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Genetic Memory - Are You Dreaming Your Ancestors Memories?

Updated on October 31, 2016
Nell Rose profile image

Genetic Memory is a new and exciting look into how our dreams and phobias may be influenced by our ancestors!

Medieval Knight
Medieval Knight

Reincarnation or Genetic Memory?

There has been much talk about reincarnation. And how people believe that they have lived before because they had dreamed about something or someone in history.

But what if we are wrong? What if all your dreams, or at least some of them are just showing you snapshots of your ancestors lives?

There has never been a real study of dreams. We take for granted that dreaming is just a way for our brains to slow down, relax and go over the facts of the day. In other words sort out the wheat from the chaff as my mother used to say. The fact is:

Maybe sometimes we are dreaming about our ancestors lives!

Think about it. Why did you dream about being on one of those old sailing ships from the say, 18th century? That dream was so real wasn't it?

And how come you can ride a horse really well in a dream yet in real life you have never even got near one as you live in the city?

Is our brain so amazing that it can emulate feelings and learning without actually experiencing it?

As I said above, many people believe that this could be caused by reincarnation. And to be honest I do think that's the case sometimes. Why?

For example if you are say, British and you dream that you are living in India and even speaking the language then it can't be genetic memory. Unless of course you have an Indian ancestor. But its unlikely.

This actually happened to me. I dreamed I was in an Indian market talking to my 'husband' about buying some cloth or sewing material. As the dream progressed and we were talking to another man, I must have started to wake up because I no longer understood him. I ran in my dream, and remember seeing a sign on a wall. It was written in one of the Indian dialects but it then changed to English. Then I woke up.

I am still looking for a connection in my family tree about this one, but there are other dreams that definitely point to Genetic Memory.

Dreams and Genetics.

The first dream that I had which made me feel that something more was going on began back when I was a teenager.

It was the strangest thing. I felt myself floating down a corridor which emerged into a 17th Century bedroom. There was a truckle bed to the left, and a old lady with a small child standing in front of a window.

As I floated I felt myself go into that old lady and I became her in that instant. I felt what she felt, and saw what she saw. I even drew a picture at the time as it was so strange.

I remember looking out at a crossroads and from each direction I could see Parliamentarian men and the Kings men heading towards each other. I felt fear, real fear as I knew that there was going to be a fight.

That dream has stayed with me all these years. Why on earth would I dream that? I do believe its one of two things.

Reincarnation or Genetic Memory.

Why not just a dream? Because it was so real! Anybody who has had a 'real' dream will know just what I mean. You can feel, see, hear smell and touch in those dreams. Seems simple to me.

Its happened to us or someone in our family before!

Not convinced? Let me tell you something about Your ancestors. There are quite a few!

17th century
17th century

Genealogy and Your Family.

When we think of our ancestors we tend to chose the ones that we know about. Grandparents. Great great grandparents. Uncle Sid on your fathers side. Auntie May on your mothers, and so on.


Oh no! Far too easy!

For starters there is you. Then your mother and father. Then Dads mother and father. And Moms mother and father.

Then each of theirs too. Two by four by eight by sixteen.........! Get it?

To think about it easily just imagine a black line going back in history which is the father's bloodline. And then thousands, yes thousands of women who are marrying into the family. Okay? Got it so far?

I recently discovered just how many there are! So far I have discovered over 200 ancestors and their families.

I am amazed and humbled by my ancestors. Some were quite well off, others were so poor they were in the workhouse. And then we have a family of Knights! But that's another story.

Wild West
Wild West | Source

Maybe You Dream Of The Wild Wild West?

My father always loved America even though he had never been anywhere near there. He was fascinated by Buffalo Bill and Anne Oakley and so on. I have looked to see if any of our relatives went to live there, and was surprised to find a few had headed out to Canada many years ago!

I believe they came back a few times to visit our family. Of course this was many years before my dad was born, but maybe there was a slight genetic memory there?

