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Although I come from a background of abuse I draw strength from the strength of my ancestors who were able to love despite the trauma. My grandma loved me beyond measure, even though she wasn’t treated well her entire life.
Much is unknown so left to my imagination, particularly the softer bits. I honour the pieces I do know – incredible courage, resourcefulness, ambition, commitment, fidelity. Mixed in is the less than honourable characteristics of the white colonizers.
Deep generational kindness and resilience.
💕 EVERYTHING GOOD AND POSSIBLE. They were the great cloud of witnesses that came before me; paved the way; made the way; guided me and still guide me today. I hear them. I look like them. I feel them. I am them.
I think i have received a lot of fear denial and disassociation. But sometimes a little out of the box thinking and survival skills.
A strong and stubborn will to push through and make any circumstance work.
The answers to the questions, “Who am I and Where am I from?”, transcends my ancestors.
The importance of doing the right thing in each situation.
Grit, strength, curiosity, kindness, integrity, honesty, decency, responsible, hard working, laughter, great sense of humor, discipline, athleticism…….too bad I didn’t acquire the “cooking” gene! I am a terrible cook compared to my grandfather, grandmothers, my mom and my 2 brothers! 😅
A slightly bent middle finger on the right hand? As we sat outside his front door and ate candy and gave out candy to the trick-or-treaters, my son and I discovered we have the same exact bend to the middle fingers on our right hands!
The more I learn about my ancestors, I understand I come from a long line of hard working people. My parents grew up in modest homes with first generation Americans. They worked hard to rise up and moved forward to give me and my siblings the best possible life, just as their mothers did, just as I see my son doing for his family.
Lots of things, some tangible some intangible that continue to be “sorted out”
in me. But at the core the value of faith and family have remained.
Everything- I have received everything from my ancestors! Now I’m letting it all go!
I’ve received their strength to survive adversity and their endless curiosity that gives me my inate desire to explore the unknown.
I wrote something in the Lounge, and it seems my ancestors (with a few exceptions) gave me not-so-good memories.
This is my attitude lately.
Maybe I need to think about this question, because if I am now a free, resilient, kind, life-loving woman, there must be a deep root.
I have done a lot for myself, but others, who are no longer on earth and who live next to me, are interconnected with me, do the rest.
I’m Filipino-American. I’m the only first generation in my family. That said, all I know is balancing my identity between two very different, oftentimes contradicting value systems. Many people in my situation, no matter the country of origin, can identify with this dichotomy. It’s just one of those things that, at best, you can just describe it. But to fully understand it and all its psychological and emotional implications, you have to live it. I appreciate my ancestors and family for putting me in this position. I live with this visceral understanding what it means to be a person of color and a minority in the United States. Having that level of empathy and pride provides a space for really deep, purposeful, even cathartic discussions. That space gives a lot of people the opportunity to be heard and validated. I’m glad to be part of that.
Oh my gosh. Where do I start? As a genealogy enthusiast I have researched many ancestors and know some of the stories. I and literally MILLIONS of descendants can be thankful for an unusually lucky and industrious passenger on the Mayflower named John Howland. He was the one who was swept off the tiny Mayflower during an epic storm, but somehow managed to grab hold of a trailing rope and was hauled back on board. He came to America as an indentured servant. He survived the disease and hunger that took about half the lives of the Mayflower passengers in the first two years. By a twist of fate, he was indentured to the original governor, and that governor and the governor’s wife were childless, and died of the fever, unintentionally leaving all their wealth to this ancestor, who immediately bought his freedom with the inheritance, and then purchased land both in Plymouth, and later to the north. Lucky again. Willing to take risks and work hard to hunt beaver away from the colony to pay off the Mayflower’s debt to the shipping company, he became a man of good standing, and by the time he died of old age he was the assistant governor of the Colony, owned lots of land, and left ten healthy children and their families. Not bad for a boy who came over as little more than a slave, and now millions of us, are descended from him.
Whether we know the stories of our ancestors or not, the stories teach the value of each life on this earth and what we do with that life. Each life has consequences, and our own life bears consequences that will reach out in time. Most of us will be somebody’s ancestor one day, and even if we are not, we still take part in this wonderful human experiment. We choose whether our life is industrious, kind, whether we help avert climate disaster or deal with it by hiding in shopping therapy, whether we stand with disenfranchised people, whether we stand for democracy. We all create this river of humanity and help to define what humanity is.
So what have I received from my ancestors? My life, and opportunity.
Amazing, Holly! Both my parents claimed to have ancestors who came over with William Penn, but the one my dad pointed to in my family tree book had been born after William Penn died. I suppose I could look for ancestors of his with the same name! Ancestry.com likely has ‘hints’ about him that I can follow. My dad was bitter that his family had had a family tree book that someone borrowed and never returned. Isn’t it nice to have digital records of this info now?!
It is very nice. We get more information because we share with distant family members. We do have to be careful about errors getting repeated, though, so careful documentation with each step is best. I don’t do Ancestry, but instead do the free websites.
I don’t have any first cousins, so I was excited to connect with some not-too-distant cousin on 23andMe a few yrs ago. She’s related to my great half aunt Ollie, who lived across the street from my grandma in a little coal-mining town in SW Pa.
