I recently got into genealogy which totally changed my perspective on ancestors. I used to think generically in terms of Scottish people, more specifically Highlanders but this family tree has blown all that out of the water. My grandfather began it, but he died three years ago and no-one else in the family had looked at it in 20 years. Turns out that although my grandad really did an amazing job considering it was pre-internet, he left loads out...like most of the women. I guess he was a man of his time and lineage to him meant just the menfolk. Still, it gave me a skeleton to work from so I got to work!
Between 1841 and 1911 the census is my best friend, because I get an update on the lives I'm looking into. I found...sex outside marriage,infant deaths, illegitimate babies (oh! the shame!), two sets of twins so far!!!!, some servants!!! (didn't see THAT coming), a mother and son who worked as a coalminer (very rare) and a pit pony driver..that sent me into a total loop...just amazing stuff. The result is - I'm feel and AM connected to my ancestors. No fecking rituals, no nonsense, just a bucket load of credits and hours spent trawling records in the "wee small 'oors" :)
I knew that my paternal family had moved around alot, but nothing like to the extent that they did - Google maps, how I love you!!!!! xxxx Best of all I have a tangible sense of 'heritage' and I'm damned proud of it. I have the back story to all those people who contributed to me being here, now - gratitude? it ooozes out of me. The spiritualist great-grannies (one was a certified, committed loonie, she's my favourite dead relative right now, closely followed by the female coalminer - AWESOME! How difficult must her life have been?)
By the time I'm finished, I'll have a calendar of significant dates to work with, names to call on for help, graves visit for dirt :D and a much deeper understanding of who I am. I never thought something so mundane could turn out to be so magical. It's been brilliant, just thought I'd share.