Sunday, October 16, 2011

From the Shire

With persistence & stealth I have swung from branch to branch on the family tree that is my own.  Thanks to well-preserved records & historical documents down through the ages, I have been beneficiary of the equal persistence & stealth of others seeking to add foliage to our combined genealogies.  My discoveries thus far have left me mesmerized, amazed, humbled, starry-eyed and even more curious than ever before.

Today I want to share some fairly amazing limbs and the greenery that adorns them.

Long ago & far away - in the year 1535 A.D., in the land of Nottinghamshire (yes, THAT Nottingham of Robin Hood/Sherwood Forest) England - William Brewster was born.  His ancestry is well documented, dating even further back another seven generations to the year 1299 A.D, and to the birth of Sir John Brewster I - my own distant relative.

(Photo:  Sherwood Forest)

I cannot imagine, and yet imagine I must, what that William Brewster was all about.  Named after his father & grandfather, he met & married Mary Smythe, and together they bore at least eight (8) children:  Millicent, Benjamin, James, John, William, Edward, Prudence & Amy.   Separatists, their first & foremost love & loyalty rested upon the Lord and His word.

Millicent is my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother.  Down through those ten generations, her kin married the kin of the Eames, and they the kin of the Fords.  Ultimately a Ford married a Grinnell, and seven generations hence my mother - Helen Evelyn Grinnell - would be born.

William (another in the long line of "Williams") is the brother of Millicent & my 10th-great uncle.  He is none other than THE William Brewster of the Mayflower - - Chaplin aboard that vessel, and one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact.  Much is written by and about him, for his godly influence & impact have forever left their mark on this great nation, if not the establishment of the colonies & church in the days of our earliest settlement.

I realize we do not inherit faith, but today my curiosity has me wondering if anywhere along the way one of these prayed, as I do now, that they'd "leave a trail that honors my God and Lord; a trail I'd be proud to have anyone follow, but especially these beloved grandchildren." 

This is my own heart's desire.  Could it have been theirs?

A Stumbling Block or a Stepping Stone

Isn't it strange that Princes and Kings
And clowns who caper in stardust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

Each is given a set of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life has flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

~ Author Unknown


RCUBEs said...

That's a neat history...What a great gift it is: family from the Lord! I am grateful that He sees us not like the way men see us. Everyone counts and everyone is loved by Him. No bias.

Sonja said...

Powerful! Gave me chills. Just imagine, as your poem so beautifully says, that each of us, Kings or 'commoners'... are given this one life. How are we spending it? This goes into my 'keeper' file!

Rebecca said...

I am starting to see how fascinating tracing your family history can be!

Keep the cord of faith intact, Kathleen!

skoots1mom said...

Your writings continue their legacy of faith and love...I couldn't help but write an additional verse...hopefully it will make it to the end of poem for your 'keeper' file ;)

A Stumbling Block or a Stepping Stone

Isn't it strange that Princes and Kings
And clowns who caper in stardust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

Each is given a set of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life has flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Each step to make while choosing a path

One wide with less guidance
one narrow with faith.

Learning our legacy helps Him build

love throughout all generations
fulfilling His will.


Andrea said...

Amazing! I want to leave a "stepping stone" legacy for all my grandchildren. The power of one life lived in humble obedience to God creates a beautiful spiritual thread that speaks and lives.

I want to soak this in for a bit. Thanks, Kathleen! I always enjoy and learn from your wisdom!


Beth E. said...

Fascinating, indeed...I have thought about researching my family tree. This is wonderful!

myletterstoemily said...

you're related to william brewster of
the mayflower????? that is so cool.

they moved me from my old house.
hee hee.

myletterstoemily said...

i accidentally erased my first comment,
which is a mercy, because it was so

how amazing is it to trace your
ancestors to such illustrious people.
a wonderful heritage

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You're blazing an amazing trail, Sassy. For those who've come before you (and what a lot that is!) and for those who'll come behind, you have a sacred lineage, sister, that threads all the way back to Jesus. Me, too. So we're like sisters, right?


Terri Tiffany said...

Wow!! I can't imagine tracing family back so far and it would make you wonder who they were,what they are all about and where was their faith.

Peggy said...

That's so interesting to learn of your family's ancestry. And you have some interesting history-Sherwood Forest, no less. I would love to do that and I so want to leave a godly inheritance for my family.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I just read this short poem to my husband. We both agree that it is a powerful and thought provoking piece. Long, long ago, God knew that a "sassy granny" would be coming along, and He knew just how much He would use her, to bless and encourage so many. Thank you God for the amazing ways you work and for the spiritual lineage you continue to create. Makes me want to break into singing "Amazing Grace".

Cheryl Barker said...

Wow -- what an amazing ancestry! I think you're the only person I know who had relatives on the Mayflower. I like your thoughts about leaving a trail that will honor the Lord. A worthy trail for us all...

Fyi, Kathleen, I've got a giveaway going on right now. If you like Barnes & Noble, you might want to pop over to my blog and check it out :)

Nancy said...

You always leave us with so much to ponder and think about and this post is no exception....What an encourager you are to all of us....

This is an amazing story......"leave a trail that honors my God and Lord"...I love it.....just what I want to leave for my grandchildren and all that come afterwards....

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Your forefathers left quite a legacy of faith. It reminded me of Steve Green's song, "Find Us Faithful," which talks about leaving footsteps that lead them (children) to believe.

LisaShaw said...

My friend, I absolutely love this!

What a legacy and you are carrying it on...

I have been interested in researching my own roots if you will. I had begun something in 2009, I may return to that.

I felt like I was stepping back into another time with you. Amazing! I love the poem at the end!

Much love friend!

Saleslady371 said...

Thanks so much for sharing your family heritage with us, an important one at that. This is so interesting.

Ron aka TheOldGeezer said...

Amen! We'll never know how our legacy and prayers will effect future generations.

One thing I've noticed about people who do family genealogy searches is that they never find a monkey in their family tree... with the possible exception of Charles Darwin.

God bless and have a wonderful weekend :-)

*The Old Geezer Blog

beBOLDjen said...

How fascinating! What a rich history. Certainly you are adding to that wonderful heritage for your children and grandchildren and theirs to come.