52 Ancestors Week 22: At the Cemetery

+22 votes

52 Ancestors and 52 Photos sharing challenge badgesTime for the next 52 Ancestors challenge!

Please share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:

At the Cemetery

From Amy Johnson Crow:

 I have a feeling that you might enjoy cemeteries just as much as I do! What discoveries have you made at the cemetery? Do you have a favorite ancestral cemetery or tombstone? What cemetery do you want to visit?


Share below!

Participants who share every week can earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 in 13, 26 in 26, 52 in 52) let us know hereClick here for more about the challenge. 

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.9m points)
edited by Eowyn Walker
I am going on what i call my cemetary tour this summer. Im going to about 10 different cemeteries to visit different relatives

67 Answers

+23 votes

I'd like to share the profile of my great-grandfather, Thomas Henry Trethewey. Only yesterday I added to his profile a picture I took of his grave in Roche Cemetery, Cornwall. Thomas is buried with his wife Lucinda, but also on his grave are the memorials to his daughter Gladys, known as Lala (my lovely great-aunt),  his son Lloyd, and Lloyd's wife who was also called Gladys, but known as Topsy. Lloyd and Topsy were my much-loved maternal Grandparents. 

Thomas, my great-grandfather, was a 'Stationary Engine Driver' in the china clay industry. This meant that he operated the steam engine pumped water out of the pit. In the 1913 china clay strike he refused to strike because if the pit flooded there would be no work for the striking miners to go back to, even if they got everything they demanded. What I don't know is whether he was persuaded to strike in the end, and how his decision affected his relationship with his fellow workers. I know he was still working in the china clay industry in 1939, but he wasn't running the engine at that point. There's an interesting article about the china clay strike here.

And here's my photo of his grave in Roche cemetery:

by Sally Douglas G2G6 Mach 3 (34.2k points)
Very interesting story, Sally, and thank you for sharing the picture of great-grandfather's memorial.

I love learning something new.
I have ancestors who are Tretheweys from Roche, Cornwall. Loved the interesting history you shared! Thanks for sharing :)

Hi Kylie. It turns out that we are 7th cousins! Our common ancestor is Richard Trethewey. Nice to meet you, cousin!

If you're interested, I've just started a free space page for information and resources about Roche -  do have a look if you're interested.

Best wishes,


Oh that is very cool! Definitely nice to meet you too cousin :)

I am very interested, thanks for sharing the link. Great page! I added two surnames to the list. :)
+19 votes
At the nearest cemetery where my mother grew up in Belgrade, there is a grave in which three generations of my family are in. My grandfather, one of my uncles and his son. A few years ago we were in Belgrade on the birthday of my cousin. His daughter took her daughter with us on the cemetery. For this girl it was the first time conscious on the cemetery. She was a bit puzzled about all the generations of ancestors there. Granddad was still ok, her other granddad is still alive. But all the others was a bit too far away, she couldn't manage that.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (976k points)
I bet it would be a bit much for a little girl to understand.

Last year on the third anniversary of my son, we took his young granddaughters to his grave. We released monarch butterflies. They were so enchanted with the butterflies that I don't think they were concerned about where they were.

They did see my son's picture on his headstone and ran to hug him though.

Thank you for your beautiful story.
+22 votes

This is the headstone for my mother, who is buried in Ft. Gibson National Cemetery. My father was lost at sea in WWII, so his body is not here with her. This is a photo taken last year. All the Memorial Day Services have been cancelled except for a small service today at 2:00 for those few that can get there because of the flood here in Oklahoma.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (569k points)
What an honor to be buried there!  Her stone should mention her part in bringing the B29's to the warfront, too.
Thank you, Alexis, for continuing the story you started last week, and for the photo. It is all so poignant and filled with love.
Thank you Lynn, I was recently at an air show, and they had a woman there in her nineties to be honored for her working on the B-29s during the WWII. That is the first time I have ever seen any recognition.
Thank you Robin for your sweet comment.
That's too bad.  There can't be very many women who had a hand in the actual production of war planes.  It's a shame they were not honored in their war effort.
I am so sorry that your father was lost at sea.

What a beautiful honor for your mother to be buried in a National cemetery. The burial service is so beautiful to watch.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.
+25 votes

So....... what's the likelihood of this? Cousin Connie and I attended a hands-on Cemetery Preservation Workshop on "how to clean cemetery headstones" at The Old Brick Church (otherwise known as Old St. Luke's) in Isle of Wight County, Va, built in the 1600's. This is the county from which Connie's entire family originated, and where my mother's whole family originated. The cleaning method that they are teaching is what they are using on their oldest gravestones, so it is surely one that will be minimally damaging to the stones.

