How the Past Can Heal Us

Krista in front of oldest tree in Maberly, where Morrow Hotel once stood.

Krista in front of oldest tree in Maberly, Ontario

It occurs to me that in family tree hunting we sometimes forget the most important things: story.  After all these years I have to ask myself, someone trained to live in the present, why going back so far to people who lived before me, who perhaps share some remote traces of my DNA, matters.  What is it that draws me to them, and arguably them to me?  What makes them eternal in my mind, and connects me to their story?  And why does the mystery of what we do not know tantalize us so, so that we never give up wanting to know more?

Funny enough, I am also trained through my hypnosis practice to study and explore past lives – I mean mine, not someone else’s – what some would call reincarnation.  You may not believe in such a thing, and it may go against your spiritual or religious beliefs – or perhaps you believe we are here for a good time, not a long time, and that’s it – dust to dust.  End of story.

Then why the insatiable curiosity?  Whether it be past lives through our ancestors or past lives through our own subconscious or “superconscious” (higher) mind or cellular DNA memory, what links us all together and makes the past come alive – makes US come alive with questions, with desires, with feelings?  Why do we cry when we hear about a hardship our ancestors suffered, or a good story ending in triumph or reconciliation?  It seems I am asking more questions than offering suggestions, but give me a moment.

These questions answer themselves.  The fact is, we do want to know.  Not everyone, to be sure.  Some people may rightly feel that to look back is to get lost in the past. And some may simply not want to hear what might trouble them in the present.  But those who do ask, have a burning desire to know not just for the sake of a good story, but because it tells them something about themselves.  It answers the question: Who Am I? and Why am I here?

If we can look at our lives or the lives of others in retrospect, we see patterns, shapes, stories.  We see parallels.  We see PURPOSE.  And we see PROMISE.  We understand that hardship and suffering can be followed by breakthroughs, and that even death does not stop life from continuing on – we are evidence of that.

Our past stories are collective. What a prominent psychologist, Carl Jung called “the collective unconscious”.  Everything that has ever happened to anyone, and all its apparent meanings, is held there – along with all the wisdom and “knowings” that sometimes  cannot be explained by our current, more limited thinking.  These pieces, these stories have a common source, a common thread through human history, through human consciousness.  It doesn’t matter the time or the place – we find ourselves in its reflection.

Once a year I follow the popular American TV show (now on TLC) “Who Do You Think You Are?” – featuring prominent Americans (mostly celebs) who want to discover something about their ancestry, and the origins of their family.  Notice, the show title is not, “Who Do You Think They Are?”  but rather “Who Do You Think YOU Are.”  Because their tears, their AHAs, their curiosity, and their sense of compassion and forgiveness is not only about their ancestors – it reaches across time and teaches them something about themselves – and even goes so far as to heal their own sense of self, history, story.

We all have a personal destiny, and we want to know that not only will we survive, but that our story will teach those who follow us – it will outlive us – extend us – “eternalize” us.

The truth is, we are already eternal.  But while we are sloshing around here on earth trying to make a living, learning lessons and putting up with the hardships and trials, heartbreaks and breakthroughs – it helps to know that someone will be staring back at us through time and saying, “Wow! I’m really glad so and so lived…  How brave he/she was, how honest, how strong, how compassionate… I want to be more like that.”

When we look back, we want to emulate the best we see, and forgive the worst.  Because when we can do that, we become the greater part of history, we become an extension of it, fulfilling its ultimate purpose – not only to tell a good story, but to teach how to live a good life.   And so we become the living proof of what it means to us, what it offers us, and to our kids and grandchildren.  We are its living, breathing, connections that link past present and future in one eternal loop.

And even as audience, witnessing someone else’s history, we see ourselves – beyond family blood barriers, beyond time itself.  We can identify meaning and purpose without any regard to dates and names.  Those provide the colour and fabric, the identity so to speak.  But the picture is worth more than its parts. One human family struggling to live – and learning to really LIVE – one lesson, one story, one life at a time.

Happy journeying.

 

Krista

 

 

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Moore & Chambers of Dundonald Newtownards Down

I am back! After a long hiatus, I have reclaimed my genealogical map, my puzzle pieces and clues, my missing links and my stubborn brick walls in my research papers.  I have reconnected with long-lost cousins floating on ancestry.com with no response on my part for over a year.  I have realized – no determined – that I have ENOUGH, I know ENOUGH, and that the answer to this mystery is right in front of my nose.

Hence I have picked up my quill (aka. blog post), armed with what I know, and will put it down as best I can, inferring the rest with common sense and the obvious, blatantly obvious gifts that I neglected to claim long ago. It’s TIME!  The Moore Family tree deserves this last piece to link us to our Irish ancestors and enjoy the benefits of my ancestral and current family, brought together at last by intriguing stories and the knowledge that we are the offspring who will now carry those legends (and create new ones) into the future.

Alas!  Here I am.  Let’s get started, shall we?

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My people (Moores) came from Ireland about 1829, likely from around Belfast, in a place called Dundonald, Down.  That is where our distant cousin, Dr. Thomas Moore of Picton, born 1796, and his most likely brother, my Gr-Gr-Gr Grandfather, William Moore were born (parish names may vary).  There are many William Moores in that vicinity, as well you can imagine, along with Thomases.  Movilla cemetery in Newtownards nearby is filled with them, along with Samuels, Hughs and other related men who are waiting to finally be claimed as fathers, brothers and cousins on this disconnected family tree.  I’m over here! they sing – you’re almost there!  Just connect the dots and it is complete.

They say, begin with the end in mind.  So, here it is:

This is the headstone of my likely Gr-Gr-Gr-Gr-Gr grandfather buried in Movilla in Newtownards, Northern Ireland (near Belfast and Dundonald, Down), born 1720:

William Moore 1720 Movilla Cemetary Newtownards Down Ireland

William Moore 1720 Movilla Cemetary Newtownards Down Ireland

 

A David A. Chambers has contacted me who lives in the area and has offered to provide pictures from Movilla, and any other information pertaining to the family.  Chambers is the name of the family who married into the Moores before Ontario I am sure.  My Gr-Gr-Gr grandfather Thomas Moore of Maberly, Ontario, (Reeve/Mayor of South Sherbrooke), married Margaret Chambers, daughter of Moses Chambers – Moses and his wife Sarah Harrison married in Tullyish, Down (Dec. 30, 1824) at a quaint All Saints church in Tullyish, Down, where the famous poet W.B. Yeats’ grandfather had been minister (I’ll dig that up again shortly).  Here is the church:

All Saints Church Tullyish Ireland (were Chambers married) Yeats minister

All Saints Church Tullyish Ireland (where Moses Chambers married) Rev. W.B. Yeats served 1836-1862, grandfather of famous poet/dramatist of same name

The Moores and Chambers moved around a lot, so sometimes it is hard to connect them from one town or village to another. Especially if they move half way around the world!  But trailing them is a life long passion of mine – insane as that is, because, well, it’s fun. And I can’t wait to go to Ireland to celebrate all OUR hard work.

My next job is to take this William Moore 1720 and put together a family tree for him – his sons and daughters, and see how that connects in with my more recent ones.  I am sure my William had not only a Thomas as a brother, but also a John,  George or Hugh.  For example, I think I have found the father of said William Moore 1720, to be a possible John Moore 1683 of Ballyskeah.  If I sort it by the centuries I will have a list of names for each generation, and the linking will become easier and more obvious.

My thanks to Maree Moore of Australia for providing most of the information on the Craigantlet Moores who are in that area and are likely related.

MOORE to come, soon….