Genetic memory is what we call that “feeling” that some individuals have, where they connect with their ancestors in some strange or unusual way.
Today, such people may be of different religions and nationalities than their ancestors, but still feel an unusual connection – often since childhood – to those ancestors who lived very different lives.
Biologically, we are all links in a chain to our past generations. Can these biological links connect us to our ancestors in different ways?
Writes journalist and author Doreen Carvajal:
I'm intrigued by the notion that generations pass on particular survival skills and, perhaps, an unconscious sense of identity that stands the test of centuries. In the case of my own Catholic Carvajal family, I wonder what prompted them to guard the secret of their Sephardic Jewish identity for generations long after the Spanish Inquisition that prompted them to flee to Costa Rica in Central America.
Many families treasure one or more family heirlooms passed down through the generations from their ancestors.
Whether these cherished items are personal objects, letters or photos, they hold great sentimental value and help preserve memories of previous generations.
In my family, we're fortunate to have artifacts and original documents from the older generations. We also love looking through the old family photo albums; it's interesting seeing the relatives, how they dressed and where they lived.
What about your family? Do you have family heirlooms?
Let us know in the poll below.
According to this article in News OK, it's more difficult to find female ancestors.
Some reasons are that women had no voting rights, no land ownership rights, and their names changed after marriage.
Thus, there were fewer documents containing relevant information, or it was hard to find the connections between existing documents and a later marriage, with a new surname.
This makes it hard to locate our female ancestors as well as their extended families.
Today, in most countries, women are equal citizens in every way, and enjoy full property ownership and voting rights. Many women either retain their maiden names or the new couple creates a double-barreled surname. These social changes could arguably make researching our female ancestors a bit easier - at least in the future.
People like genealogy because of the challenge of finding new family members.
Have you had problems locating female ancestors? Are there those you have not yet identified? Were you able to find them? What resources did you use to overcome a specific challenge?
We'd like to learn about your experiences via the comments below.
We're delighted to welcome Karen Hägele to our German team. She replaces Silvia da Silva, who recently went on maternity leave. We wish Silvia much health and happiness and look forward to her return next year. Karen now shares her family story, to which many of us can relate.
Back to my roots: from Brazil to Germany
As a small child, I remember using certain words that my friends didn’t know. For example I called my grandmother Oma and my grandfather Opa. I could count from eins to zehn and my favorite nursery rhyme was Backe, backe Kuchen. At night, I wished my parents Gute Nacht, and at Christmas we ate Stollen (a kind of fruit cake), baked, of course, by my grandmother.
We were the only ones in our neighborhood to have a real Christmas tree with real candles instead of "blinking stuff," as my Granddaddy used to say.
All of that would have been quite normal had I not been born in Brazil.
It might seem like a mundane lunch topic, but it was interesting to learn what people eat first thing in the morning. For example, there's the "full English" with sausages, beans, bacon, toast and eggs, served up with a ginormous mug of breakfast tea. For the Americans, waffles and pancakes are a regular feature.
Chileans eat various breads with avocado or cheese spreads and a Swedish colleague had a bowl of porridge oats every morning.
Today, most people grab a quick slice of toast or bowl of cereal.
What about our ancestors? Did they eat the same foods? Did they have the same diets?
Calling all word lovers - or those who love their thesaurus (or is that thesauri?).
Somebody once said that using five words - when one will suffice - is the mark of a verbose character. There is an inherent difficulty in selecting one word to reflect a range of emotions and, as I'm sure you'll know, genealogy elicits many such emotions.
In that vein: What's one word that tells the MyHeritage team how you feel about family history or genealogy?