tragedies, these people become real-and all the more real because they are your relatives.
I think it’s natural that we see ourselves in them, and now we know that through “epigenetics” and DNA they really are within us-we carry their passions, their talents, and sometimes their bad traits too. It’s rather amazing when it unfolds.
This journey into finding my ancestors is vast-it gets exponentially bigger with each generation. The story fans out across the globe and through DNA, even my mostly European self touches almost every continent on the planet.
This has been a really fascinating journey for me-and one that’s become by obsessive and beloved hobby. I am learning more and more about DNA, genetics, genealogy, ancestors, history, migration patterns, and how family stories change over time.
Now I understand why many cultures have “ancestor worship”-better described as “reverence for the ancestors”…It’s a way of connecting on a very deep level with who we are-as a single person, as a family, as a culture, tribe, race, and human species.
And it is terribly evident in much of American culture today, that the lack of connection we modern folks have, is not good.
We need those connections. We need to remember these people and their stories and we need to share these stories with others. What we lose if we don’t tell the story is our soul. If we don’t share the memories, and share the bad things and the good, if we don’t tell the stories and tales about all of our own relatives and their adventures and sorrows, we lose our soul.
So this has become something much bigger for me than just family remembrances to share with future generations. It has become a path home-one I hope I can share with others. A path that I hope I can write down in some sort of cohesive outline and share with others in hopes that others can walk this same pattern-although it will be their own personal path, and reconnect with themselves.
I truly believe that in some way, our ancestors are still living, still with us, still able to guide us, and we owe them gratitude.
Something good is going to come out of this, I think. I’m just on a different path than I thought I was when I started! Stay tuned.