Prior to the workshop, they had picked out a section of the 600+grave cemetery, and had taken "before" pix of every stone in that area. After the "how to" lecture, we were taken to that section of the cemetery, and told to pick one of the gravestones to clean.

There were quite a few stones grouped somewhat closely together, and there were a few scattered around a bit farther away. Rachel, the teacher, mentioned one grave "over there in the bushes". Anyone who knows me knows that I am very independent, and like to kinda "hang by myself" sometimes. Apparently it run in the family, because Connie wanted to head to the bushes, too. So we gathered our equipment, and headed off to our chosen spot.

We had to break back some twigs to get access to the stone, and when we saw it, it was pretty much unreadable. Flat parts of it were fairly clean, but because it was shaded by the bushes and big trees, lichens had grown into the indentations of the lettering, and we couldn't make out any of the inscription.

Connie started working on the right side of the stone and and the same time, i started working on the left. We wet the stone and carefully scraped as much lichen off as we could. While Connie gently scrubbed the stone with a soft brush, I used a bamboo skewer to remove the lichen from the engraving. Gradually I could make out "L-u-c" and I was anticipating a Y to follow. But the next letter was an "i", and as i cleaned the following letter it was an "a", and then an "n". About that time, Connie ran the brush over the last name, and we saw a "B-u". Something familiar was forming in my brain..... I *knew* that I knew this name!

Sure 'nuff....... this turned out to be the grave of Lucian Busby! I know this name because he is the son-in-law of our "brick wall", Nicholas Edwards, whose parents we have been trying to find for 3+ years. Because I have not been able to find Nick's parents or siblings, I have researched every name around him. Lucian married Nick's daughter, Mary (Polly), in June of 1882, and died 6 months later, at the age of 26. If I had been able to find Nick's ancestors I probably wouldn't even have recognized Lucian's name, but I have looked at all the people surrounding Nick for a long time, in hopes of making a "discovery".

No, this find did not give me any new info, nor did it solve my "mystery" with Nick, but it was mind-boggling to be standing there in a cemetery unexpectedly and fortuitously cleaning a gravestone of a person who was related to me. What's the chance of this??? 

by Lynn Bensy G2G6 Mach 2 (20.6k points)
Lynn, What an amazing story! You are so nice to do headstone cleaning.
I actually enjoy it.  It's one of the few "jobs" that you can actually see what you have accomplished.  And that makes me happy.
First, thank you for cleaning headstones. It is not an easy task, and it does wonders for the stones, if people like you do it correctly.

Secondly, what an amazing story. Who would have thought that you would have found Lucian's headstone. How wonderful it would have been if it would have given you more information so you could have followed hints to your Nick.

Good luck in your search.
I just started a group for preserving stones last year! It is the most rewarding job on the planet!

Love your story !
It *IS* rewarding.  There's always a push-pull between those folks who say, "Don't touch it, you'll ruin it", and pp like me who say, "Clean it and take a FABULOUS picture", because it's not doing anyone any good when you can't read it.  I'd clean every stone on the face of this earth, if I could.  Unfortunately, you have to get "permission".
I agree 100%. I share a lot of my countys work on the Cemetery Conservators for United Standard's facebook page and get a lot of tips and tricks to make them look just right without damaging them. Everyone there cares for the future of the stone not the credit of doing it.
+19 votes

My great great great grandfather, Heman Buckingham, donated the land for the local cemetery in Bellfountain, Benton County, Oregon in 1850. 

Many ancestors are buried in that cemetery including my 4x great grandmother (Heman's mother-in-law) Elizabeth Lucas Starr.  She was born in Montgomery county, Maryland in 1810 and died in 1893 in Oregon.  She migrated to Oregon by wagon trail in 1848, was the mother of ten children and lived eighty-three years.

by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (193k points)
The stone is holding up well.  I'm always tempted to go out to the cemetery with some Thompson's water seal and give my ancestors stones a covering... wonder if it would help?
What a wonderful donation to a town. A place for everyone to rest. Thank you for your ancestor's kind gesture.

Thank you for sharing this story, and your picture.
+17 votes

I recently made a trip to Cornwall to visit some places where a branch of my ancestors lived around Truro and Falmouth. In Falmouth I was looking for my ancestor John Hamlyn and his wife who had moved to Falmouth in the 1780s to raise their family. Falmouth was growing rapidly due to its position as the port closest to the English Channel and played an important role in communication and defence of the growing British Empire. By 1812, when John was buried at the Parish church of King Charles the Martyr, the town of Falmouth had a population of about 7,000. However the town continued to grow and the church was modified many times to cope with the demand and it's burial ground has mostly disappeared. Now if you visit the church all you can see are some headstones stacked against the wall of a small patch of remaining garden and a few memorial plaques in the walls.

by Ray Hawkes G2G6 Mach 5 (52.0k points)
How sad that the headstones are stacked against a wall.  What a disappointment to find when searching for your ancestors.

