Walking With Ancestors

I’ve been falling into my family history lately and I must say, I’m fascinated by what I’m discovering. I’ve always felt connected to the past, an old soul so to speak. I’ve always wanted to know where I came from, who I came from and how we ended up here.

Somehow I can walk the land where two different sides of my family used to live within a 10 minute drive of my hometown. The land they owned, and lived on and worked. One was a tract that was bequeathed back to the crown as the land was unusable. The other is land complete with crumbling house foundations that was taken because the remaining family members couldn’t afford to pay their bills.

The Dryden Tract
The Hyde Tract

I walk this land and it is almost as if a sense of peace comes over me. I feel like I need to keep walking and exploring. Breathing the air. Hearing the birds singing and the wind through the trees. I follow the trails that my ancestors might have walked and I think about them, what they were like and whether I look like them. Even as I love the connection, I think back to a further connection – going back to where they came from. I want to explore where they lived before they came here.

When I was about 12, I found out about my family trip across the Atlantic to Canada before settling in the same area I live hundreds of years before. We came from Scotland in the 1770s. We bought 700 acres of mostly unusable land, but we came here and I was fascinated by it. I dreamed of kilts and Scottish lairds with  dark flowing hair and how if I were there he’d somehow fall in love with me and protect me. It wasn’t until I started to really look into it that I realized that we weren’t highlanders, but lowlanders. We lived in that strip of land that was constantly at war and constantly switching sides. We probably wore kilts, but more likely stuck to ourselves to try and not anger whoever was our “king” at the time. And looking at the family name, we most likely came from Wales. It would appear that we are most likely nomads. My Scottish family came from a house in Hawick that is now a bed and breakfast on rolling hills with a river running through. I have always wanted to go there, stay in that house. Walk the stairs that my ancestors walked and look over the hills and breathe the air that they breathed.

But that’s only one part of my history.

I had always known that my grandfather came direct from Ireland when he was 3 years old with his siblings including a twin sister. I always found myself drawn to Celtic design, emerald green, open fields and dreams of mischievous men with twinkles in their eyes. My grandfather had a hard life and his family was farmers and gamblers. They even lost their family land here in Ontario and it went back to the crown. I have no idea where they came from in Ireland or what drove them to come to Canada.

I want to find out more. I strive to know more about my family so that I can understand myself better. Some members of my family think I’m crazy. They don’t feel the pull to the past.

I’ve made my way to England now – up to 1650 thanks to www.ancestry.ca. If you are interested in your history like I am, I highly recommend looking into it. It’s worth it so far!

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