Ancestral Guilt

Are the people today guilty of what other people did in the past?

Kim Vansant


Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I don’t care if it’s ancient past or recent. Is my child automatically a bad person because their parent, grandparent, or great aunt, once removed, was associated with a time in history that they had no control over?

Short answer. NOPE.

My mom did the family tree-I watched, listened, and occasionally helped her research it for years. We would sit at the kitchen table and talk about various subjects, and genealogy was a topic that came up often.

Mom researched the old-fashioned way at first, tracking down birth and death certificates and cemetery records. The internet has made it more accessible. She found journals and diaries, newspaper clippings. She connected with distant relatives via snail mail, phone calls, emails, and social media, which is still ongoing today.

We had heroes and a horse thief in our family tree.

Photo by Edvard Alexander Rølvaag on Unsplash

My grandma’s brother Eugene died on the beaches of Normandy. Another great uncle was killed when his plane was hit in WW2; we had a letter that he wrote before his flight.

I remember a copy of a newspaper clipping of an uncle/cousin (so many times removed) Rem in the Civil War on how he led a charge before being killed on the battlefield.

Most of my ancestors were just hard-working people living and getting by day by day, just like you and me today.

My family came from a white European background: Irish, Welsh, German, and Dutch.

Mom traced us; supposedly, we are unofficial/qualified to be members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I think Mom had all the data needed to prove it, but she didn’t, and I don’t care enough to find it again, as when she died, Dad threw so much stuff in the garbage before we had a chance to rescue it. Dad had dementia.

It doesn’t matter.

There were no slave owners in our family history. Mom found information that our ancestors helped and fought to free slaves. Without looking at the family…



Kim Vansant

Homesteader, gardener, chicken tender-er, feral cat whisperer.