Search for Your Ancestors

Rufus Winston and Lillie Searle Barker (my great-great grandparents)
Rufus Winston and Lillie Searle Barker (my great-great grandparents) | Source

A good way to find out who you are, and to know yourself is to learn about the ancestors that produced you. So much of what we are comes from our parents and the training they gave us as we grew to maturity under their care. They, in turn, have received much from their parents and ancestry. In particularly, we have inherited some of our physical traits and our cultural and religious beliefs from those on our pedigree chart.


I recently wrote a hub about my grandparents. I shared how much they have influenced my life. Some of them even kept journals so that I could get to know more about my ancestors. The stories they left behind mean a lot to me.

Seek out your roots and you will find your life.

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten; Either write things worthy of reading, or do things worthy of writing." - Benjamin Franklin.”, 1738

"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from." -Carl Sandburg

Seek out your roots and you will find your life.

The farther backward you look, the farther ahead you can see. Winston Churchill

Jump into your genes...and dig up your roots.

Genealogy: A search for the greatest treasures - our ancestors.

A family tree can wither if nobody tends to it's roots.

Our family gene pool needs some chlorine.

Source

My father has been very busy, during much of his free time, doing family history and geneology to try to find out where our ancestors came from, and what they were like. Some of his findings are auto-biographies, some are biographies written by people who knew them, some were gleaned from history books and other sources. They all give us some insights as to who we are.

I feel very fortunate to have a pedigree chart that goes back several generations. I know the names, birth dates, birth places, and other info on my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, and on some lines it goes back to the 1500s and even further.

How a Knowledge of My Ancestors Impacts My Life

I think there is an innate desire to know about our ancestors. You can see that when children have been adopted, and many spend much time and money to find their birth parents. We all have certain physical, mental and social traits that we have acquired from our ancestors.

Particularly in my life, I have enjoyed music and art. I found through the stories of my ancestors that there is a thread of this love of art and music throughout. Another definite thread is the tendency to be religious in nature. Several of my ancestors left their homes in Europe, particularly Scotland, Denmark and England to seek religious freedom.

My great-great grandfather Archibald became a student of the Bible from an early age. Once he and his wife Agnes started raising their family. Their minister told them it was necessary to sprinkle their babies. For some time he complied with this doctrine, and then, finally, he rebelled against it. He told the minister that "nowhere in the scriptures could he find where it was necessary for young children to be sprinkled, and that he would let the dews of Heaven baptize his children before he would let the minister sprinkle any more of his children" . About this time the Mormon Elders came around, and the doctrine they taught seemed to be in line with what Archie believed. I think the examples of my ancestors influence my faith in God and desire to keep the commandments.

On both sides of my family, maternal and paternal, there were those stalwart individuals that left their homes, and sacrificed so much during their lives. They traveled on ships across the Atlantic, and pulled handcarts across the plains to Utah with the Mormon pioneers. They settled in Sanpete County, Utah, and carved out a new life for themselves in little settlements. They were very industrious and had big families. Their posterity can truly say that they were born of goodly parents.

Another thread that is woven throughout the stories of my ancestors is a love of nature. They grew gardens, nurtured house plants and raised animals, especially sheep and chickens.

We can blame our ancestors for our negative traits, although we still have our agency to choose how we deal with them. There is a definite stubborn streak that runs through our family history. I have struggled to overcome it for much of my life.

All of the individuals on my family tree have contributed DNA to make me what I am today, for good or ill.

My great-grandparents and their offspring
My great-grandparents and their offspring | Source

One story I enjoy about my great grandmother's father, Elam. At the request of Brigham Young, the Mormon leader at that time, Elam became an interpreter for the Indians in Utah. They were trying to pacify the hostile Indians so they would not cause harm or steal their animals. They would go to Grandpa Elam's mill and trade articles for sugar.

There are so many stories that I could share, but suffice it to say that I am so glad that I can read about my ancestors.

By learning about my ancestors, I try harder to follow their examples of faith, the importance of family and hard work. I also have kept my own journal for my children and hope they can learn from my life, too.

My paternal great-grandparents and their children. Rufus Orrin and Ella Isadora Barker
My paternal great-grandparents and their children. Rufus Orrin and Ella Isadora Barker | Source

Have you been involved in your family history or geneology?

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Comments 24 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Don't give up alancaster149. You may be lead to discover more about your ancestors if you are open and looking. We all have a few skeletons in our closets, but don't let that get in your way. Try doing a search on familysearch.org - it is free and may help you. Regards.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Nicely put-together Hub, Elayne. One of my father's aunts was in the process of doing a family tree when another family member said something indiscreet and she committed suicide... That was the end of that. My knowledge of generations past is patchy (only as much as anyone was prepared to pass on). Nobody kept journals on my Dad's side - not that they couldn't write, they just didn't have the time what with running a farm etc. I've looked into it, but I'm stuck past my Grandad on both sides. I know more about my Grandma's family because she never stopped talking about her Dad. He had a pretty colourful past compared to the others, including a spell riding in Queen Victoria's escort (cavalry).


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

So sorry to hear that Laura in Denver. I hope you get away from the abuse and get well soon. We would love to hear your memories. Prayers being sent your way!


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 4 years ago from Aurora

Thank you, elayne001. Familysearch is the poor person's access to family history.

I loved ancestry.com, but no $$$. Send info to neice-in-law, who does.

I've been konked in the head and smashed in the kidney by an abusive (un)man. Just up-and-about now. Have to researtch restraining orders in this state just now. Thanks!

