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, June 27, 2012

Where We've Been, Where We're Going

Charles & Ruth Ruston.
I am he as you are he as you are me as we are all together… John Lennon

That song lyric has been swimming through my head. I am, because my ancestors were. They were so that I could become. And I am meeting strangers through my blog in states far away from me who exist because our same ancestor did. It feels like that first moment you find yourself out in the country and you look up and see how dense with stars the night sky really is. It’s breathtaking, awe-inspiring, humbling, and slightly terrifying.
When I started this blog, I had a list of 465 names from my father for our family tree. A dozen or so of them were of my mother’s line but most were the culmination of the research his family had been doing for generations. Even though it was a lot of names, I knew there were more. There are always more, stretching back into the ancestral ether when there were no names put to faces.
We are more than our names. We are more than our date of birth and date of death. In truth, we are more than the list of occupations we take on in our lifetimes.
In my work I am striving to uncover the unknown, through diligent research and spiritual meditation. I currently have 701 names on my ancestral tree. The names spin around in my head like strands of thread and the tapestry is weaving itself into my memory. I find myself speaking their surnames aloud in my meditations, calling to them, asking them for guidance. There are 250 surnames known to me, covering all 701 of my known ancestors.
Having the names means so much to me. Knowing a lineage is exciting. But they are just names. It is the clues in the research that flesh out the bone and character of the men and women.
Charles Evan Ruston, the son of a wealthy farmer in England, fell in love with Ruth Ireland, a servant girl in the home of a family who went to their church. His father made him choose and he chose her. They came to America together and their granddaughter was my grandmother. Charles was disowned and the members of our family who have gone over to trace the Rustons passed his father Richard, have been told that Richard did not have a son named Charles- though Charles shows clearly on the English census reports up to 1881.
It’s human of us to want to change our histories to sound better or to suit how we see the world we’ve created. But I embrace the truth of the stories, even dear Hawise of Lancaster, who married her nephew John De Lea. They were only 5 years apart in age, but still… she married her brother’s son in the late 1100s. It happened and it’s part of my family tree.
What I know about my ancestors, is that the men in my mother’s paternal line have been factory workers, truck operators, die setters, farmers, day laborers, saw mill operators, militia drum majors, soldiers, traders with the West Indies, lumberjacks, maltsters, innkeepers, Deacons, master shipwrights, constables, Masters at a Grammer School, and refugees fleeing Protestant massacres.
The men in my mother’s maternal line have been factory workers, blacksmiths, stewards, chaffeurs, gardeners, bootleggers, city laborers, canal lock tenders, stonecutters, soldiers, farmers, canal workers, livery hack owners, and farm laborers.
The men in my father’s maternal line have been bank clerks and insurance salesmen, farm laborers, factory workers, carpenters, merchants of flour and feed stores, Masons, wealthy farmers, carpenters, soldiers, shoemakers, ferryboat operators, prisoners of war, cabinetmakers, shoemakers, translators with the Natives, and civil engineers.
The men in my father’s paternal line have been bookkeepers, farm laborers, prison guards, soldiers, wheelwrights, farmers, lumberjacks, carpenters, curate and church wardens, tanners, authors, Captains, constables, Ministers, weavers, fenceviewers, Sheriffs and forest Rangers, Knights of the Order of the Garter, members of Parliament, Lords, Earls and Barons, engravers in the King’s mint, merchants, goldsmith to the King, chamberlain of Scotland, crusaders, more Knights, and even Kings themselves.
