Tag Archives: family-history
Passed and Present, by Allison Gilbert~ Do you have a growing collection of objects that hold fond memories? Maybe they are things that remind you of your childhood, or memorabilia from a deceased loved one. Over time, these items—as beloved as they are—begin to take up a lot of space. It can be difficult to part with them and can feel like a loss all over again. Because I am very sentimental, I am beginning to feel stressed by the amount of material things I am fond of. That’s why this book caught my eye as I was passing the new release shelf at my local library. It’s chock-full of creative ideas one use to put their heirlooms and other memorabilia to good use. Some of it involves art projects, or different display techniques, while other ideas invite the participation of others (friends, family, even strangers). What’s nice is that this book isn’t just about the practical use of cold objects, but that the point is aimed at keeping the memory of one’s parent/grandparent/friend, etc. alive. I was able to get a couple of good ideas I would like to implement someday. It’s worth checking out!
The Gentle Art of Domesticity, by Jane Brocket~ This was a book I picked up at a book sale and didn’t realize how interesting it was until I got it home and got to looking at the pictures. Just the title alone has won me over, but each chapter after another holds it’s own interest as well. If you have an interest in noticing art in the everyday small moments, this book is for you. I don’t pretend to be a June Cleaver, I don’t like crochet or sewing or making every blessed thing from scratch. But I love the idea of glorying in texture and patterns, identifying one’s style and expressing that in everything. The author’s own style isn’t particularly my own but I was inspired to create different pinterest boards for myself based on what I like. Jane Brocket’s conversational rambling of thoughts also make for interesting reading. And I’m sure the bright colors in the photographs will be enough to brighten anyone’s day!
Most of us have known the fun of an Easter egg hunt. Perhaps when we were children, some older family member made finding the eggs difficult by hiding them in the most unlikely (or most obvious) of places. And if we were especially lucky, the eggs might have had little treasures like candy, trinkets or money hidden inside them. That made finding them even more exciting!
But what if I told you there’s another kind of treasure hunt that can make the heart thump even more if we find something particularly special? The name of a previously unknown ancestor, for instance. They could be ordinary folks who tried to live the best way they knew how, or they may have had some kind of importance in history. Perhaps they lived near a site when a famous event took place.
Whoever my ancestors were and whatever they did, it never ceases to excite me when I find new names to add to my family tree. It gives me a pleasant thrill, even if I have no more information than their names. Because our family trees get bigger and bigger the farther back they go, it can be overwhelming at times. But then, I don’t think I’d want to reach a complete dead end on every branch and twig because the discovery is what is the most fun. One can find out so much about their own personal background through doing this. To think that if only one of these people had neglected to come together with their partner would mean that we wouldn’t be here right now… It makes one humble and grateful.
Personally, I am content with just researching direct ancestors, with an occasional research foray into their siblings if they were particularly interesting. I’m not so much into researching all the lines in my extended family from several hundred years ago. But I know there are many family researchers who enjoy digging this deeply. They are the ones who find even more deeply hidden Easter eggs!
Searching your past family history requires time, effort, and patience. But so much is available at the reach of the internet nowadays, that you basically don’t even have to get off the couch to hunt for them. Personal heritage can be much more satisfying than a dozen or so of plastic eggs.
What are some exciting discoveries you’ve made while delving into your family past?
Recently I’ve been working on a project in my spare time in which I scour Pinterest for photographs of people that I would “cast” in my fantasy film of the Bible. Doing so causes me to really sit down and study bible characters in a whole new way. I’ve come to admire people in the Bible that I hadn’t liked before, or dislike people that I’d thought I did. As I’ve been going along through Genesis and beyond, I’ve also become more consciously aware of which character is descended from whom. This helps me put them in perspective, see where each person is coming from. What people named their children in the Bible is very telling as to their spiritual walk at the time, and it’s interesting to see if they “lived up” to their name.
We see genealogical records over and over throughout the Scriptures. Many of us might be familiar with the recorded lineage of Jesus Christ (see Matt. 1) in which we see one of the fulfilled prophecies that Jesus was of the correct family descent to be the Messiah. But many other individuals’ genealogy is recorded as well. We often see people introduced to us multiple times as being the son of so-and-so. Joshua son of Nun. Joab son of Zeruiah. Abijah daughter of Zechariah. Other genealogies are more complex, such as the lineage of the Koathites in 1 Chronicles 33-47 or the sons of Esau in Genesis 36:10-29. Maybe these histories would bore some, but I find them fascinating. Their exotic sounding names are not just titles—they were real people who raised future generations, for good or ill.
It’s obvious the Bible holds genealogy as important, and not just to prove the lineage of the Messiah. I believe knowing one’s genealogy is important for us as well. When we look out over our family tree, we begin to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us. We’re just a leaf on the oak or a needle on the pine. Trunks and tree boughs had to grow before us. We start out as twigs and can produce so much more in this life if we so choose and are willing to be used by God. Our story is just a part of the entire story going on since the world began. It’s humbling.
