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Ancestors’ Influence on Our Lives

Our Ancestors’ Influence in Our Lives

Grandparents’ Wedding Photos

Edith & John Stanerson, 1918

Lillian & Martin Bjelland, 19–

I’ve always believed that we carry traces of our ancestors' habits, preferences, and traditions, regardless of whether we're first-generation Americans or further down the line. For instance, my husband, a first-generation Chinese-American, has an innate understanding of Feng Shui, passed down through generations. I remember when his father visited a house we were buying and remarked, "Too many doors. Chi will go out." It's a memory that brings a smile to my face now, but it taught me a valuable lesson. My husband also prepares traditional Cantonese dishes, and we honor family events on his side with cultural touches.

I believe this transcends nationality for all immigrants. Our parents encouraged us to embrace American culture while retaining elements of our homeland. Sometimes, we may not even realize the significance of a particular tradition until we delve into our ancestry. For example, does the meal we eat on a holiday mirror what our grandparents served? 

The Stanerson Family (our mother is the young girl in front)

The Bjelland Family (our dad is on the left end of the back row)

This concept of familiarity also extends to settlement patterns, particularly among Scandinavians, as I discussed in the "Tracing Our Roots" post. They often settled in areas reminiscent of their homeland, whether for the climate or agricultural opportunities.

Personally, I have a deep interest in my heritage, evident in the name and focus of our business. Visiting Norway has always felt like returning home, a connection I've felt since my first trip in 1986. I've delved into extensive ancestry research, partly sparked by watching the show Vikings, which I'll discuss in a future post.

Through our blog, we aim to share our knowledge, experiences, and discoveries. We pass down traditions to our children, fostering a sense of pride in our heritage and ensuring its continuation for future generations. We invite you to share your own traditions in the comments below.

The Bjelland Family (before our kids had spouses and kids)

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