Anyone who has discussed spiritual work with me will know I’m big on ancestor work. It is so, so needed, I don’t care what religion or path you are on. We all have ancestors and, being human, we all could do some work on that line. For me, that work, in part, takes the form of being the family genealogist. Sadly, this is a job that I haven’t had much discipline around in the past. 2020 is the year I hope to change that.
I was excited to find a few great genealogy resources this year, one of them being Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors challenge. I played around with starting it late in 2019 but that didn’t pan out. Happily, I will be doing this challenge in 2020. For me, this looks like a blog post every week over on my genealogy blog (I keep it separate from this one for the comfort of my predominantly Christian family).
My plan is to write a blog post every week based on the prompt. For example: the first week’s prompt is Fresh Start. I have some ideas around that including discussing how my ancestors moved across country a few times OR how to get a fresh start in genealogy work with resources like the Genealogy Do Over.
Why Genealogy Work
While I don’t believe genealogy work is better than the spiritual side of ancestor veneration, it is, to me, an important part of that. Knowing who your ancestors are, their names and stories, helps to connect with them and feel their spirits.
I do genealogy research as an offering to my ancestors and my descendants. I treat it as a spiritual task – giving an offering of coffee or water at the altar before sitting down at the kitchen table to work. Not only do I learn their names and stories, helping me connect to the faces and voices I hear when I do journeying and divination, but I can share them.
Genealogy work is ancestor veneration that can be done by people across many faiths. Its a way for me to honor my beloved dead alongside my Christian and Atheist family members. We might not agree about the Gods and spirits, but we can all agree that my Papaw George Downey who sold moonshine out of the Knox County jail was quite a character. We can all sigh and smile over the stories that connect us – loving those that, without whom, we would not exist.
Should I Do Genealogy Ancestor Work?
I’ve been asked this a few times by people interested in ancestor veneration but worried about time constraints and juggling another task. There isn’t an easy answer to this.
I started genealogy work to fill a gap in the family – not just mine but also my husbands. No one at the time was interested in recording the lineages or old stories. My relatives all agreed it should be done but no one wanted to take the necessary steps or time to do the work. It is kind of a lot.
My Beloved Dead didn’t really care about it being a lot. It was needed and I was a good enough conduit for them. If this is the case for you – you might not have as much say in the matter. Do what your Ancestors and Gods demand of you and pray for Them to give you aid and guidance to stay faithful to the work.
If you are not called to the work AND there is someone in your family interested in or already doing the work – support them! Ask them what help they could use. If they ask for interviews, pictures, etc – give it to them as soon as you can (I’m still waiting on promised pictures and document copies and they were supposed to be in my hands literally years ago). If they could use some financial help, send them some cash – genealogy can be free but it is so much easier to pay for programs, workbooks, etc not to mention put gas in the car for cemetery, courthouse, homestead, etc visits.
Sometimes just taking an interest and going through the old photos, heirlooms, etc is enough. Share the stories to the descendants – your kids or nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. Don’t let the names we do know die with you. Be a good ancestor yourself.
Looking at the Year Ahead
Oh Galina Krasskova will be joining me on this ancestor challenge! Will you? Comment below if you are working on genealogy and ancestor veneration. I’d love to cheer you on!