While doing some genealogical research online, I came upon a photograph of my maternal great-grandmother, a woman I never met. To look at her photo was to look in the mirror. It was slightly unnerving. I want to learn her story, but all who knew her are no longer living.
Television shows like “Finding Your Roots” and “Genealogy Roadshow” intrigue me. I like to see the research techniques used to flush out family history. But ultimately, what pulls me in every time are the stories. Stories about how families lived in the past. Stories about surviving a famine or enslavement. Stories about sacrifices made or lives cut short.
I’d be interested in knowing how my ancestors’ faith has shaped me and my faith. The gravestone of a great-great-grandmother reads “Member of the Baptist Church 64 years and died in Full Faith.”
So far, I’ve found ancestors who were part of Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and German Evangelical Reformed congregations. These ancestors, most of whom I’ve never met, are part of who I am today. The same is true for us all, whether we were cradle Christians or came to faith as adults. Those of past generations planted seeds of hope that live in us.
This message is an excerpt from “Grace notes: Faith of our ancestors” by Linda Post Bushkofsky in the May 2021 issue of Gather magazine.
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