I received this question from Abby, a student of my Intuitive Awakening course:

“After my father passed away last year, I became really interested in my ancestry.

As part of my genealogical research, I found out that I come from one of the very first settler families to come over to the USA in the 1600’s. I traced my family line back to the 1500s in England and became fascinated by them. Through collecting hundreds of years’ worth of documents, I learned about their lives, including their occupations, dowries, and divorces. I became very attached to this project and even imagined what they might have looked like.

My question is the following: do our ancestors (i.e. the people that we share DNA with) have any connection to our souls? Are lineages important to our souls? Or, when we decide to reincarnate, do we “shrug off” previous lifetime biological connections?” -Abby

Hi Abby,

This is such an interesting question!

I’ve heard lots of stories like this, where people do genealogical research and feel a spiritual connection with one or two ancestors, or even have strange dreams, synchronicities and signs involving their ancestors.

For example, when my mother was doing genealogical research several years back, I had a dream with a sense of unease to it – that one of our ancestors was disturbed and ‘turning in their grave’. My mother later told me that at that time she had found out something scandalous in the family history that my grandmother (and possibly our other ancestors) did not want us to know about.

Another interesting anecdote that comes to mind is when I stayed in a holiday home in the Scottish Highlands last autumn. It was a cute little place that had nautical themed décor and an old painting of a ship in a storm hanging in the living room that just drew me to it.

I couldn’t stop looking at the painting.

When I asked the owner about it she told me a cool story…

She was writing a book about her father, who was a famous Scottish artist. As part of this, she employed a genealogist to track the family tree back as far as possible.

The genealogist discovered that her great, great, great grandfather was a Corsican who was volunteered by his family at 12 years old to join the British Royal Navy. His name was Antonio.

Like you, Abby, she was fascinated with her ancestor and she spent a lot of time reading up on how life might have been for him at sea as a 12-year-old. She looked up pictures of the various ships he might have been on and even imagined what he might have looked like.

Then one day she was browsing in a little antique store that had just opened in the next town when she was immediately drawn to an 1810 painting that was hanging on the back wall of the shop. It was a painting of a ship in a hurricane, near Port Louis, Mauritius. She thought it looked like the sort of ship her ancestor Antonio might have sailed in.

When she looked into it, she was astounded to realize – it WAS an actual ship Antonio had sailed in. According to the naval records, Antonio was in the battle of Port Louis in 1810 and was one of the few survivors of that storm.

Not Antonio’s ship…just a random painting of a ship in a storm!

So was this just a coincidence?

How did a picture of Antonio’s stormy journey on that ship make its way to his descendant – and in an antique store in a little Highland town a couple of hundred years later? (and just around the time she had been researching him?)

I believe that when we do research into our ancestors, their soul becomes aware of it – it’s like being ‘pinged’ spiritually and they may respond by coming into our dreams, sending us little signs and even coming through in mediumship readings.

So what is the spiritual connection between us and our ancestors?

We have a soul connection with our ancestors mostly in the sense that they have a hand in setting up the familial circumstances for us to incarnate into.

I believe that before we are even born, our soul decides on what we want to experience and learn during the upcoming incarnation. And as part of that, we choose the body, family and location that are perfect for what we want to learn and experience.

So you selected your family (and your ancestry) Abby based on what your soul needs and wants in this lifetime, and your ancestors were the architects of those circumstances, to some extent.

Now let’s go back in time….  

Let’s imagine that a person who lived a few hundred years ago in your family, let’s call her Sarah, had a very difficult lifetime. Perhaps Sarah was born into a violent home with a lot of problems and not much love.

Let’s imagine that when Sarah had an opportunity to leave home and marry, she decided to marry someone who she felt would be able to give her children a different family experience from the one she had had.  And she knew she would not bring up her children from a place of harshness. It took a lot of courage and sacrifice to give her children what she never had, but she turned it around and her children inherited love (mostly), not abuse or dysfunction. This was Sarah’s life work and what a turning around of difficult circumstances. Well done Sarah!

As Sarah, wouldn’t you be interested to take a peek and see what your descendants do with that legacy?

This is what our ancestors do. They are interested.

We inherit things from them – things that were interwoven with their own journey here on earth. And then we get to play with those things. We can inherit a background of love that we need for a particular lifetime. We can also inherit hard experiences, such as abandonment, abuse, or grief.  Sometimes it can be material legacies that are passed down through generations. Other times it is practical skills that are passed down.

We even inherit their physical issues.

Recent discoveries in the field of epigenetics have shown that the effects of our ancestors’ experiences and traumas (such as famines) may also live within our own bodies and nervous systems once we incarnate.

A well-known example is that of descendants of Holocaust survivors, who have different levels of certain stress hormones in their bodies than other Jewish people who did not have ancestors who experienced the Holocaust. As a result, ancestors of Holocaust survivors are more prone to anxiety disorders.

In this way, the impact of past events can be felt across generations, not just through the familial scenarios that are passed through from one generation to the next, but also in the neurochemicals that are coursing through our blood.

But whatever it is they pass down to us, I believe our ancestors are often a little bit invested in us and our story. And when we research them and look into their story, their soul becomes aware of it, and so the interest is going two ways, even though we’ve never met in the physical.

Our ancestors can also root for and look out for us, in much the same way as deceased loved ones do. In many cases, they want us to heal or resolve any family issues that affect us. So ancestral spirits are more likely to show up around not just those who are doing genealogical research but also around people like Sarah (from my example), who is on a path of healing family of origin issues, and engaged in turning that lineage around.

Do you have any interesting stories or synchronicities to share about your ancestors?