Any how, what about you? Do you dream of Cowboys and the Wild West? Maybe your ancestors have something to tell you!

While researching this I came across these amazing old films. One is of Buffalo Bill and the other, Annie Oakley shooting it up!

Real live footage!

Buffalo Bill - William F. Cody 1908 Film Footage.

Annie Oakley

So what's the science behind Genetic Memory?

A while ago I was pondering the issue. Then it suddenly dawned on me! Adrenaline!

That was it! Adrenaline had to be the glue that stuck certain memories into our minds over the years, and maybe pass down to our family through the ages.

And then I looked up the theory online, and guess what? Yep, same conclusion!

That is what makes sense and explains why we don't remember everything about our ancestors or more to the point, their memories. Here's what the experts say about it.

Memories maybe passed down through family generations in the DNA in a process that can in fact be the cause of present day phobias.

And Memories can be passed down to following

generations through something called genetic switches

that will allow their children to inherit the experience of the ancestor!

Cool Eh?!

My, You Have His Eyes!

Yes you do! And maybe his or her nose, followed by the way you walk and, well you get the point!

We take this for granted. So why not memories? Scary to think of, lets be honest! What if we dream we are in prison, or being thrown from a horse?

And of course there is the the problem of birth. Surely if we remember something from our great great grandmother and its been passed down in the genes, then surely the only memories we would have would be of those before the baby was born. Because you can't pass down a memory after the child is born. Or can you?

Remembering doesn't have to be genetic, or not completely. For example if the mother has an accident before the baby is born then the baby or babies own children may remember it. But what if it was after the birth?

I thought long and hard about this and came to the conclusion that if a child sees a parent in pain, then that child will have a surge of Adrenalin caused by panic and hurt seeing their parent in pain. So that child will grow up with that as a memory and pass that on to her children. So memories do not have to be from before the birth of the child it can be from family members, neighbors or just about anything going on around them. Got it? .

The idea of Genetic Memory has been around for a while in films and TV programs but these days it is really being taken seriously, and many scientists are looking at ways of researching and testing their theories.

Its an exciting time! Can you imagine falling asleep and dreaming an ancestors memory? What if your great great grandmother had been attacked by a wolf/bear/cat and had physical scars?

Would you dream that? Pretty scary eh?

But what of my dreams and what did I discover?

Shakespeare quotes
Shakespeare quotes

Roundhead's or Cavaliers?

  • I was a 17th century oldish woman with a small child. I was looking out of a mullioned window. The Roundhead's and Cavaliers are heading my way. And I am pretty scared.
  • In reality? My great great etc grandmother worked in Long Crendon back in those days, and this is it. Long Crendon Manor. (below)
  • To read more on this story please go to A Dream of Cavaliers.

Long Crendon Manor
Long Crendon Manor | Source

Maybe the Ancient Mariner?

  • I was on a 17th/18th century Ship. I was a man climbing up the Yard arm of the ship. I could see my arms which were very muscular. And I was wearing baggy trousers and an open neck shirt.
  • The reality?
  • My great great grandfather and all his family were born up in Norfolk and at least one of them was in the Navy at the time. I have also always loved going out on the sea whenever I visit the coast. I am still trying to find out which ships they were on but its pretty obvious that they must have been similar to the photo below.

18th Century Royal Navy Frigate
18th Century Royal Navy Frigate | Source

"all men are knights where women are concerned.” - George R.R.Martin

  • This has to be my favorite! I grew up loving Castles. In fact one of my oldest memories was drawing a castle for school and the teacher putting it on the wall next to the other children's pictures of pin men and dogs. Every time I go on vacation I have to check out the castle nearby and go in search of the famous Knights of the time.
  • The reality?
  • So I wasn't surprised to find a fabulous historical ancestor by the name or names of The De La Beche family. These were a family of Knights who came over just after William the conqueror from Flanders! So far I have found the family connection but I think its not so much a blood line but a brother of my great great grandfather married into the family. My connection is through the Langford family. Still hoping its a direct blood line though! I will update when I get more information.

