Contemplation. Scrutiny. Deliberation. Ever find yourself in a state of reverie over how you got here? How you came to be in the very place you are right now? Do you wonder… “Where did I come from?”
I certainly have… and so much so, I caught the ancestry fever many years ago and the desire has not waned. The fire ignited; it burns and dies down and I continue to fan the flames as time allows. As old father time marches on and as information is sifted, the ebbs and flows persist. That initial question perpetually on the table and predominantly the basis for my curiosity; my ensuing quest is to understand more about the family members who came before me.
Who were they? Where did they come from? Where did they live? What did they do? What were they like?
If you are anything like me, curiosity takes on a life of its own. It creeps quietly into my thoughts and pervasively nags at me. The unrelenting whispers of “needing to know” so strongly petition the egghead in me and I am called to action. With regard to “Where did I come from? – I sought answers to these questions because I wanted to understand how their lives eventually came to shape my own.
Now years later, answers still elude me in many areas and in others, answers have pacified my longing to uncover some of which I didn’t even consider mystery. For example, a 110+ year old love letter was acquired (my father had in his possession from his mother – and her mother was the recipient of the letter) which was so beautifully written I was forced to hush my heart!! The penmanship alone was stunning. The deep feeling behind the words and how exquisitely the affections were expressed left me beguiled by my own great-grandfather!
My own father being an incredible writer himself; having published pieces in magazines and various other forums, I came to postulating that the allure of writing must exist in this family bloodline. My great-grandfather followed by my father followed by me! It skipped my grandmother as far as I know. My father barely knew his grandfather since he died when my father was merely a youth of seven… so how do you explain the love of writing tendency my father possessed? Could this be a phenomenon? Is it mere coincidence these two writers existed independently of one another having no shared time to influence? How extraordinary! Suffice to say, this is but one example of the revelations which occurred throughout my exploration in ancestry investigations.
I traveled to meet aged extended family members who gifted me with much knowledge, photos and information which I consider such treasures… not to mention family recipes and wonderful quality time learning so much about the many facets of our family history. I’ve gained such amazing insight into “me” – and most importantly, I’ve garnered a huge respect and reverence for many who came before me as I’ve uncovered their hardships. Their lives were difficult and it’s made me appreciate my blessings even more than I already did. Hours spent with many other relatives, some known and many not… helped me compile much research and even put together an informal, yet huge book for family members… despite so much remaining left undone to be included…. someday. That’s the uniqueness of ancestry investigation… it truly never ends.
Have I achieved full circle answers to the questions? No, the curiosity lives on, however I know so much more than I ever did and much more about my life makes sense. The uniqueness of me, the inner & outer qualities I carry were melded wonderfully by so many that came before me and it’s fascinating for me to know much of what happened before I arrived on the scene.
We all carry inside us, people who came before us. – Liam Callanan
If you wonder “Where did I come from?”, I would encourage you to seek answers while family members older than you are still alive. Google a list of questions to ask these older relatives as some items you may not think of naturally. If I’ve learned one thing through my travels, I’ve acquired the knowledge of just how much information died with my grandparents and great-grandparents. There is so much I would more fully understand had I grasped the enormity of the importance while I was much younger and I could have captured so much more of the stories which serve to shape the landscape of what is “me”.
“I am bound to them, though I cannot look into their eyes or hear their voices. I honor their history. I cherish their lives. I will tell their story. I will remember them.” – Author Unknown