Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Extra! Extra! Christy made the papers!

On Sept. 21, I interviewed with a reporter from The Arizona Republic newspaper, which is carried online as AZcentral. This is the article that was published on Sept. 25 (that I only found today, Sept. 30). 

When I was in high school, I was a teen correspondent for The Arizona Republic and its afternoon sister, The Phoenix Gazette, and wrote numerous articles about my school and classmates. During college, I sold a feature article to their Sunday magazine.

The current article by Sonja Haller refers to Rev. Nathaniel Jenkins, who was an advocate for religious liberty. Some records say I'm descended from him, but when I match up the "daughter" I'm descended from, it looks more like his granddaughter that he may have adopted or raised. I hope the Genealogy Roadshow people will figure out the connection, so I applied to be on the PBS television show when they come to the Southwest US in December 2015. 

This is the Rooting for Ancestors blog article on Rev. Jenkins: http://rootingforancestors.blogspot.com/2015/01/nathaniel-jenkins-another-brick-in-wall.html

And this is The Arizona Republic article on me, his 12th-generation descendant. A screenshot of the article is shown below in case they archive the article.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Going back again for the first time

Chartley Castle, Staffordshire
© 2015 Christy K Robinson

I’ve noticed that when Americans and Canadians travel to the countries where most of their ancestors lived, we try to express the gut feeling of when we set foot there for the first time. We may be out on the airport tarmac sniffing jet exhaust, or riding an air-conditioned tour bus across the countryside, stepping out of a car and catching the scent of flowers and mowed hay, or standing on the deck of a ferry in the Irish Sea, but we smell “home.” We feel “home.” It’s a visceral tie to the land.

We may have read classic literature, mined the internet, or seen films and documentaries of the place, and dreamed of visiting there. But when we actually arrive, it’s a feeling that’s difficult to describe: peace, adventure, accelerated heartbeat, some psychic feeling that you are where you belong, or that you’re grafted back into the vine.

Maybe it’s a psychological reaction. Maybe it’s biological. Maybe it’s just a dream coming true. Maybe it’s an inherited memory, which scientists are saying can happen because our ancestors had a traumatizing event that changed their DNA.

Or maybe it’s a germ.

"A strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. And on top of that, this little bacterium has been found to improve cognitive function and possibly even treat cancer and other diseases." http://www.healinglandscapes.org/blog/2011/01/its-in-the-dirt-bacteria-in-soil-makes-us-happier-smarter/

"Cooks have another word for it. "Terroir" is what makes a loaf of sourdough from San Francisco taste so different from its cousin in Bordeaux. The regional microbes, in the soil and air, impart their particular notes to the bread. You can taste terroir in your wine, your cheese, and even your chocolate -- all of which are produced with the help of specialized bacteria [Mycobacterium vaccae] that can vary from town to town." http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/how-to-get-high-on-soil/251935/

Myobacterium vaccae doesn't exactly relate to the "vacay" you took to visit the ancestral stomping grounds. The vaccae refers to cow pats in which it was first discovered. But it's a microbe that lives in soil where we live, and where our ancestors lived. Scientists are studying it because it can positively affect our physical and mental health. http://www.colorado.edu/today/2017/01/05/study-linking-beneficial-bacteria-mental-health-makes-top-10-list-brain-research

It’s not about real estate, or a pin on a Google or TripAdvisor map. What we feel is something that doesn’t change because of an earth mover cutting down a hill, or a nuclear power plant taking over the farms where our ancestors grew wheat or apples. When we stand on the grassy floor of a ruined abbey or the tiled floor of an 800-year-old cathedral, we feel that connection to the place, a reconciliation of the moment we were ripped away from our roots.
Tintagel, Cornwall

When we stand at the tomb of someone from our past, we realize that there was life here once, and there is again, in us. Here lived Love, Joy, Grief, Fear, Faith. 