Medieval Knight
Medieval Knight

I believe the study of Genetics and memory are going to show us something awesome!

So where am I in my search?

Well I could go on, but the other dreams that have had a real impact on me have to be checked out first by continuing to follow my family tree and see where my ancestors lived, worked and loved.

its a fascinating journey. Both the dreams and the ancestry are really interesting and trying to fit it all together is really rather mind blowing!

It will be an interesting subject to follow if and when scientists do manage to find the secrets of our Genetic Memory.

Have You Ever Had An Genetic Memory Dream?

See results
Dreaming past lives
Dreaming past lives | Source

Why not give it a try and see for yourself?

  • Take a notebook to bed and if you have a dream that you believe is from your ancestors write it down as quickly as you can on waking.
  • Start to do your family tree. FindMyPast is a great site, its brought thousands of family members to my tree. But there are plenty of other sites too. One of the best is free! Its called I tend to use both together to confirm a match.
  • Write down any places that you visit that look familiar but you know you have never been there before.
  • And last but not least, if you can't find a family connection, don't worry you may just be missing something. Some family tree links are still missing from all of the search sites. If you find even a tenuous link you could always get in touch with that local parish church or council.

Good Luck!

Sources and further reading.

© 2016 Nell Rose


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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      13 months ago from England

      Hi Mary, good to see you! how you been?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      13 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      What an intriguing concept. This is the first time I've heard of this so now that I am more conscious, maybe I'll read my dreams from this perspective.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      13 months ago from England

      Thanks Patricia, yes we are fine thank you, how you doing? and thanks for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      13 months ago from England

      Thanks Anusha, how lovely! I also dream of flying, and often wonder if I had a go at that flying dancing thing (rather like learning to skydive but people use the air to push them up to fly dance) I would love to know if I could do that!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      13 months ago from sunny Florida

      Very fascinating and cool to know. It makes a LOT of sense. Hope all is well with you and yours.. Angels are on the way this morning ps

    • anusha15 profile image

      Anusha Jain 

      13 months ago from Delhi, India

      That was quite an interesting read.

      I don't remember having any dreams which could connect to my ancestors. However, I do dream of flying sometimes. And the flight is priceless. It's also not a flight of a bird. It's the flight of the goddess or the queen who is supposedly keeping an eye on everything in the dark. But the strangest and I think the most amusing part is, I am myself. And I love this "Keeping the eye". The views that my mind conjures are simply stunning and I wake up truly satisfied. I've had this dreams many times. Maybe I was a goddess in a parallel universe. Haha. It's such a gratifying thought, even if it sounds silly.

      There are others too, some of them are proper stories, and most of the times, I am able to control the endings, so they are happy ones. :D

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      21 months ago from England

      Maybe you were scared by a bat when you were small? thanks for coming back.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      21 months ago from Oakley, CA

      The funny thing about my dream, is it didn't have any 'past times' elements to it. In the dream, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, in my actual room, reading a book. The bats would appear out of the corners of the ceiling, and swarm me, and land on my book so I couldn't see the pages.

      Our home was not an old, creepy kind, with mysterious, dark corners, either. We were the first family to occupy it, as my father had it built before he was married, even.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Hi Lizzy, yes you could be right. I had that one about being in a cave with two adults and a young boy. we were wearing furs, and I was watching my 'mother?' hitting shells to break them, so I did it too. I was learning by watching. I remember just feeling 'there' but no real thoughts like we have today, it was pretty weird! lol!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      22 months ago from Oakley, CA

      It just dawned on me that there is a brief bit about genetic memory in the

      'Clan of the Cave Bear' trilogy...

