connected to our ancestors

“The First Steps” by Georgios Jakobides
“The First Steps” by Georgios Jakobides

It’s one of nature’s ways that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us.
~ Igor Stravinsky
(Father Knows Best: Words That Celebrate the World’s Most Wonderful Dads)

When we know about our ancestors, when we sense them as living and as supporting us, then we feel connected to the genetic life-stream, and we draw strength and nourishment from this.
~ Philip Carr-Gomm
(The Druid Tradition)

24 thoughts on “connected to our ancestors”

    1. For me it was true with my maternal grandparents, but not true at all with my paternal grandfather. And I inexplicably feel a strong connection with some of my very distant ancestors…

  1. I can understand this so well. I know I often ask my passed Dad and Grandfather and Grandmother for guidance and help in my troubles, but I also feel a deep connection to whatever women came before me, had strength and fortitude to weather the tempests of life and brought me to this place. Lovely.

    1. Me, too, Meg. My paternal grandmother died before I was born so I never knew her, but when I went to Ellis Island and retraced her steps arriving in America from the Ukraine I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of awe at her bravery. I had to sit down and recompose myself. She had such a hard life. She sailed to America alone with her five month old son, to look for her husband, my harsh grandfather, who had come here the year before. Her parents made her come here to look for him because they no longer wanted to support her. By all accounts it was an abusive marriage but she had no option to escape from it. Her strength and fortitude astonish me…

      1. I always think that men sometimes try to make women feel small because really we are so strong. I want my ancestor women to be strong. And since most of them raised 10-17 children I am thinking really strong. Love your Ellis Island story so what happened next?

  2. I don’t know that I feel closer, but I do feel an affinity for the past generations, and a true curiosity as to what their lives were like, wonder what they would think of the current world and our family.
    We are on the same wave length, Barbara.

    1. We do seem to be on the same wave length, chlost… All my life I’ve had that insatiable curiosity about my ancestors, not so much as a collection names and dates, but the stories of their lives and how they moved along in history and found each other…

  3. Hi Barbara,
    I think it is a good thing if we can learn about our Ancestors, what they did, how they went about their daily lives, the struggles they faced. I learned a fair bit from my Grandmother about past generations

    1. I’m happy you had a chance to learn some of your family history from your grandmother, magsx2! My maternal grandmother was a great storyteller and she entertained me endlessly about the little things she knew about those who came before her. She really nurtured my curiosity! And I have a few tales to tell future generations about her! 🙂

  4. Great post. Love the photo too!
    I’d love to know more about my ancestors. Was my great grandmother a good cook? Did she bake? Wish I knew what happened to the letters or diaries from past generations.

    1. Thanks, Rosie! Have you ever tried exploring your family tree? It’s surprising what little tidbits an elderly person will blurt out now and then. And where little clues might lead… I keep a notebook in my purse to record whatever might come out!

      I love the painting, too. It reminds me of how much I used to enjoy watching my parents play with my children, their grandchildren. And all the wonderful moments I had with my own grandparents…

      1. Barbara I just went to your family history site and was most impressed by all the research you’ve done. Congratulations.

        As for my family tree, like you I was interested in finding out more since I was very small, but only started researching it about 20 years ago, by which time my grandmother had passed away and unfortunately I never thought of asking her to tell me about her childhood or the family. I can kick myself!

        1. Thank you, Rosie!

          I know that feeling – wanting to kick myself – even though I managed to collect a few details before they died. But I still think of questions I should have/could have asked my mom and my grandparents and aunts and uncles…

    1. So happy you love these quotes, too, Flamingo Dancer! It’s nice to know that so many of us are drawing support and nourishment from the genetic life-stream…

  5. Barbara – I can’t see that I feel “closer,” but I feel a very strong affinity and have done quite a bit of research, which of course strengthens those bonds.

    1. I found the same thing to be true when doing family history research, Laurie. The bonds are revealed and strengthened with every place we visit and every document or keepsake we find.

    1. Me, too. I felt so much closer to my grandparents – their faces always lit up when my sister and I arrived at their house and without spoiling us, they showed us how much they treasured us by everything they said and did and shared…

  6. I feel close to some of my ancestors, and distant from others. Some I do feel like I ‘know’ them better than closer-in-time family. Maybe because I’ve looked into their lives more closely. Maybe because I understand what I’ve learnt better than I understand ones that are living.

    Love that painting! 🙂

    1. It is such a heartwarming scene in the painting!

      Sometimes I think something of an ancestor’s personality comes to us through the paperwork/keepsake trail she left behind and we are drawn to some personalities more than others. My husband’s uncle’s ancestor fought in the Civil War and his uncle inherited the ancestor’s sword, a small chest, and his glass eye. It felt very strange holding the glass eye, knowing that it had been in the ancestor’s living eye socket at one time.

  7. Thank you for this post. Reading the quote by Carr-Gomm I felt like I finally found affirmation for these lifelong feelings I’ve had about my connection with ancestors I’ve never even met! The stories from my Mom always brought me near them, then since her death 10 years ago I’ve researched many of their lives on ancestry.com and have been amazed and proud of their lives and their connection to me. This post is has touched me and I thank you for that! Love the painting!

    1. You’re so welcome, kc! The Carr-Gomm words resonated with me, as well. I do a lot of research on ancestry.com, too. I even found my husband on a ship passenger list – he was born in Trieste, Italy, because his father was in the military and was stationed there. Tim was 5 months old when he and his mother returned to the states by ship. What a surprise Tim had when I showed him! We knew he was born there, we just never gave a thought as to how or when his parents brought him back here!

      Wondering if you watch the TV program, “Who Do You Think You Are?” I can’t get through it without shedding a few tears – it’s always moving when someone makes a discovery about her ancestors…

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