Blog #8 (Part 1): Finding Your Family
Do you have a famous Revolutionary War hero or perhaps a matriarch from the old country who led the fight for better hospital conditions in your family history?
Genealogy and family history are as popular as they have ever been. With the popularity of DNA and ancestry match services, one can explore areas from the past and get clues where to continue the historical hunt. It is a thrill to find these family connections to a shining past. It makes you sit up straighter, walk a little taller; but let’s not forget about the discovery of those in the family that did not choose a path of virtue. It is hard to learn about an unfaithful father seven generations ago who left ten kids and later the records show he became a common criminal and died penniless alone in prison. A situation like that makes me wince and feel pity and anger at the same time.
There is also another category that EACH and EVERY one of us has in our family histories. Some more recent than others and even some families are facing it worldwide currently… SLAVERY.
Let me please make a point that I believe God placed on my heart and this is in no way to be political. When I mention slavery as an American, we automatically think about slavery in this country. It is natural but please let me explore the issue deeper. I hope when you read this blog you will agree that this has been handled “apolitical” which means “without political attitudes, content, or bias.” Ultimately those that read this piece will be the judge at which time I hope to receive some comments and/or shares.
Slavery has been on the world stage from early history as soon as nations and groups began to exert their power over those who could not defend themselves, were defeated in war, or were negotiated against. There is NO ethnic group, territorial tribe group, or religious people that have been immune from the grip of slavery at some point in human history. I have enjoyed the study of history and archaeology but I did not consider how common and widespread slavery was for thousands and thousands of years. I definitely now see the shortcomings of my thought process in the evaluation of these societies during their rise and fall of power. In reading the Bible and other historic documents you can discover the massive numbers of slaves that were controlled by the Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrians, and Persian Empires during the ancient world days. They would win battles and take over great areas of land and their people. The Israelites also participated in slavery. Let us not forget about the places in other parts of the world during the life of Christ and during the next millennium that were conquered and the people enslaved throughout the Roman, Greek, and Ottoman Empires along with every region of Europe in the Dark and Middle Ages. In continuing our global travel, we can mention that the hand of the powerful among the Asian continent and the subcontinent of India have had a prolific history with slavery. To finish the sweep we go over to South America where slavery was active in all early cultures.
There is no doubt in the Colonial Era that Africa was a common target for the West and Near East for slave labor. The days of conquering a people through military force for the purpose of slave labor was diminishing but the “new age slavery” (my quote) had only just begun. This new age is built on the premise of an exchange of something of “value” for a commodity – a human. As warped and evil as that sounds, it is what history shows.
If 1900 can be considered the start of the Modern Era, then we can point to all the forced labor (SLAVERY) that continued to exist during the reign of sanctioned and official governments worldwide. I cannot even stop there with the cold war, iron curtain and mysterious third world Asian continent. How about TODAY? The evil of slavery is still with us today. It is estimated to be over 30 million people worldwide in forced labor and prostitution. That is a lot of family history that is disgusting and shattered. Sadly, there are many places in this whole wide world where genealogy is not an activity of wonderment. There are long-term scars with short-term life spans. Who wants to discover that? We all should. SHINE THE LIGHT! I pray for fathers and mothers everywhere to have a righteous anger of protection for their families.
To finish this blog “part 1”, I want to say that you and I do not have control of what our family history looks like, but we sure have control of what our individual history looks like and trust me someone several generations down the road will be studying us and making judgments on our character. I pray every day that mine is Christ-like and pleasing to Him.
TO BE CONTINUED….In January, after the holidays.