It also can create a feeling of belonging. In our tree analogy, we’re not just an acorn that came from nowhere. Some people don’t have the opportunity to find out where they came from, and when I imagine what that must be like I get a cold sense of loneliness. One can still be their own person regardless, but I think there’s still an emptiness present when one doesn’t know their heritage.
Heritage can be both a blessing and a curse. Some would rather not know their background. But it’s important to realize that knowing family history, even if it is not very positive, does not doom an individual’s future because we are free to make our own choices. It’s the old adage about history being learned lest it be repeated. Is there a certain negative pattern that seems to be a characteristic theme going on generation after generation in your family? Knowing is key to understanding how these actions affect you today. Knowing is also key to breaking the pattern of negativity. In Genesis 34, we read of the account of Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi. In a mad fit of rage, they massacred a whole city while the inhabitants were incapacitated. Their father was so mad at them that he disinherited them from being the next of his sons in line to receive the blessing of family leadership (Gen. 49:5-7). Their actions had consequences that did affect future generations for all time. However, their descendants didn’t have to let that affect their choices. It seems Simeon’s line didn’t make much of a particular positive name for themselves throughout the rest of the Bible, but Levi’s tribe did. The two most prominent of this family are Moses, whom the Lord spoke to as a friend would, and Aaron, from whom Israel’s priests were descended. In fact, when Moses discovered that many Israelites had worshipped a golden calf in his absence, he put forth an order than anyone for the Lord should come to him. All the Levites rallied to him.
It’s also important to note that having a good family reputation doesn’t guarantee us the same fate. Aaron, the first high priest of Israel, was chosen and blessed by God. But some of his sons apparently thought they had a corner on the spiritual market because of their descent. In Leviticus 10, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu grew careless and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord. Things didn’t end too well for them. Scripture informs us they had no offspring to carry on their name.
No one is perfect, but not all genealogy is depressing. There are also heroes in the family that have come before us that we can look at their legacy and claim for our own heritage. I may not agree with everything my ancestors believed spiritually, but I admire their faith in the midst of fiery persecution. I admire the perseverance an ancestor of mine must have had to suffer through the misery of Valley Forge. They might have been only farmers, pioneers, or even wigmakers, but the story of their character has been related through the ages.
The important thing is what did our ancestors make of themselves, and what can we learn from them?
Plot Summary: Computer analyst Eric, and geneticist Alana are a college couple in love when they both take jobs at the National Geographic working as part of the team on the Genographic Project. But they soon discover that things are not as they seem. Mysterious computer glitches, disappearances, and secrets abound and they are determined to get to the bottom of it. Traveling from Cairo, to Tokyo, from Delhi to Pakistan, their international adventures collide with Muslim extremists and a bizarre plan for world domination.
My Book Review: Hmmm… Suspense, international intrigue, and the National Geographic… sounded like quite an interesting combo to liven things up after I’d spent weeks on an old classic. I think this especially grabbed my attention since I’d seen a documentary on tv about the NG’s Genographic Project, which can be seen here.
Exploring the author’s website, I discovered that Liam Roberts is a pen name used to protect Roberts’ family, since he writes about certain explosive topics. This was his first novel, and there should be a sequel expected sometime in the near future, which I am looking forward to reading. Some are calling his writing, “Christian Tom Clancy”. I guess I wouldn’t know, but I was impressed that it wasn’t blatantly obvious this was his first book. I felt the pacing was well-done, and he manages to pull off characters who develop relationally despite the fact that they are separated through three-fourths of the way through the novel. And we see Eric’s spiritual development as well. A lot of suspense thrillers don’t throw much by way of a personal life into the story for the characters.
In some ways, the story felt a little unrealistic – not in terms of jihadists (I know that is a reality), but because the main characters are mere college-age students who embark on their own to fight off terrorists, while there is barely little mention of their parents or home life. I also felt there was no real closure as to what happened to their friend, Hamdi. We just are left to assume what happened because Eric and Alana apparently lose interest in him. And I don’t understand the purpose for the character Para, Alana’s assistant in India. She is in, and then out of the story, but she seems to be unnecessary to the plot.
I can’t say I was able to follow all of the computer-techie lingo or the maneuvers in the SEALS’ derring-do toward the end of the story, but they were painted in such glowing terms, that I didn’t really mind and was able to follow the gist of things.
Whether it be on topics such as genetic research (and biblical interpretation of it), or Muslim terrorists, the author shows he has real knowledge of what he is talking about. I think part of what made the story appeal to me was the interweaving of the real life Genographic Project and it’s fascinating findings.
If this story peaks your interest …if you like science thrillers (with a Christian spin) …if you like stories surrounding the War on Terror … this book is for you. Roberts packs a lot in this exciting novel. Even SEALS and an attractive Israeli secret agent make an appearance!