Mar 06

Descended from Royalty?

Today, purely for research purposes, I took one of those online quizzes. It was entitled, “What Famous Person Were You in a Past Life?” I got Kurt Cobain as my result, which was weird because we were both alive at the same time. Maybe I should try tracing my ancestry back to Cleopatra, instead.

Michelangelo, Cleopatra

  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas
where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.
Published before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.

Why is it, when people research their blood lines or ponder reincarnation, the idea of being related to someone royal (or otherwise super-ultra noteworthy) so often comes up? If, in our past lives, we were all Joan of Arc and King Tutankhamun (or Jesus Christ–it’s apparently a “thing”), what about the Jane Smiths and John Johnsons who were planting crops in fields or toiling away in dusty factories?

We had a major artist in the family, if you go back a ways…

Image via pixabay/janeb13

Same thing usually goes for ancestors, although I assume most of mine were more peasant types than royalty. *Sorry–sidenote: this whole royalty vs. peasant sort of dichotomy keeps pushing a Monty Python scene into my head. You know the one, don’t you? From The Holy Grail? (Here’s a three-minute clip, for your viewing pleasure.)

Necessary digression, but as I was saying, I’m okay with run-of-the-mill ancestors (or pre-lives, if there have been those). I say that, but I have to add, is anyone really run-of-the-mill anything? We’re all different, all unique. I sound like I’m about to break into poetry or song, but I mean it. All those lives–the ones that have come before ours, no matter how they’re connected to us–are valuable. We wouldn’t be here without them, would we? Hopefully, you’ll find some worth in that idea, if nowhere else.

Statue of Liberty with Ellis Island in the background, New York

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Carol M. Highsmith

I’m going to give you a for instance. My great-grandmother, who died before I was born, grew up on a farm in Ireland. She and her family lived in a thatched cottage, but she left home, most likely due to the scarcity of jobs and because her family had so many mouths to feed. At age seventeen, she made the long journey by ship to the US on her own. If the documents I’ve found are correct, she was coming over with the intention of working as a servant. She went on to marry (twice–her first husband died) and have six children. She ran a boarding house and her second husband (my grandmother’s father) owned a little grocery store. From arriving with next to nothing, they built lives. Simple lives, to be sure, but worthy ones. They raised a family, they worked hard. There is value in this. They may not have contributed to the world on a grand scale, but they did their part right where they were.

I can only imagine what my ancestors–or, maybe, past incarnations–were like, but I try, sometimes. I like to think about the people who were connected to me–recently, and as far back as my brain can allow. I like to think of them talking together, working with their hands, raising children, caring for one another when they were sick. I like to think of the love they–hopefully–shared with one another. I like to think this love came to me, along with their DNA.

None of these people are related to me (I mean, you never know…)

Image via pixabay/ArtsyBee

Anyway, I may not have royal blood …unless you count that my lineage goes back to a certain High King of Ireland, but who’s counting? (Hint: Ireland has had many kings–and queens–throughout history.)

I’m proud of my ancestors, plain though they may have been, and I’m grateful for their contributions. Besides, as far as reincarnation goes, I’m pretty sure I was Martha Washington’s neighbor’s sister’s cat sitter, so I have that going for me. If anyone else has the same thought, I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to let go of that one. I hear Napoleon is up for grabs.

*Just for fun, here’s a link I came across showing a chicken dressed up like Napoleon. I prefer Jackie Onassis and live chickens, but whatever. Wow, Smithsonian, I thought my posts got a little weird sometimes…



  1. Ok I loved it, and yes you ARE just like Kurt Cobain so I’m afraid that stands. And a thatched cottage for your grandmother! Wow. Also, thanks for napolean chicken

    1. Thanks so much, Walker! I’m taking the Cobain thing as a compliment. Fun fact: I once had a dream about him and what kind of crazy, rock star thing did we do? Hung out, discussing gardening. We should have at least dressed up chickens. Thanks for reading!

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