Saturday, November 08, 2008
Searching For Gravestones In Cemeteries
A few weeks ago, my distant cousin (Tim Tipton), and fellow genealogist researcher called me to inform me that he was finding more Tipton headstones in cemeteries in North Carolina and Tennessee. For many years I have searched cemeteries for records of my ancestors. I've taken many pictures of their headstones. Tim has been posting his photos and information to the Find A Grave.com website. Ironically, this web site was founded by another Tipton, a Jim Tipton. There must be something in the Tipton gene that pulls us towards exploring cemeteries. Through Tim Tipton and another fellow Tipton researcher, Paul Tipton of California I discovered Find a Grave.com. Now I am posting my own cemetery photos to this web site. From my location here in the southern most county of Delaware, Sussex County, I had determined that most of the cemeteries in my area are unrecorded on Find a Grave.com. Thus, I have another "hobby." It's more like a passion. The extra dividend this pays is that I can also look for cemeteries and take photo requests for friends and relatives who live far away and cannot visit the final resting places of their loved ones. Below is the text of an e-mail that I recently sent to a fellow Find A Grave.com member who is going to take photos of the final resting places of my partner. His Mother and Father are buried in the Toccoa City Cemetery located in Toccoa, Georgia. All of us who are posting to Find a Grave.com are volunteers. It is heartening to know that there are so many volunteers who are willing take their own time to help bring peace to distant relatives of the deceased. This has really been an excellent week. We have elected a president that gives us new hope for a better future. Barack Obama has promised to end the divisiveness that has poisoned this country for far too long. The world has shown by its joyous reaction to the election of Barack Obama that we're on the way to be respected again in the world community. It is indeed heartening to me to know that there are still unselfish people in the world who are willing to help and make life better for all of us. It is a good feeling. Below is the text of my e-mail to my fellow photo volunteer:
At first I put graves on findagrave, but I do so many hundreds of photos for myself and everybody else I know, I could not live long enough to post them all on findagrave. So I just e-mail the photos to the people that request them and ask them to post on findagrave. I wish I had time to do my own. Some of my "cousins" and I have several private family web sites, and I post all my photos on there. There are several people I have met on findagrave that I take pictures of any of their family names I find when I'm out and about - and I'm out and about EVERYWHERE in about a 50 mile radius, so you never know what you might run up on. And invariably some of the ones I find are people in their family they never knew existed. So it's a lot of fun, and I enjoy it - it's really the only serious hobby I have.
Anyway, I just took my dogs out - and it's raining! But maybe it will clear over the week-end so I can get the photos.
Guess what? This morning I found two of the three photo requests that I had from Find A Grave.com. I am so happy that I found them. These are my firsts photo requests. This is the fourth time I've been to the St. Johnstown Cemetery in Greenwood, Delaware. I recently retired to Delaware (November 2006) from Pennsylvania. I'm still learning my way around down here. I've never been to this cemetery. It was an adventure for me to go to that part of the state for the first time. This is a learning experience, fulfilling photo requests for grave sites. I thought I would find the cemetery and, viola! There would be the grave. Nope. It didn't work that way. My first visit, it was so cold and windy (big time wind down here on the flat plains of seaside coastal Delaware) that I could hardly stand it. I returned and couldn't find the graves that I was looking for (Lester Cleaves, Matthew Faulkner, and Lonnie McAdams.) Finally, I called the church pastor. She didn't know where they were buried (it's a large church graveyard - very pretty) and she advised me to call the man who actually buried the decedents. I called him and he told me the location of Mr. Cleaves who, as I suspected, didn't have a headstone yet (from his picture, he looks like he comes from very humble circumstances). I couldn't find them on the third visit. After receiving your e-mails last night, I decided to give it another push. This morning I made the trip again under cloudy skies. The skies threatened rain. However, I was determined to find Mr. Cleaves' final resting place. I have the print out of his picture looking at me whenever I'm at my computer. It makes me feel guilty that I haven't found him yet. Well, this morning, about the third grave site I checked, there he was! Some plastic flowers, and a little plastic covered market with Mr. Cleaves visage starring at me. I found him! Quickly, I took a picture before the rains began to fall. Below is Mr. Cleaves.
Now I was on a mission. I wanted to find the other two photo requests. One was for a one and a half year old baby named Matthew James "Matt" Faulkner. His smiling, sweet little face also looks at me (it's on a print out I have clipped to my clipboard near my computer) every day when I'm on the computer. I was convinced that this baby was at the big Faulkner headstone with all the plastic flowers. However, I couldn't find a place marking for him. I was looking for one of those plastic ones since he only died this year. Well, this morning I found him. He was located away from the family Faulkner headstones and by himself. The photo of his grave site is below:
Coincidentally, his final resting place was very near Mr. Cleaves' grave. I quickly took this picture and then began looking for my last photo request for the grave sit of Lonnie McAdams. However, the rain really started to fall now, so I had to leave. I will return when the weather is more accommodating. One thing about searching and exploring cemeteries, you know they are not going anywhere.