Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ancestor Appreciation Day: September 27

(My second great grandmother, Mary Constance Hazel, from Norfolk, England.  A very special lady.)

Today, September 27th, we celebrate Ancestor Appreciation Day and the memories of those who both came and went before us. This is a day for us to reflect on our ancestors, learn more about them and the ways in which they influenced each of our lives. This is a day for us to learn about and appreciate our forebears, a day to express gratitude for our personal existence, and a time to pause for solemn reflection. Those from whom we are descended should be remembered.

Since I am an avid genealogist and always interested in anything about my ancestors, I'm glad to hear there is such a day.  Perhaps others will be inspired to look into their past, to learn about the beloved ancestors who forged the way for us to be born.  I usually places what photos I have of them on my altar, light candles, and say a prayer of remembrance.   Afterwards, I spend some time visiting grave sites on Findagrave and working on my Family Tree which one day I hope to have published as a legacy to those who will follow me. 

When I look at all the old pictures, of which, thanks to a fire, there are only a few, I reflect on their lives, their struggles for survival during hardships and wars. I am part of all of them.  I am who I am because of them   My grandparents have long since passed, about 40 years ago, and even my parents are now gone.  An only child,  it makes me sad that I was not interested in their lives when they were still alive.  If only I had questioned....

That is why I really want to encourage everyone to find out about your ancestors now. Visit those who are still living, and take the time to listen, really listen to their way back then stories.  You might be surprised what you learn.  Start a family tree to leave as a legacy to your own children and grandchildren.  Write down all the information you have on them--names, dates of birth and death, where they were born and died.  Add photos if you have them, and include stories to really make them come alive.  Don't be afraid to put your tree online.  When I first started out with my tree, I thought that I was alone...and then, I began hearing from them, those cousins from around the world that I never knew existed.  

In closing, I would once again love to share with you my ultra-favorite poem.

Dear Ancestor...
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
  Neglected and alone.
  The name and dates are chiseled out
  On polished, marbled stone.
  It reaches out to all who care
  It is too late to mourn.
  You did not know that I exist
  You died and I was born.
  Yet each of us are cells of you
  In flesh, in blood, in bone.
  Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
  Entirely not our own.
  Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
  One hundred years ago
  Spreads out among the ones you left
  Who would have loved you so.
  I wonder as you lived and loved,
  I wonder if you knew
  That someday I would find this spot,
  And come to visit you.

-Author Unknown


  1. You're right -- genealogy is a very worthwhile pastime. It's good to have even an inkling of the people we come from.

  2. What a lovely picture of a lovely lady...

    My Family Tree... One of those things I think about, and never begin to do... -sigh-

    Please Mary, where would I start? (Nope, no older family available, to ask, btw.)

    "The breezes taste
    Of apple peel.
    The air is full
    Of smells to feel-
    Ripe fruit, old footballs,
    Burning brush,
    New books, erasers,
    Chalk, and such."

    - John Updike, September

  3. Now I know why I was drawn here today Mary! :) I too am doing my family geneology and it consumes me some days...so interesting the pull to find my ancestors. It is as if they are speaking to me...matter of fact I believe they are.

    I will create an altar for them later after I get all my running done and my Water Ceremony is tonight too! It is New Moon and a day for all women to honor the Waters of Mother Earth, within and without. What a glorious evening this will be 'eh my sister/friend?

    I loved your poem and your Great Grandmother is stunning!

    Love and Hugs Mary..

  4. Good afternoon Mary.....Beautiful poem I had not seen it before. I do have some info on my family tree in fact someone has written a book on my mother's geneology..don't have a club about my dads...the only thing I know is that they were from Oklahoma.

    One day...I do plan on posting about my ancestors but I have to get it all together. LOL LOL



  5. I love the thought of an Ancestors Day and THE POEM.
    Not so long ago I would walk through some older grave yards in our travels, read the stones and would wonder at the lives and people that lay under my feet.
    If they could only talk to me, I would think.
    (((hugs)))this dad and all days