Family history

It’s surprising how easy it is to lose our connection with the past. The TV programme Who do you think you are, which traces the family history of celebrities, shows how difficult it is to find relatives from the past.

I can only vaguely remember my grandparents on my father’s side, but that’s as far as it goes.

The only snippet of information I have beyond that is from a conversation with my father not long before he passed away. He was trying to work out how I had become so interested in religion. He said that that it must have come from his side of the family because they used to call his grandfather the pope!

I tried to probe further, but all my father would say is that his grandfather was nicknamed the pope because of his religious fervour!

Since then I’ve always wanted to trace my family history and felt even more motivated since watching Who do you think you are on TV.

Like the celebrities on that programme, I’m sure I’d get a few surprises and discover relatives I never knew I had. But I wonder what I’d find out if I went back many generations in my family history?

Apparently, scientists have done just that and traced back the ancestry of the human race to a very small number of people. So, according to their research, I have close relatives all around the world!

While these relatives may look very different to me on a racial level, scientists have found that this dissolves when you probe beneath the skin. Because DNA studies have revealed that 99.9 per cent of the human genes are the same in everyone.

Unfortunately, what has been proven in the laboratory, about humanity being just one family, is not yet accepted socially. And that’s because the barriers of race, nation, religion and colour have divided us up and prevented the unification of the human family.

Yet, over 100 years ago, Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, made a statement that cuts through these barriers to unity when He wrote: “There can be no doubt whatever, that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God.”

So even if I never get any further with my family tree, there’s one thing that both science and religion can tell me about my relatives  – that regardless of race or creed, we really are all kin beneath the skin.   

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