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???