Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Discovering the Apple Actually Fell From a Different Tree

It happens.

My father inherited genealogical information from his extended family and has been tracking down and verifying information all my life. In an interesting twist, we discovered this last holiday that we are not descended from Francis Eaton, like we had believed. That story had been passed down through the family, like many stories are until they are proven true or false. After Christmas I removed Francis and Sarah, cut and pasted them from my database into a separate folder, and turned towards discovering the new men and women who came before me.

What we learned is that our Eaton line came to this country through John Eaton of Kent, England who settled at Dedham, Massachusetts. My first thought was- cool! My second thought was, and I just published that piece about my Mayflower ancestors; the ones I’ve been actively honoring since my teenage years. I momentarily found myself in that unsettling place of having what I knew as the truth shift to hold more names and more mysteries. So Francis and Sarah were not my path back to England. When I asked myself, does that matter now? The short answer to that was no.

Bloodline or not, I find no awkwardness in having honored people who lived and took breath and walked the earth, for they walked it in tandem with genetic ancestors of mine. The timelines overlap in footsteps across the Massachusetts shore. Francis and Sarah are someone’s ancestors, with many descendents in fact, and I don’t discriminate in the spirit world. In my actions I have adopted their energy into my family. I have built a connection to Sarah Eaton of the Mayflower, mother of Samuel, who died that first winter. She is my gateway and doorway to all of the ancestors of my blood who travelled to the unknown land. And in the revelation of a new line, my known family grew and expanded, with names unfurling.

Thomas Eaton and Elizabeth Parker, Thomas Eaton and Lydia Gay, Nathaniel Gay and Lydia Starr, John Eaton and Alice (unknown), John Eaton and Abigail Gilson, Nicholas Eaton and Katherine Master, William Eaton and Jane Hussey, Sir Henry Eaton and Jane Cressett, Lewis/Louis Eaton and Anna Savage, Nicholas Eaton and Katerina Talbott, Georgis Eaton and Jane Brereton… Humphrey Eaton, Robert Eaton, John de Eaton, Peter de Eaton, Peter de Eaton and Margaret (unknown), William Eaton and Matilda (unknown), Peter de Eaton and Alice (unknown), back to Robert de Eaton, born about 1120 AD.

His parentage is unverifiable but the stories place him into myth, the Great-Great Grandson of the historical Banquo, who Macbeth slayed and Shakespeare made famous. Robert is allegedly the Great-Grandson of the youngest of Banquo’s issue, Fleance, who fled to Wales and married a princess there. In every family tree there are princes and kings and princesses and queens. I found mine in both Anna Savage and Katerina Talbott, whose lines trace back to Charlemagne, through that of their noblemen fathers.

These women were ancestresses of Nicholas Eaton of Dover, England, father of John Eaton, the only son of his to seek out the new world. He married a widow ten years his elder, with two children of her own. They moved to Watertown, Massachusetts together where he was pivotal in then helping found Dedham.

Powder House Rock, on a parcel of land John Eaton owned on Dedham Island.
His name first appears in a document about the new meeting house: “to be in length 36 Foote and 20 foote bredth & … in ye studs 12 foote. 18.11.1637. Thomas Wright, John Dwight, Nicholas Phillips and John Eaton have undertaken to fell Pynes and Oake for it.”
John helped build the first bridge over the Charles River and acquired a few plots of land during his time in Dedham: "Land in the Island Playne 23: "two pcels in the great plaine 19; by South Plaine, at foule Meadow; Right in an Island in the swamp."

These Eatons of Dover came by way of Eyton in Shropeshire, and of Eyton–on-the-Weald-Moors. And before that, of Wales. I have learned that my English blood is rich with Welsh ancestry. The further inward we journey through our blood, the farther backwards we go in time and the further down through the layers of rockbed we dig into history. The truth is, we walk on the earth every day, across sidewalks and roads laid out over what used to be dirt ways and horse paths, and before that was wild and undisturbed land.

Beneath your feet are the echoes of those who have walked this world before us.
Beneath your feet are the bones of my ancestors.
Beneath my soles are the bones of yours.

There is telling of still another connection to the Mayflower through the line of John Alden but until proven, it’s just another story for my notes, another possibility. I’m not looking for treasure. I have no end goal in this, no one I’m hoping to discover, just the joy of the uncovering what was buried and lost.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, I just read this to your Dad...we are most impressed with you. Your writings are beautiful.

    Love mom


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.