I am so sorry that was your result. I hope you have better luck when you search for other family members.

Good luck and God bless.
+18 votes

The cemetery I'd like to share is in a remote area of south central Colorado in a little village named Cotopaxi. This cemetery is where my maternal grandparents,  Otis and Bertha Medearis Witcher, and my four aunts are buried. 

The cemetery has quite a history. The first burials were in 1882 of three children who were members of the Cotopaxi Russian Jewish agricultural colony that was located in and around Cotopaxi from 1882-1884. There are also 27 or 28 veteran graves with one Confederate grave. There is also a single grave that is separated from all the rest surrounded by a fence. There are conflicting "stories" about why this woman's grave is separate from all the rest.

There are now about 250 gravesites in the cemetery, with only a few of those after the year 2000. Cotopaxi is and has always been a very small community on the banks of the Arkansas River about 35 miles from Canon City, Fremont County. As of 2010 census the population was 47.

by Robin Shaules G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
I'm curious about the "conflicting stories" about the woman's grave.  DO tell, please.
Before I give you a very basic answer, I have to tell you thank you for asking this question. In further searching for an answer I discovered that this woman is related to me! In fact she may well be a key to one of my brick walls. Time will tell. But there were three conflicting ideas of who she was. First, she might have been related to an outlaw. Second, she may have been related to someone who didn't like her and didn't want to admit she was family. Third, she may have been a woman of color and because of the attitudes of the time was buried a distance from the other gravesites. Now, apparently these are all wrong -- I'm excited to check this out further. Thanks again.
How interesting!!  I thought maybe she was a "woman of ill repute" (as in prostitute), but your possibilities are more interesting!  Do, please, be sure to let us know if/when she provides the info to break down your brick wall.  I surely wish *I* would run across some possibility of solving mine!!
Another possible reason for the separation would be if she died of an infectious disease. Between Florence and Canon City are 2 graves on the side of a hill, and the reason they are there was because they died of a disease (don't remember which one) and they were refused burial in the local cemeteries.
Very interesting -- thanks for that. Perhaps I'll learn more as I research this.
Very cool story, Robin...thanks for sharing. Years ago I visited an entire cemetery of smallpox victims in Scituate, MA, so her death from disease is a good possibility.
Thanks, D, for your comment. I'm still researching this. The latest is that she was so loved that her family gave her a special place. But I'm not done yet...
+18 votes
This photo is of my 3 great grandmother, Mary Jackson (Frame) Rounsavell. She was born in Ohio and moved to Iroquois county Illinois and then to Jackson county Kansas.

She lost 3 of 8 children at birth or shortly after, 1 son in the Civil War, who died at Shiloh. She only had 3 children who have descendants. Her husband also died fairly young.
by MaryAnn Thomas G2G6 Mach 2 (25.8k points)
edited by MaryAnn Thomas

On the actual photo, right click "copy image address" and then in the tool bar, click the photo icon (looks like a sun over two mountains) and enter the address:

Nice memorial!

Thanks so much for the help !!
+25 votes

I have been meaning to add my grandfather's 11 siblings but haven't gotten around to it yet.  I went ahead and added this profile for this weeks 52:

Poor little Elda Marie Baty at the young age of 5 years found a piece of bread treated with rat poison that was intended for the vermin.  She ate it and died a short time later.  Her entire family was devastated.  I still heard stories about her 90 years after her death.  I was told that everyone (everyone) cried at the funeral.

Elda Baty Dies Suddenly Friday, Funeral Sunday

Elda Baty, five year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Baty, died suddenly at her home at 621 North Second street East, yesterday morning at 10 o'clock , following an illness of a few hours.

Funeral services will be conducted tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 o'clock, at the Murdoch Funeral home and burial will be in the Sugar Grove cemetery.

Elba was born June 15, 1922, at Laurel, Ia., and was the daughter of Roy and Lulu Baty. She died March 23 at the age of five years, nine months and eight days. ~ The Newton Daily News, March 24, 1928.

Elda Marie Baty is Buried Sunday In Metz Cemetery

Funeral services for Elda Marie Baty, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Baty, were held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the Murdoch Funeral home and burial was in the Metz cemetery. The services were conducted by the Rev. Roberts.

The music was furnished by Mrs. Lind, Mr. and Mrs. Simons and Mrs. Morrow with Mrs. Radeen presiding at the piano. The songs were, "No Disappointments in Heaven," "Precious Jewels" and "Jesus Loves Me." "Abide With Me" was sung at the grave.

Elda Marie Baty, daughter of Roy and Lola Hitchler Baty, was born near Laurel, June 15, 1922 and died at her home here after a brief illness, March 23 at the age of 5 years, nine months and eight days.

She is survived by her parents, one brother Carroll and four sisters, Rosemond, Lorraine, Miriam, Doris, her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Baty and Mrs. George Hitchler, and also several aunts and uncles. ~ The Newton Daily News, March 27, 1928

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
So sad ! Thanks for sharing.
WOW!  That's tragically sad..........
I have family with strong ties to Newton and Jasper County so I went climbing around the Baty tree. I didn’t find a connection, but still I wonder if one is there.
How heart breaking. I have found many children who have died young in my birth family tree and I feel the connection with them the most. I do everything I can to put them on every grave website and get pictures so that they can always be remembered by someone. :(
Did you try to check your connections with her? I do that to so many things out of curiosity. Miss Elda Marie and I are 10th cousins twice removed...
She's my great-aunt.  Looks like you're my 12th cousin.
+16 votes

I would like to share the profile of my grandfather's sister  Esther Annie Ferguson who passed away suddenly aged 37 years. Her previously broken headstone is on her profile. It has recently been replaced with a marker and plaque.

by David Urquhart G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
+18 votes

Recently I traveled to visit family in Olympia, Washington. While there I stopped at the Masonic Cemetery in Tumwater where quite a few of my ancestors are buried. When I visited my mothers' paternal grandparents gravesite, I found out that they had another child who died in infancy, George Peasley.

by Azure Robinson G2G6 Pilot (281k points)
+17 votes
Memorial Day in my family has always been called “Decoration Day” because we would go visit, clean and decorate the graves of our family. It usually took longer then a day as we would travel to my grand home town and visit several cemeteries. I always had a blast! As I grew older I realized that some people find cemeteries creepy. I think it is because they didn’t spend the time that I did cleaning and decorating and learning who the people were that we were celebrating. There is nothing like a picnic under a big tree or the peacefulness that I feel when I am there.
by Pam Fraley G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
What a lovely idea! Though I never did what you did, I do find cemeteries to be a very peaceful place. Thank you for sharing what you did.
My name is Genia Means and Spade Mountain Cemetery in Adair County, OK  has an annual potluck with all the family members decorating on that day.  As for creepy until someone looses a loved one and visits their grave it is but then the peace of the visits one loses that feeling.  My daughter and husband are there.
+23 votes

52 Ancestors Week 22 - At the Cemetery


This is a picture of Shrontz Cemetery in Momence, Kankakee County, Illinois.  I took this picture a very long time ago. This cemetery was originally called "The Hess Cemetery".

I am not sure if the original name is because one of the first Hess settlers donated their land for the cemetery, or because the cemetery is filled with so many Hess family members.

There are several Hess family members buried in the 1840's but the earliest one I found was infant Mary Hess who was born in 1838 and died in 1840.

The last Hess buried was my brother-in-law, James Willis "Moocher" Hess who died on February 27, 2019.

From my husband's 2nd great grandfather to my husband's nephew's son, there are seven generations of the Hess family buried in this cemetery.

by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
gorgeous photo!
I really love this photo so wonderful color with the best dark cloud, the photo look so fantastic
Thank you SJ
Thank you Susan.
Great photo.
This photo jumped out among a number of moving photos. Thanks for sharing it.
Thank you for the nice compliment, Jim.
+19 votes

Originally for this week’s theme, I wanted to find a relative that had a spectacular gravesite of some kind. However, in digging through my pictures and FindAGrave, I just wasn’t able to find anything that really captured what I was going for.

So rather than a specific ancestor, I’m going to go with a cemetery that I visit about once a year. Almost every year since we’ve moved to Oregon my husband and I, and now our kid, will trek down to Fort Klamath, Oregon - population 88.

The way into town passes right by the Fort Klamath Cemetery and my interests being what they are, I always stop in for a stretch of the legs and a few pictures.

While I’ve only been going for the last handful of years, the graves are kept up so nicely. It is evident that the site is cared for and honored as a place where families bury their loved ones. The area has a large Native American population and many of the graves show various traditional burial elements that blend modern and tradition beautifully.