      and, it may explain ??? the stupid recurring dream I used to have about being swarmed by bats. I was about 8 or 9 at the time, I think, and this dream would waken me and my parents, as I'd wake up screaming. But, at that age, I'd never even seen a real bat; only in photos, or maybe behind glass as a taxidermy exhibit at the sciences hall...and I had certainly never seen any horror films at that age. Who knows? After a couple of years of this, the dream never happened again.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      23 months ago from England

      Could be Lizzy? I do believe genetic memory is the answer, they just don't finance the study of it but they should! thanks for reading, and great to see you!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      23 months ago from Oakley, CA

      Hmmm...perhaps genetic memory and/or reincarnation explains my morbid fear and phobia about those slithering legless reptiles whose bite can kill...and whose name I don't even like to say or type, so bad is the phobia. Can't even look at pictures of them or on TV!!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hiya Lawrence, how interesting! not sure how a soul can be genetics? but will have to go look it up! hope not, love the idea of a soul! lol! thanks again, nell

    • profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 years ago


      I was going to say there is some research now that shows muscle tissue in your body can actually 'store' memory that can be triggered later by other events.

      I did also read recently of a Biologist who theorizes the idea of the 'soul' could be explained by 'Genetics' (naturally I'd probably disagree, but the discussion would be fascinating!)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Its fascinating isn't it when you find an awesome great great! thanks as always lawrence, nell

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Great article, I started researching my family tree about a year ago because I'd heard family stories and wanted to know if they were true, what I found was the truth was 'wilder' than the story!

      So far I've got back to the 17th century with an ancestor who died a hundred yards from where he was born, but there was 112 years in between along with some memorable and heroic acts! (He was one of the original 'leathernecks' that became the Royal Marines!)

      Great stuff here


    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks so much PS, sending them back to you too!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 years ago from sunny Florida

      It is something to consider for sure....there are times when I feel as though I have a deeper connection to the past than I should makes me have a deja vu experience.

      Well done, Nell, as usual.

      Angels are on the way this morning ps

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hi Shauna, yes me too! now that is spooky isn't it? that's more psychic than this, genetic memory is just memory passed down. thanks for reading, nell

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      This topic fascinates me, Nell.

      I've had recurring dreams that ended years later (in the future) when the exact circumstance or setting came to life in my real life. However, I don't recall having dreams about times past - at least not as far back as you mention. A couple years maybe, but not generations.

      If I ever do, I hope they're pleasant dreams.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks Flourish, yes that's so true! and pretty weird too! lol! thanks as always, nell

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      The more you learn about your ancestors, who they were and their experiences, the more fascinating this possibility becomes!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks phoenix, glad you liked it, nell.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      2 years ago from United Kingdom

      It's a fascinating theory. I need to think about this. Good hub.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hi MsDora, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Nell, the concept of genetic memory is interesting and worth explaining. For people who do not follow this line of study, they may have significant dreams and experiences which they ignore. Thanks for bringing these ideas to our awareness.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hi Chitrangada, lol! yes that Indian market! so darn real! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hiya Doc, good to see you, I love this sort of science, anything to do with memory fascinates me. thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Alicia, yes genetic memory fascinates me especially now I am doing my family tree, nell

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Such an interesting and engaging hub about genetic memory!

      Your dream brought a smile on my face that you were in an Indian market. How exciting if it was true!

      I always appreciate your articles about dreams, reincarnation and similar subjects.

      I have so many dreams every night that it is difficult to keep track of them. The good thing is that they never bother me once I am awake since I completely forget them. I believe there is always something going on in my subconscious mind.

      Thanks for an interesting read!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      2 years ago from UK

      Awesome Nell, great article on genetic memory. There is a quite a lot of science backing the fact we carry coded archaic memories from our ancestors as part of the survival of the species. You have made this entertaining, interesting and fascinating as always... good to visit my old pals.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your article is interesting and very thought provoking, Nell. The idea of some type of genetic memory is a fascinating topic.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks Ruby, lol! that did make me laugh! thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks avorodisa, glad you liked it, nell

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Shucks ! My dreams are so simple. I'm always losing my med cart and getting patients pills mixed up. I am going to check out the site, I might add that I would love to have a dream involving a past family member. I always enjoy reading your hubs...