Like Sunnypatti, some fears and anxieties, some strength to forge ahead regardless or in spite of circumstances, making do with and finding joy in what I have. A deep lineage in my brand of religious expression; the gift of storytelling and oral tradition. Gratitude
Of course the gift of physical existence and all related inherited bodily strengths and weaknesses. The gift of healthy senses, being able to see/ perceive, to hear/listen, taste/ perceive aesthetically, feel /sense and comprehend/ recognize. They conveyed the basis, talents, emotional and mind´s tools for being able to be of service in the way I am. Deeply grateful for the richness of their heritage.Ah, and I forgot, curiosity! To understand that if people suffer, it is my deepest longing to be helping them, if appropriate and, God willing.
I had a grandmother that loved me deeply, and I know how that feels….Parents that loved me as well, aunts and uncles, a bunch of cousins, Patricia, we are both lucky! And I have four huge boxes downstairs to go through of photos, documents, and memorabilia….now I know I am lucky to only have four, because Patricia has more—LOL!
I told myself I would go through it all before Christmas….sure hope I can keep that promise, and if not, by Valentines’s Day at the latest…
And I inherited a way of dealing with the world that must be in my DNA to look at things, get angry or grieve, and then move forward and realize that nothing lasts forever. I see that attitude in my son, and my mother had it as well….it is a gift to be treasured…..
Oh, Mary Pat – there’s not such a rush to go thru the old stuff, is there? You can probably give yourself a break? I have all the family history from both sides of my family, but it is even less than 4 big boxes, happily. My mother was big on throwing stuff out – ‘tossing’ things, as she called it; and my dad’s mother‘s house was sold with lots of stuff still in the attic. A caregiver at my mother’s retirement home called to tell me that my mother was tearing up old photos and throwing them out, but I didn’t choose to try to stop her. I only have 2 grandchildren, and my ancestry is only 1/4 of their ancestry, and they are the only descendants of my 4 grandparents who might have children still, so I don’t really have to ‘kick’ myself [another favorite saying of my mother’s] about it 🙂
I have only known my ancesters since May 27 of this year; that’s when I finally “found” my birth father. Meeting my four siblings two weeks ago I’ve been trying to absorb all the family history I’ve uncovered. My father grew up poverty stricken without an education. He was yanked from school in the third grade to work in his abusive father’s saw mill. My father worked, hard, his entire life. He did some very good things and some very questionable things and some illegal things, to survive. Knowing how my 2 brothers and 2 sisters grew up has put my own struggles in perspective. We all have trials, griefs and things we have to overcome in life. Knowing my ancestors history has made me recognize their scrappy genes flow through me. I have received faith, hope and a love for music. They’ve grounded me and given me my Self; and I am grateful.
I hear you dear soul. I am adopted. Finding pieces in the puzzle helps incredibly. When I died one of my takeaways was, “You were created by divine LOVE, to be loved, to love, and to BE LOVE!” The greatest starting point. 🥰❣
The ancestors in my bloodline have two radically opposed drivers that, in me, blended, have evened out: powerful men on my maternal line, very powerful women on my paternal side. Being male, this has tempered my masculinity. For this I am grateful. But there is also a monastic lineage that, bastardized as it is perhaps, has provided an ability to, in a heartbeat, recollect myself: almost like stopping time, the past and future don’t influence the present as much as usual, and I am able to really see. I am not saying this kind of thing is restricted to monastics, as much as that the years I have spent living in that life have gifted me this, I guess I would call it, skill. The masculine side is heroic, brave, passionate and a bit over eager. The feminine is organized, finds partnerships and collaborators and is creative. Oh and I inherited a great deal of wealth, only to walk away from it. It was the accelerant that could have, no, would have blown my life to smithereens.
A grounding in being loved; raised for my first four years in a multi-generational household of adults from great-grandmother to my little self, I was talked to all the time and learned to talk, read, and love learning. And – now on the joking side – I’ve also received boxes upon boxes of old memorabilia, pictures, documents, china, old wedding rings that I have to go through. And more to come! Egads!
And I bet there are many who would love to have what you did…..how wonderful! Patricia, read my entry above…..I had similar gifts early in life….and consider that love a gift, as I am sure you do as well….nice to know I am not the only one…..
What a blessing!
The ability to use my voice
The gift of hospitality, strength, stubbornness, curiosity, compassion, faith, and some health issues.
Strength, some traditions, and, honestly, a few fears and anxieties.
Music & laughter. Love of the outdoors and reading. Traditions and recipes. A couple of tendencies toward health issues.
I am adopted. So, genetically, wow, great genes as far as health predispositions go, sucky predispositions as far as mental health goes, but working on breaking the cycles—it stops and starts with me. I also received a lot from my non-biological ancestors, mostly good, some things to be overcome too. Ultimately, you cannot be blamed for what you inherit, nor can you take credit for the good stuff. What is more important is taking responsibility for what you do with what you find yourself with. CHOICE around awareness, very important.
I have traced my lineage back to 1405, if not earlier. Interesting tree filled with royalty, popes, knights, lords, ladies, pioneers, the lot, but nothing beats the people who you decide to inherit from. Mentors, teachers, historical figures, and the person you plan to be in the future.
Every single day …..
So true JDS…so true!
Since September 1, 1774 my first name has been in the family.
Wow, Christine, that’s a long time!
Everything….my inner strength and courage, wisdom, traditions, rituals, work ethic, ambition, passion and much, much more…..
Genes. Some of which I put to good use, and others not so much.
So much has passed along many generations. My grandmother was born in the 1880s. And she was brought up by parents from the mid 19th c. So there are outlooks, behaviours etc carrying forward to me dating back at least that long.
One trait I will point out is the love of dogs. I saw a picture of my mother as a child with her dog. And her mother before her was also a doggie person.
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