Of the women, I know they were housewives, mothers, as well as farmers and crafters of clothing and sustenance. There were glovemakers and singers, as well as Countesses and creators of peace through arranged marriages. And a concubine and a mistress. One woman named Alice, whose lineage is unknown to historians, was married to John Eaton in Watertown, MA. She was seen with great respect by the town for her husband had some weakness, some life affliction that kept him not always in his right mind. And she managed the house and went to the authorities when others tried to take advantage of him and his fortunes. It is sad to me that her name is not known, but what strength of character she must have had. That strength flows in me.
Out of the names I know and the information I have as to their geographic location, my cultural lineage in order of dominance is English, American, French, Dutch, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Norman, Germanic, and Polish. I think of that bloodline, that DNA in me, like a river that streams, that ebbs and flows, whose volume and currents will change as more information is made available to me.
I call to my ancestors, the known among the bloodline and the others whose spirits answer to these names, yet unknown: Albertse, Andrews, Art, Atherton, Auckland, Bailey, Baldwin, de Banastre, Barnes, Bassett, Beaman, de Beauchamp, de Beaumont, Beck, de Bellews/Beaulieu, Berry, Bird, Birdsall, Blois, Bondt, Boots, Borden, Botetourt, Boutell, Brereton, Brigham, Briscoe, Brock, de Brus, Bryan, Burke, Burnah, Bursell, Burzee, Calhoun, Canfield, Capen, Chaffe, Channon, Charland, Clapp, Clickner, Clitheroe/de Clitheroe, Coe, Coleman, Conners, Conyers, Cooke, Corbet, Corbman, Cornelisse, Coulon, Crane, Cressett, Crosby, Davis, Deblois dit Gregoire, Dell, Dighton, de Dive, Dixon, Domett, Dow, Dowd, Downing, Dubois, Durant, Dutcher/De Duyster/De Duitscher, Dyer, Eastman, Eaton/de Eaton, Emett, Enberg, Erkells, Evans, Fafard, Feagles, Field, Fitch, Fitzalan, Fitzbaldric, Fitzharding, Fitzotes, Fitzrobert, Fitzthomas, Fitzwilliam, Flaad, Ford/Fford/de Ford, Foster, Freemillion, Furnival, Gay, Gibbs, Gillette/Gillett/Gylette/de Gylette, Gilson, Goedemoet, Gordon, Goode, Goodere, Goodwin, Gould, Gower, de Grammaire, de Grandmesnil, de Gras, Green, Groves, Gruier, Gunn, Hakins, Halsey, Hannah, Hanniford, Harblutt, Hawley, de Hedsin, Hemenway, Hertford, Hill, Holbrook, Holland, Honor, de Houghton, Hoyt, Hussey, Ireland, Jennery, Jones, Kelsey, Kempe, Kendall, Kittredge, Knowles, La Groves, de Lancaster, LaRoche, LaValley/Lavalle/Lavallee, Lamorel, de Lancaster, Lane, Langevin, de Lea, Lesueur/Le Sueur/Lozier/De Lozier/Delozier, Lemonier, Lenton, Leroux, De Leuchars, Lillie, Lunt, Lusk, Lyon, Machet, de Maeschines, Manningford, Manningham, Marsh, Marshall, Masters, Merchant, Mestre, Meunier dit Lemonier, Michel, Morgan, Moulton, Nichols, Norton, Nunwicke, Paine, Palmer, Paquet/Paquet dit Lavallee, Parker, Pearson, Perry, Pietersen, Pils, Pond, Pye, de Qunicy, Raymond, Reeve, Richardson, Riddle/Ridel/Riddell, Rolfe, Ruston, de Saint Liz/Senlis, Sallee, Sallows, Savage, de Say, Schmeelk, Sears/Sayer, Seubering, Sherborne, Skiff, Slote, Smith, Sotheron, de Spendler,
St. Philibert, de Stafford, Stanley, Stapleton/de Stapleton, Starr, de Stuteville/de Estuteville, Sutton, de Swynnerton, Talbott/de Tallebot, Talmage, Tempest, Tenney, Terhune, Thurgood, Tibou, Tobey, de Tonge, de Tosny, Townsend, Treadwell, Ufflete/de Ufflete, de Upton, De Valognes, Van der Linde, Van Deusen, Van Gelder, Van Vorhees, Vose, Waddington, Walker, Ward, de Warenne, Washburn, de Wath, Watson, Wattes, Wheeler, Whitcher/Whittier/Whytear, Wicker/Whicker, Williams, Wilson, Withington, Wolfe, Woodhall, Woodward, Wrottesley, Wyatt, Zabriskie


  1. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much. It amazes me, the way I see my genealogy work changing and becoming more layered as it evolves.


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