Ancient languages like Hebrew are rich in visual images. Wrapped in the word shalom are meanings of peace, hello, goodbye, well-being, surely goodness and love (Psalm 23:6), wholeness, completeness, welfare, prosperity, and the deeply satisfied sigh, "Aaaagh." (Learned that from a rabbi!) 

And the magical feeling that we’ve come back to another home, a place where we truly belong. Go back to your roots, maybe for the first time.

You'll rediscover that feeling in the five-star book
 Effigy Hunter

Effigy Hunter will help fill in the gaps in your genealogical pedigree, as to where your medieval ancestors were buried, and if an effigy or brass still exists. It's also essential as an adventure travel guide when planning your trip to UK or Europe, because it shows both famous abbeys and churches, and small churches or ruins off the beaten path. Nine hundred names are charted in the book, and there are about 60 photos.


Christy K Robinson is the author of these highly rated books:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Strangers and pilgrims, travelers and sojourners

© 2015 Christy K Robinson

On this date 395 years ago, September 16, 1620, the ship Mayflower departed Plymouth, England for the New World, carrying 102 passengers. Two months earlier, the Speedwell had left Leiden, where the English separatists had lived for more than 10 years. The send-off letter was written by my 9th-great-grandfather, Rev. John Robinson, their minister. He stayed in Leiden, Netherlands, where he died in 1625 at age 49. Considering how extreme the Calvinist Puritan practices became in the next decades, it's amazing to see how reasonable, practical, loving, and outright kind he was.

Plaque on Pieterskerk Church in Leiden.
Photo: http://www.henkvankampen.com/the-pilgrim-fathers/
Part of his letter-sermon said that they must make every effort to be at peace with all men. This wasn't only about being at peace with God and themselves, nor was it sufficient to keep from being offensive to others, or to be careless in word or deed and then expect others to be gracious and forgiving. ("Chill! I was only joking! Can't you take a joke?") Rather, he says, think about the "strangers" among them --the people joining the expedition who were not part of their shared Christian fellowship in England and the Netherlands-- and remember to witness to them by "brotherly forbearance" and graciousness. In other words, show your Christianity by living it, not preaching it.
John Robinson's words: 
Now, next after this heavenly peace with God and our own consciences, we are carefully to provide for peace with all men what in us lieth, especially with our associates. And for that, watchfulness must be had that we neither at all in ourselves do give, no, nor easily take offense being given by others. Woe be unto the world for offenses, for though it be necessary (considering the malice of Satan and man's corruption) that offenses come, yet woe unto the man, or woman either, by whom the offense cometh, saith Christ, Matthew 18:7. And if offenses in the unseasonable use of things, in themselves indifferent, be more to the feared than death itself (as the Apostle teacheth, 1 Corinthians 9:15) how much more in things simply evil, in which neither honor of God nor love of man is thought worthy to be regarded. Neither yet is it sufficient that we keep ourselves by the grace of God from giving offense, except withal we be armed against the taking of them when they be given by others. For how unperfect and lame is the work of grace in that person who wants charity to cover a multitude of offenses, as the Scriptures speak!

But besides these, there are divers motives provoking you above others to great care and conscience this way: As first, you are many of you strangers, as to the persons so to the infirmities one of another, and so stand in need of more watchfulness this way, lest when such things fall out in men and women as you suspected not, you be inordinately affected with them; which doth require at your hands much wisdom and charity for the covering and preventing of incident offenses that way. And, lastly, your intended course of civil community will minister continual occasion of offense, and will be as fuel for that fire, except you diligently quench it with brotherly forbearance. 
You can read John Robinson's farewell letter to the Pilgrims at this site: http://www.revjohnrobinson.com/writings.htm 

The meme depicts the Pilgrims on board the Mayflower,
agreeing to the Mayflower Compact.

Christy K Robinson, 12 generations removed from Rev. John Robinson, is the author of five books, which you can find at these links: