Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 1, # 7
BREAKING NEWS and Cemetery Researching
Many of you have been anxiously awaiting another chance for a special night of researching along the lines of our ‘Sitting Up with the Dead’ night that we hosted back on June 2nd. Well....
Your wait is over !
Our ‘Sitting Up with the Dead II: The Night of the Missing Dead’ program is set to take place Friday, October 27th and will run from 6 PM to Midnight. Snacks and drinks ONLY will be provided this time. The cost per person is $20 and a deadline for registration is Wednesday, October 25th. Proceeds will go to benefit the Heritage Room Collection. Once again, the number of participants is limited. If you have any other questions concerning the evening, call us at 532-5969 and we’ll be glad to provide answers.
You don’t want to miss it !
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Have you ever noticed when visiting a cemetery how peaceful and serene the surroundings can be? Not only does it allow time spent remembering a loved one, or just reflecting on life in general, but to genealogists it can also mean a wonderful opportunity to track down more answers to unsolved and vital family history clues.
One thing to remember going in when locating places of internment for ancestors is that in terms of research, tombstone information is always going to be considered secondary source information. ’Why?’ you may ask. There are several reasons that such a conclusion can be reached.
First of all is the matter of incorrect names and dates. Depending on the information (or lack of) and who the informant was, can result in erroneous information being created on markers. What’s even more interesting is that many deceased individuals who have withheld their true age during their lifetime, have tombstones with these same wrong dates engraved on them!
Another issue is when the marker was actually placed. In many instances, it may have been many months or years later. Again, this would lead to incorrect information being given, particularly dates, when memory could have become more uncertain with the passage of time. A prime example is during the Great Depression. With little or no money, many families could not place markers until their financial situation was adequately improved and they could afford to spend the necessary amount for a tombstone.
Thirdly, in some cases the place of actual interment may be found to be elsewhere other than where the tombstone is located. If an obituary is available, it’s always wise to make a note of the interment location when given.
And finally, with the increased interest in transcribing tombstone information, it is very possible that there will be errors made either performing the transcription or in printing the results in a published work.
Bottom line… other sources will need to be utilized to confirm, if possible, the information found on cemetery markers.
A final comment to tombstone markers is that they CAN give us new directions to move in for researching family members. Church, military and organization membership records are just some of the other sources that markers can point to for yet more clues and answers.
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Fact: The term Sexton refers to the maintenance staff person (caretaker) who oversees the burials and serves as groundskeeper for a cemetery.
Tip: Since tombstones, in some cases and locations, may not always be permanently viewable due to natural, accidental or malicious occurrences, it’s always an excellent idea to not only photograph the markers but to write out a complete and full record of every detail on them!
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Join Us !
This Sunday, October 8th at 2 P. M. will be the official opening of the Jane Knight Lowe Gallery on 3rd floor of the Main Library. Included in the exhibit will be samples of Indian artifacts of Madison County found on the shores of the Tennessee River along with a display of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia. Also, photographs relating to the Huntsville Female College for the years 1851 through 1895 as well as a collection of local period scenes drawn from the library’s vast archives depicting what we’re calling ‘Squatters and Squires Come to Big Spring’. The event is FREE and refreshments will be available.