It’s pretty easy to connect with a first generation of ancestors. Normally there are memories, pictures, possessions, and documents. The hardest thing about making and celebrating these connections is our perspective and personal relationships we had with the deceased.
The second generation generally has fewer memories, usually fewer pictures and possessions, but the documentation might increase. Kindred can be found on such things as census records, Social Security Index and military records.
A third generation of kinfolk has even fewer, if any memories available and you’re lucky to possess something they owned. Records and documents are still readily available and searching for your kindred can be exciting, even addicting.
Looking for the fourth tier of kindred dead and beyond, makes one grateful for the internet and the ease of searching all kinds of records like immigration, census, wills, and deeds. The practice of burial with headstones is much appreciated for it is there you find proof of their existence. It’s common to learn birth and death dates. On a really good day of research you might find other family members in the same cemetery.
Our parents had parents. Their parents had parents and the pattern is repeated. They are like an infinite to us. Our ancestors existed, regardless of our ignorance of them. Discovering them and learning about the circumstances of the times and places they lived can expand our thoughts, imagination and compassion. They, like us, were and are fellow travelers in this journey through life. Recognizing they had hardships and challenges can help us try to do our best on our own paths.