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Family Roots

A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 ESV

I have lately been fingering my way through a genealogy. Given to me years ago, it chronicles the story of the Saxton clan’s arrival in America, first in Massachusetts, and then in Upstate New York. It begins with George Saxton, who, in the 1600’s, choose the wrong side of the Cromwell Rebellion and was forced to flee England. It ends, for me at least, with the birth of my Grandmother in 1889. I am in it but only as a footnote. Alas, a footnote.

Most entries are simple. He was born and then he died. She married, gave birth to these children and then she died. The reward of such a study though, are the snippets along the way that are a bit longer and more in depth. Such as, “Delia Saxton Palmer left Frederick, walking home from Elks Creek the morning after her wedding night.” Or, “a limb fell on John Saxton on April 1st, 1821, calling him away to mingle with his native clay.” But the one that caught my attention was an entry concerning my, great, great grandfather, James W. Saxton. He was the second son born to Simeon and Amelia Saxton in 1835 but he was not the first to be named James W. His younger brother died six months before he was born and bore the same name. To name a second son with the exact same name is an odd thing indeed. What would cause the mother to do this? Was there something in the death of her first-born son that disturbed her? Perhaps a tragic death. Possibly, she was to blame. We can only speculate.

Now whether you go in for such things, the study of ancestry I mean, the truth is we are all connected to a flow of life from long ago. There is no escaping it. We all inherited stuff from folks we never met and never will. We must all deal with the truth that what is in us, we got from birth not choice. You see, the great genealogy of man tracks back farther than the book on the Saxtons. The Bible declares that all of our roots traced back to the first Adam and as a result we were all born in a condition called sin. This the great reality that must be faced.

We cannot choose our origins, but we can decide our destiny. Through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross we can be free from sin’s penalty and power. Have you claimed Him today? Then walk in the freedom of a new family line.

This poem was included in the Saxton genealogy; “If you could see your ancestors, all standing in a row, there might be some of them perhaps you wouldn’t care to know. But here’s another question which requires a different view, if you could meet your ancestors, would they be proud of you!”

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