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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Is Ancestry Important to You?

Is Ancestry Important to You?
I'm very curious what value all of you place on finding your ancestral relations. I'm a bit sensitive about this since all of my side of the family is up in Canada, a country away. It helps to know that borders do not erase family lines.

It was striking to me, as I found older and older relatives, that each of us is tied into world history. 






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Is Ancestry Important to You?

By Evan Nehring

Yes, I'm one of the techie early adapters who pounced on the new iPhone operating system iOS 7 the moment it came out on Wednesday. So far I'm giving it three thumbs up. The new look and all of the new functionalities are really great. Most of the apps have done overhauls as well, so it's really quite a new experience.

One of the apps I decided to tap into that I hadn't previously is ancestry.com. I grabbed the 14 day free trial and started digging around a little. On my dad's side I can't get back any farther than his grandparents. A bit frustrating. On my mom's side, I've found two separate chains that go all the way back to the 1670's. Wow!

Samuel Shier
My 3rd Great Grandfather, Samuel Shier, Born in Limerick, Ireland, 1796. Grandma Ethel Gurr's Great Grandfather.

I'm very curious what value all of you place on finding your ancestral relations. I'm a bit sensitive about this since all of my side of the family is up in Canada, a country away. It helps to know that borders do not erase family lines.

It was striking to me, as I found older and older relatives, that each of us is tied into world history. Somewhere in 1670's England, people made choices that led to the existence of Evan Nehring in the year 2013. And in a sense, through all of those intervening centuries, I was there. And those are just the ties I know about. All of our ancestral lines ultimately tie back together. We were there in the Middle Ages. We were there at the height of the Roman Empire. We were there, somewhere, during the reign of King David. We were there all the way back to creation.

I guess it leads me to think of how short our days are. We have just a few moments to make our big decisions, to make our impact. We are vital characters in the fast-moving chapters of the human story.

God gives us choices each day that are filled with possibility to change the world. I will honor my creator and my redeemer with my life.

Comments are Always Welcome...

Please help me wrap my brain around this ancestry thing. Is it important to you?


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9 comments:

  1. My Irish dad was pretty abusive when I was growing up and I heard horror stories about his dad and my grandfather so I started research the family tree... That was when I was in high school and I continue to this dad - having added my mom's family to the mix. I found generational abuse which explained my dad and the reasons for it and decided that with me - it stops. I've also learned so much, met many distant cousins and so forth. It's been a fascinating journey!

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  2. Ancestry gives me a sense of belonging and connects me to a bigger picture. I have done shallow searches in the past and then stopped. I think you have sparked my interest again. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. Kathleen, you make a great point. Family trees contain the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hopefully we can learn from their mistakes and find encouragement in their victories.

    Cjoy, I hope it's fruitful for you. I regret now that I hadn't thought more of my family history earlier. I feel selfish. Somehow, knowing a bit of what they were about seems respectful and grounding.

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  4. Evan,

    Ancestors can be interesting, but you never know what you may find. My 3g grandfather on my mother's side was an Englishman named Joseph Willford. He was arrested in England for stealing a horse which he said he had bought at an advantageous price. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted, however, and he was deported to America (PA) to serve 7 years as an indentured servant. Two years after he arrived in America, a young woman named Mary Campbell who had lived for 6 1/2 years with Deleware Indians after being kidnapped by them at age 10 returned home to near where Willford was serving. They were married a couple of years later and had a large family. I am descended from one of their sons.

    Considering how close I came to never being around at all, I don't mind being the grgrgr grandson of a convicted horse thief.

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    1. David, so glad you made it to being around! Yes, I can see how digging in your ancestry can be a venture mixed with excitement and trepidation. Whatever our roots, we redeem the past through our actions, right? We make a better tomorrow.

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    2. Joseph Willford is my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. As a 5th Grade teacher teaching U.S. History, I've been trying to find more information on his experience, so I can share a more real-life indentured servant experience with my students. Who would have thought that ancestry can help you in your profession? You may also be interested in the free geneaology resource www.familysearch.org. I've been amazed at the number of pictures they have once you tap into your ancestral line. It's neat to see family resemblances even several generations back.

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    3. Sterling, isn't it surprising how connected we feel with the experiences of our ancestors? How amazing to realize that we were, in a sense, biologically present in those moments and in those situations. And what a gift to your class to pursue those leads. I wish I could sit in!

      I've also made note of www.familysearch.org. Thank you!

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  5. Seeing how we fit into a family tree gives us a greater perspective on life and ultimately helps us to define ourselves.

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    1. Define ourselves...I like that. I feel more connected with history and with the world broadly now that I know more of my roots.

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