Thank you, Laura, for that information, I was not considering that at all. I was thinking along the lines of finding someone not only good-hearted but also worthy and venerable, so to say. By the miracle of the internet, I managed to go back to around 1100 where I found a man in Portugal named Egas Moniz de Ribadouro, o Aio (the Tutor), that I thought might fit the bill. Considering ancestors I've met and loved is a completely different perspective.One thing to consider about ancestors is not so much how "good" they were, but did they love you and did you love them? People still learn and grow on the other side, so if you have a connection, work on it.
Nonetheless, the exercise was not for nothing, I learned a lot about different branches of my family and a bit more about their historical periods. There is a small heirloom booklet in my family from 1948 that traces back the genealogy to 1804. The first man in it had a small nobility title, so it was not difficult to find his parents. And many Brazilians seem to be interested in genealogy with their own family websites so I gathered information from many sources, and in a little while I was back to 1600. Then 1500. Then people were no longer born in Brazil, they came from Portugal and one from France. Then I found a website from Portugal that covered all the medieval period. It was astonishing to keep going back in time and learning little bits about these people. Every once in a while someone of some historical significance would come up and I could find an article or two about them. It was mind blowing to consider having relatives that were here when colonization first began or that fought in the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. Even if the lineage is wrong, it made me really think about the lives of those people.
On other branches I managed to go back to 1830 by asking my grandparents, getting a copy of another genealogy book relatives had put together and searching government databases of people that migrated from Italy. I found a book from Italy about the origin of my grandfather's surname, and the author mentioned that the family came from fishermen from the Delta of River Po and extended across Italy following the river. When I told this to my grandfather he immediately remembered some funny sayings about the river Po that he used to hear all the time in his childhood. I love my grandfather and he is fond of his Italian heritage, seeing he joyfully reminisce about his ancestors was heart warming.
On the not so fun side of things, I learned about a great grandfather who went out to buy cigarettes and never came back. A great grandmother who physically and emotionally tortured her frail and ill husband. And that on the Portuguese lineage it is very likely that at least a couple of them were slave owners.
All in all, a fascinating exercise. Thank you for leading us into it.