If You’re Pagan And You Know It… You Worship Your Ancestors.

Most of the blogs that I follow are pagan in nature. In fact, I’d have to say about 98% of the E-mails I get, alerting me to blog updates, have something to do with a pagan lifestyle. And as time goes by and I read all of these blogs, I’ve noticed that a consistent part to everyone’s myriad of practices is a deep connection with their ancestors; ancestor veneration. I’ve come to believe that I associate most pagan religions with ancestor veneration. Kemetic paths calls for it; Vodun paths call for it; Nordic paths call for it; and then there are just the history buffs who are on a conglomerate path that just want to get down and dirty with their family trees. Honestly, I’m beginning to wonder if ancestor veneration can be the first real tenet to defining “pagan.” But that’s a different post.

And I’m distracting myself.

So, all of these blogs have gotten into their family trees. In particular, Camylleon, at her cave has been posting weekly (or is it bi-weekly?) articles about little blips that she’s learned during her intense genealogical search. And it’s really become clear to me that this is rapidly becoming the norm in pagan society. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are pagans-only genealogy groups out there. But, what I’m really getting at is that this is something I’d like to try my hand at. I’m a failure at history (since I have pretty much decided I will never go back to college and get that fucking degree) so why not try failing at genealogy?

And honestly, yes. Failure it is.

I have no idea where to start! I mean, I have websites that I’ve gone to and all of that, but I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what links I should be clicking on. I don’t know what I’m looking for on these sites or how to connect with people (without sounding like an idiotic robot with confidence issues) about any of this. I don’t really know what I’m doing. I have a general idea of the outcome I’m looking for: stories, birth and death records, blowing past my mom’s research and into a realm unbeknownst to us before, and maybe learning about my bio-father and his heritage.


I don’t know. I just don’t know.


17 thoughts on “If You’re Pagan And You Know It… You Worship Your Ancestors.

  1. I’ve been doing some research into my own genealogy and my own ancestors, as well as the ancestors of my foster and adoptive families. I’ve used ancestry.com to get a start on the process by getting some idea as to where my name comes from.

    My biological last name is the name of a small Shire in Yorkshire. For me that showed me that I clearly have distinctly English heritage. I did further research which lead me to learn about the Anglo conquest of that area. That pursued me even further to research Anglo-Saxon and Germanic paganism.

    I have heard a bit about people hiring private investigators to help gather records. However I have no idea how expensive that would be so I haven’t gone there yet.

    The more information you have to begin your quest the easier it will be.

    • With my mom’s side of the family, I have a lot of information at my disposal IF I can coerce my uncle into giving it up. He’s got the family version of the Holy Bible: my mom had started this work when I was in high school. When she got to a dead-end, he took over since he had more time and energy to do so. Plus, he had been taking my grandfather to the myriad of gravesites in our family for years at that point, so it seemed like a good person to pick up the pieces. However, he’s maniacal about that damn book and since there’s only the *one* copy, he won’t give it up. I was able to see it in passing once.

      So, if I can get that…

      My sperm donor’s family? HA! I know his name, his wife’s name, and my little sister’s name. I know nothing else. So that’s pretty much a need in a haystack.

  2. I WILL HELP YOU! I consider myself a missionary for the Ancestors. I can’t do all the work, but I’ll gladly give you tips, hold your hand, teach you the ropes, yadayadayada…

    Where to start? At the beginning. With your parents, your grandparents. Get the birth certificates…that’ll give you the parent names…the death certificates…


    Each layer you’ll discover a new branch, a new generation of people. There are shortcuts and ways around roadblocks, too. Just start. That’s the first step!

    • I can just go to the City Hall and look at the birth certificates, right? My grandmother was born here (as far as I know) so she’ll be easy to find. My grandfather comes from NH so that I would have to look online.

      As for my sperm donor, I don’t even know where he was born. I think here and I can look if/when I go to City Hall to find my grandmother’s birth certificate. I’d ask my mother about him, but he’s a sore subject. :/

  3. I’m lucky in that most of my family tree stuff has been compiled already by other interested family members- I just need to organize it. (My aunt decided in her infinite wisdom to organize over 100 years worth of people by birth day and month. …)

    I haven’t used it myself, but my family has had a lot of good things to say about ancestry.com. Good luck!

    • My mom’s family is done up. She gave me a copy of the tree.

      My problem is my bio-dad. I know his name and nothing else. I checked ancestry but didn’t get any hits on him.

  4. My best suggestion would be to go to your local library. Most all libraries have full access to Ancestry.com. If you know the names and birth dates (even just approximately) of your grandparents you can research their parents and so on.

    Also, due to Mormon religious beliefs they have amazing genealogical records and can be most helpful.

    Also, when finding my mum’s biological mother, I found Surname forums to be most helpful.

  5. Honestly? Start with your parents. Get their family. Then their parents. Get their family. So on and so forth. Eventually you may need to go digging about, but ask your family, often enough, an older relative has already done much of the work, or knows where you need to go.

    • I’ve got my mom’s side. She had started this project when I was in high school before my uncle took over. So they’re fairly decently known. I know there were places they were stuck with one familial line that’s dear to me (since I was named for it). I also know that they were stuck on Native Americans in the fam. They exist; we just don’t know the tribe.

      My HUGE issue is my bio-father. I only have his name.

  6. Ancestors do not necessarily correlate with bloodline family.
    So I didn’t bother with research (besides the family tree my maternal grandmother made years ago and that reaches back about 7 or 8 generations on her side.)

    The Ancestors I honor are within me, may the be of kin or kind. Basically we are all related to each other anyway. For my personal practice I don’t need to know all the details of the closer relatives.

    FWIW, just in case you don’t find the information you’re looking for. ;)

  7. I know a really good pro genaeologist if you decide to hunt down bio ancestors. However, i’d second what Tana said earlier – not all ancestors are biological – it might be worth doing a bloodwalking to get some clues if you don’t feel a connection with bio relatives.

  8. Pingback: Honouring Kin and Ancestor Worship | Writings of a Pagan Witch

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