Oddly, I am the child with the most memories! I shall convey them as I am able. Need RO to protect my life now.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Good to hear from you again pmccray. Glad you enjoy geneology too. You never know - my daughter has become quite a family history and geneology buff herself. Thanks for stopping by and checking my hub out.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

Genealogy has been a hobby of mine since 2000. I feel it is very important to round out a person or family unit. The young unfortuantely, don't care about the past, but the past can solve mysteries of self. Eventhough, my son has no interest I will at least leave him some family history for when he becomes interested. It's a very fulfilling past time.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you ciel Clark. Glad your family is into family history and that you enjoy it. Yes, the names are very interesting, Mehitable, Archibald, Zina, etc. Those are some of mine. Aloha.


Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

Elayne, a great topic! my family has been researching this for a while and some of the facts--and names!--are so interesting.

Can you imagine how much more information our descendants will have?


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Yes, PWalker281, I do remember Roots and enjoyed it very much. I hope you will find time soon to do your family history. Thanks so much for your vote and comments.


PWalker281 4 years ago

Some of you may be too young to remember the novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, written by Alex Haley and published in 1976. The book was based on the research Haley did into his family's lineage which took him all the way back to the Gambia, in Africa. The book was made into a TV miniseries that was extremely popular. I remember my family gathering around the TV as each episode aired. And even though claims of plagiarism and the authenticity of his research dogged Haley later in his career, no one can dispute the impact this book had on Americans' interest in discovering their own "roots."

I love watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" And even though I think the program is a big commercial for Ancestry.com, it's exhilarating, nevertheless. You can really see the impact that learning about their ancestors has on these celebrities.

Thanks so much for this informative hub, Elayne. I'm going to bookmark it for future reference. I have a few records that cousins on my mother's side of the family collected during the "Roots" era, as well as my parents' birth records and some photos and oral history. Researching my family's history is definitely on my "bucket list," something I really look forward to doing.

Voted up, interesting, and useful (especially that last video).


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

@Laura in Denver - I believe the URL you are referring to is FamilySearch.org. It is free and has tutorials and videos to show you how to do family history and geneology. It is all free to use.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks moonlake. I will have to check out your ancestor hub. Yes, I do feel very lucky to have so many journals. My father is the one who organized them all. He gave them to us for Christmas and are probably the best gift I have received.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks cloverleaffarm. I am sure we all have a few shady characters in our family trees. They are the most colorful and interesting. Your story reminds me of Les Miserable - one of my favorite operas.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

@Peggy W - I knew when I saw your question that I would have to answer it, because we have so much family history done. I hope it will inspire others to do the same. There is plenty more to do though.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

@Millionaire Tips - I am glad that you are keeping your own memories for your posterity. They will be glad to have them. Thank you for your positive comments.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Aloha diogenes! Sorry to hear about your ancestors - you might be surprised to find a few that aren't a**holes! At least you can be the first who isn't. You don't have to repeat what they did, just learn from it.

@Melis Ann - I have also watched the show "Who Do You Think You Are". I think it is great that so many are discovering their family histories. It is very inspiring! Glad that you have enjoyed discovering your ancestors.

@Seeker7 - I like your hubname. You might really enjoy looking for your ancestors. And, as I said to diogenes, you can rise above their examples for the betterment of your posterity.


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 4 years ago from Aurora

I really enjoyed a trial on ancestry.com, but unfortunately cannot make the high price to join.

A cheaper alternative is a Mormon ancestry resource, which is free. Don't remember the URL.

What resources do you use?


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I have been do genealogy for awhile now. I have a hub about my great-great-grandfather on here. I love doing it. I'm just really looking forward to the 1940 census. You are so lucky that you have some journals. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.


cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

Ancestry is intriguing to me. It always has been. It's true, learning about your past can impact you. I found out that my grand father had spent time in jail during the depression (petty thief they called it). Even though it was just stealing a loaf of bread, it still made me feel funny to know that I had a relative spend time in jail. I never knew him, he disappeared around the same time. Not knowing is just as weird.

Great hub...voted up, interesting and useful.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Elayne,

Thanks for answering my question with this beautiful hub. I grew up surrounded by grandparents, great aunts and uncles and one great grandmother. I always enjoyed hearing about family stories...especially from my mother, although I have not delved into a formal study of genealogy. I have genealogy records from older family members passed on down and now in my possession with names and dates.

A daughter of a first cousin of mine is exploring my paternal grandmother's genealogy line and I am providing pictures and what I know. I have also learned things that I did not know from her. So it is definitely interesting and I can see how people can get hooked into wanting to learn more.

I agree with you in that one's history of ancestry does matter. It shapes us in ways of which we may be unaware, but it shapes us none-the-less. The old heredity / environment debate. Heredity is at least a part of who we are and it cannot be totally discounted.

Votes up and will share. Thanks!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Our ancestry certainly influences our own lives, and you have described yours very well. I love your gorgeous photographs! (and the quotes.) We don't have as many old photographs in our family, but we are making up for it with taking current ones. I have been fascinated with genealogy since I was a young child. Voted up.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

I really enjoyed this hub. Finding out about my family's past has always interested me. Apart from bits and pieces there are a lot of gaps, but it is defiantely one of my future projects. I do like reading other people's accounts of their research and this hub was fascinating.

I wonder though, if like diogenes, any of mine will be ass----? LOL! I'll have to wait and see.

Great hub + voted up.


Melis Ann profile image

Melis Ann 4 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

It is my most favorite hobby! It's extremely exciting to uncover information about your ancestors. I've also been very lucky to have found documentation back to the 1400's, and so much more to be discovered.

The TV show Who Do You Think You Are is fun to watch to get new ideas on historically references and to get reinspired. I'm happy to be the historian in my family and forward fun findings to everyone when I discover something new. Great topic!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Good article. For myself, i come from a long line of assholes and may they rot wherever they are.

I am glad you were more fortunate

Bob

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