Just beyond the back fence of the cemetery is a little brook and a pasture overlooking the historic Fort Klamath site from the Oregon Trail. The birding is amazing. There are picnic tables out front surrounded by 100+ year old evergreens, a bear-proof trash can, and parking for a few cars. It is a special little cemetery if you’re ever in the area.

by Patricia Ferdig G2G6 Mach 3 (34.0k points)
+13 votes
Memorial Day got me thinking about service given by my ancestors to this country. I am not proud to admit that like many U.S. Citizens today I take their service for granted. In digging around to try to do an about face, I discovered much. Most notably about [[Shannon-474]|Lee Edward Shannon] who served in the 209 Engineers as an infantryman. See, I always knew that [[Shannon-611]|Dad] served in Germany in the 70’s and [[Shannon-478]|Grandad] served in WWII, but I had completely forgotten that Lee had served in “the Great War” until I saw his tombstone again this weekend.

May all 3 generations of Army personnel in my family and all service men and women from all walks of life Rest In Peace.
by Bryan Shannon G2G6 Mach 1 (10.9k points)
Keep digging, in time, you'll find a whole lot more.  When I started looking into my tree for ancestors, I had only 5 or 6 known to me.  A little over a year later:

+10 votes
There's apparently a family cemetery that has a few of my ancestors on it in Everett, Pennsylvania.  https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2430322/mcdaniel-farm-cemetery

Going to visit the old ancestral farm and the graveyard is definitely on my to-do list.
by Eric McDaniel G2G6 Mach 4 (41.0k points)
+13 votes

My ancestors owned some of the land where the famous Civil War Battle of Antietam was fought.  The land is a portion of a what today is Antietam National Historical Park.

However, the government set aside the land where several of the ancestors were buried.  So, there is a cemetery within a National Historical Park.  It is called "The Mumma Cemetery".

The agreement establishing the Park on the land provided that future descendants can be buried there.  However, I don't believe anyone has taken advantage of the agreement for many years.

Here is a photo of one of the signs around the area of the entrance to the Mumma Cemetery.

by Bill Sims G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
Thanks, Bill. I was fortunate to be able to visit this cemetery a couple of summers ago.  Very peaceful.
+12 votes

About 1997 I visited with a cousin, Callie Stanley, a dear lady who had done much research on our Davis ancestors. She took me to the private Davis Family Cemetery located in Hoke County, North Carolina (close to the Cumberland County line.) I took a few photos, but I should have been prepared to take more and to transcribe every one of the stones there. I was relatively new to doing genealogical research then and didn't realize how much I would wish I had all that documentation now. Alas, Callie has passed away and, for now, so has my opportunity to get into the Davis Family Cemetery as I have no idea who currently holds the keys and is responsible for its upkeep. This is a photo of Callie and me standing behind the headstone of my 3rd great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Davis.

by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (439k points)
+12 votes

I just look at this week was cemetery, I love walking on different graveyard have a lot of photos from different graveyard of famous danish people like minister and soon.

I have for many years heard about a Jewish graveyard where you usually have to have a guide to visit, by luck we wLk one day and pass it not looking for it we are not Jewish. 

Then the gate was open and we walk in to se it we where the only one. It was so interesting I thought I would like to share it here even I am not on anchestor week but because I found it so amazing 

by Susan Laursen G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
+11 votes

I was eager and bullheaded, on a sunny day in summer 1987 in Linn County, Oregon.  I wasn't going to wait till the next day for the Michael family researchers to lead me to the little cemetery in the hills southwest of Brownsville.  I saw a little hill with some grave markers on top.  I was going to check it out for myself.

I headed along a path that led to the hilltop.  There in the middle of the path was a big black bull, taking his ease.  I am a city girl and I thought it would go badly if I tried to tiptoe around the bull, especially on his turf.  I decided to take the direct route.

I set across a field, making straight for the hill. It would have been all right if I had been wearing the right shoes.  At the base of the hill was a little stream, only about six inches deep, but muddy, and my shoes were open toed, with lace inserts. 

I scrambled to the top of the hill, only to find it was the wrong cemetery.  It was the Union Point Cemetery, not the Michael cemetery. I had to go back the way I came, and step into the stream again, because the bull was still there.

The next day I drove in the caravan to the right cemetery.  It was not as well kept then as it is now.  There are several ornate markers for the Michael family, but the two for Jared Michael and his wife Mary Kelso Michael  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kelso-658 are not inscribed.  They are two concrete markers side by side.  The one on the north is Mary, and the one on the south is Jared. I wrote about Jared in the "Road Trip" 52 Ancestors challenge.      

by Margaret Summitt G2G6 Pilot (199k points)

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