I Dream of Ancestors

by reknapp


Artist: Christer Karlstad 

Have you ever dreamed about your ancestors? I frequently dream about my paternal grandmother who passed in 2004. However, since deeply researching my genealogy I have dreamed of ancestors I never met.

The first dream was about my Polish ancestors. In this particular dream I was in a small house in Poland. There was straw all over the floor – this was not a modern day house – it felt 19th century. Five or six men and women were sitting in chairs and talking to me in my dream version of Polish (I am not fluent, so I can only assume my brain created it’s own version of Polish). I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and they were trying so hard to communicate with me!

In my genealogy research I had recently discovered unknown Jewish ancestry. My dream self  took one of my ancestors by the shoulders asking, “Who was Jewish? What happened?” My ancestors continued speaking in Polish and I still could not understand. At this point I woke up. I have not dreamed of my Polish ancestors since, though I do hope they visit again.

The next ancestor dream took place while researching my Sardinian ancestry.


Location of Sardinia

The Sardinian ancestors are my last big brick wall. I am faced with the same challenge I had with my Czech (Bohemian) ancestors: searching an entire country for my ancestors. After two years I found my Czechs, and now I am taking on Sardinia. My great great great grandpa Francesco Capelli arrived in Pennsylvania 8 Nov 1858 (according to naturalization records) with his wife (named either Angela or Martina) and my 4 year old great great grandpa Giovanni Francesco Capelli.

I am all to aware that what I see right before sleep greatly influences what I dream about. One tactic I hoped would narrow down the Capelli origins in Sardinia was a surname frequency map. Capelli was overwhelmingly found in northern Italy, but had a presence in Sardinia as well. That night I dreamed my great great grandpa Giovanni (my dream self seemed to know it was him and not Francesco) pointing to a zoomed-in map of Sardinia (like google maps, ancestor style!)


Giovanni, who went by John in America, pointed to Nuoro on the map and said the family was from there. I am sure while pouring over maps my brain logged Nuoro, but I think having your ancestor point it out to you in a dream is pretty darn cool. It is going to be even cooler to see if he was right! Stay tuned, I am just as curious as you are.


Many beautiful faces of Sardinia

My latest ancestor dream took place not long ago, and left me feeling peaceful and happy from the moment I awoke. This dream took place in Ireland, I was waiting for a train to pick me up in Dublin so I could visit a massive cemetery. While waiting for the train I ate a cheese sandwich in the station and shared information about my ancestors. As is common in dreams, I was suddenly transported to the most magical bright green valley where sheep grazed and a stone house stood. There a man came out and told me our ancestors had lived there for 10,000 years. He left me with a big toothy grin before I woke up. Nooooo, my mind said, please let’s go back to that peaceful place! Of course that did not happen, but it was a wonderful way to start my day.


Ireland ( National Geographic)

I haven’t tried to decode my dreams or assign them a deeper philosophical/spiritual meaning other than what I experienced: dreams of ancestors.

They have been simply lovely.