For what would you give your life? This existence as we know it. For some it may be their family. For others it may be their country. An idea perhaps... a belief... or issue that is priority for ones life, may head the list. We would probably choose not to think about it, but our ancestors often did.
Asking what did our ancestors give their life for, will often help us understand their life, and at times help us get around some of those brick walls. It was not until I started asking these types of questions to my ancestors, that I got help getting the connections across the big pond.
My genealogy research had led me to the shores of Virginia. The folks there had made their way across this big pond prior to 1650. How in the world do you climb out the correct branch across all this water? Why did they come? What forces or events made them risk their lives on this difficult and trying adventure. [ I am sure that not all would have considered it an adventure!]
I had also spent years on the other side of the pond looking for connections. A common bond, a common life event, a common experience that might put some of these folks into the same boat.
The English Civil War was such an event. [1638-1660 depending on who's side you read.] This complex, social, political, religious, cultural series of events cost many their lives and fortunes. It was this time in my family that they were basically forced to leave their home...to get on those boats...and cross the great pond. It was a good thing for me that not all gave their life.
What about your ancestors?