Lineage: lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree.
synonyms: ancestry, parentage, birth, descent, line, genealogy, roots,
Lineage isn’t a word we use very often; it always makes me think of Jesus’ birth when Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census because he (Joseph) was of the “house and lineage of David.” There is a detailed account of the lineage of Jesus in Matt 1, but I doubt that many of us read the passage carefully. But we learn in this same passage that there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to Christ. (vs 17).
Biblical genealogies show us how important families are, tell us who can serve in specific roles (only descendants of Levi could serve in the temple), they are useful for prophecy (Jesus would be a descendant of both Abraham and David), and they help confirm the historical relevance and events of the Bible. They may not be a lot of fun to read, but they are an important part of our Bible.
Many people today spend a lot of time (and money) tracing their family tree. Companies make a living helping people with this adventure (like “ancestry.com”). I think it is both interesting and important to know where we came from to a point. I’m really not interested enough to pursue my ancestry beyond my great-grandparents. They are important to me because I knew and have memories of five of my eight great-grandparents (granted some memories are faint, but they’re still there). I was named after two of them, one of Mama’s grandfathers and one of Daddy’s; two of the five I remember. The last of my great-grandparents died after my oldest daughter was born and I’d like to tell you a little about her.
Mary Jane Roden Gilbreath (“Grandma”) was born Jan 11, 1887, married James Wesley Gilbreath Sept 23, 1903 and the first Gilbreath generation began. Pa Wesley and Grandma had nine children, six girls and three boys. They also lost two infant babies, the second generation. One of the Gilbreath cousins compiled a book of the Gilbreath generations and the forward says, Pa Wesley and Grandma had 28 grandchildren (third generation), 69 great-grandchildren (fourth generation), 86 great- great- grandchildren (fifth generation), 22 great- great- great grandchildren (the sixth generation) and two great- great-great-great grandchildren (the seventh generation). These numbers were compiled in 2011, so in 108 years Pa Wesley and Grandma had a lineage of 308 people. The number is certainly more now.
During Grandma’s life, as mentioned, she lost two infant children, a boy and a girl. She also lost her husband Pa Wesley in 1960, a grown daughter (my grandmother) in 1978 and another daughter, Aunt Opal, in 1987. Grandma was 91 when her 69 year-old daughter died and two years later another daughter died. Grandma herself lived to be 101 dying in Feb 1988. Despite the tragedies in her life she was always quiet-spoken, peaceful and calm when I was around her. She could have been a real fireball in her younger years, but I think that is highly unlikely from what I know about her. I didn’t get to see her often in her later years, but I cherish her memory as do a couple-hundred other descendants of the Gilbreaths.