    • avorodisa profile image

      Anna Sidorova 

      2 years ago from Russia

      Your articles are always AMAZING! I have never thought before that we can see our family's past in dreams. I believe we can...

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks quicksand, glad you liked it, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hi jo, thanks for reading, yes me too! lol!

    • quicksand profile image


      2 years ago


      I do believe in rebirth and I have had visions of strange places while in zzz-land. However I attribute these to the mind having retained memories of places I have been to, and have seen pictures of.

      Now, your thought provoking article makes me long to explore this issue. My plan is to eat more and sleep more ... so I can dream more and learn more! ... :)

      Cheers and good wishes.

    • jocauldrick1 profile image

      Jo Cauldrick 

      2 years ago from Isle of Wight

      What a fascinating read. I'm always very curious about what dreams are and how they could relate to another dimension or alternate experiences.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks Blond logic, yes great points! and I am totally interested in the ether idea too! thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Hi Rochelle, there you go! lol! very possibly genetic memory! thanks for reading, nell

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      I have never heard of genetic memory but I can see how it is possible. Stepping away from dreams and humans for a moment, let's look at birds.

      They have a build in instinct to fly to certain areas, build nests etc. However as they learn they pass this knowledge on as well. Not by showing their offspring as theses are usually chased away not long after leaving the nest. In a sense it is more evolving than training.

      There are those who believe that everyone who has lived is still living, albeit on a different plane.

      If you have read about the law of attraction, it is interesting. In the space (I'll use the word ether here) there are thoughts, ideas, dreams, floating around and we only need to be receptive to them.

      When we relax and open the mind, it can provide us with much more information than we thought possible.

      I have never thought about the role adrenaline plays in all this but it is an interesting line to think about. It causes the mind to become alert and in the moment.

      Very interesting hub.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      2 years ago from California Gold Country

      An interesting possibility to consider. I often wonder why I dream that I can play the piano effortlessly-- when I have no experience with pianos.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      How interesting cmoney, I didn't know that! I will have to look it up, and thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks John, I wish mine were abstract sometimes! lol! thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      lol! trust you Jackie! thanks for reading, nell

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 

      2 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Am I dreaming my ancestors' memories? What a fascinating thought! I never even thought of it. (O.o) :) I'm pretty confident however, that's not what my dreams are made of. :) This HUB is very visual. It can create dreams.

      Here's something I did think of. Would love to know what the babies memories are for the time they are their mother's womb. It's inspired by that fascinating scripture about when Elizabeth greeted her cousin Mary and it says the baby, John the Baptist, leaped in his mother's womb when he heard her name mentioned. Really? What else do unborn babies know??

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is fascinating, Nell. I used to have quite vivid dreams and somethimes wrote them down, but they were often quite abstract so I never considered they could be genetic memory.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wish I had such fascinating dreams, but no! I mean last night I had a dream about cooking Navy beans...but perhaps in reality I was on ship in the south seas. lol I wish!

      I guess....hahaha

      Fun stuff anyway!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      lol! yes I totally understand you on that one Suzette! thanks as always, nell

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Another interesting article from you Nell. I do believe in genetic memory and I believe I have experienced it once or twice. I agree with the video that anxiety and phobias can be passed down. All I have to do is look at one side of our family. No doubts ! lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks Martie, yes you got a good point there, but you never know, thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      LOL! sorry about that Bill! thanks as always, nell

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      I don't believe in reincarnation, but definitely in genetic memory. That adrenaline may be the glue or power that installs memory in DNA sounds quite obvious to me.

      Sadly, the precious knowledge and wisdom we obtain after we had transferred our genes to our children are lost for future generations.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      In answer to your question, how the hell would I know? I'm adopted so my entire life has been a genetic mystery. LOL


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