A Haven for Vee

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Another Adventure

The gravestones are like rows of books bearing the names of those whose names have been blotted from the pages of life; who have been forgotten elsewhere but are remembered here.
~Dean Koontz from Fear Nothing 

Last time my sister and I went on an adventure we found a four times great-grandfather (one of 34, if no relatives marry one another, which can really throw one for a loop). He was buried in a cemetery not far from us. I enthusiastically shared that he was "up near (our friends) Dan and Marta." My sister responded with, "I had no idea that they had passed." They haven't. My communication skills need honing.

This time, I found his (the 4x great-grandfather's) 
parents — both father and 
mother — and even some siblings buried together in a quaint church yard about 45 minutes from here. The odd connection this time? John's sister lives right around the block!

This meant that John would go along for the ride, get dropped off to visit his sister, and we would return to fetch him after we had found the ancestors in a graveyard where over 700 people are buried. It seemed a daunting task.

And indeed I felt pretty overwhelmed at first glance.

~standing at the main gate~

Would you believe that I am looking directly at their stones? Didn't know it then, of course, so set off to wander through looking for names and dates. We determined that we would look in the early part (the beginning) and very quickly my sister found them and, thing is, she kept on finding "them." This cemetery is home to many relatives. With each family having ten and more children, they do add up. It will be quite simple to return and label each photo with family relationship. There are sea captains, farmers, potters, and merchants. 

Oh ours? 

Rebecca and Payne are siblings resting here with their parents. Thing is Rebecca and Payne are also their grandparents' names (they are buried in Gloucester, Massachusetts) and also their mother's brother and sister. Those particular names were recycled three times that we know of! It gets crazy.


This 5x great-grandfather (one of 64) is the son of the Revolutionary soldier. As far as I know, this man did not serve in any war, though his grave is marked with a G.A.R. star. (A veterans' group meaning Grand Army of the Republic). We must investigate this further. This means that I must. My sister wishes to go along for the ride without doing the research. That she leaves to me. I have to tell her stories to get her to understand the significance of what we are doing...something like this:

Nan(a) was born in 1909. Just two years before, her great-grandmother Nancy died in Gloucester and was buried there. She was a Civil War widow and had been widowed for forty years. Nancy's father is buried in the forest hill cemetery we found in July. We are visiting her paternal grandparents today. 
This seems to work. Ha!

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful old cemetery well cared for, those white stones gleamed in the sun. There are beautiful daylilies blooming in that row and the church is beyond charming. They (the 5x great-grandparents) helped to found it. I have learned that this grandfather was an "old-time Baptist" until he became persuaded that Universalism was the way to go. This means that he thought God so loving that He could not banish anyone to hell and that, one day, all humanity will be saved. 

There is something inscribed on the grandmother's stone, which we can not quite see. Initially, we thought it said, "She hath endured all she could," which makes for a strange engraving. But passing away at 91 in that time may account for such a message. More investigating must be done. We tried a light rubbing and that did not work. Next we'll try a mirror or something.

If we continue back, we must go to New Hampshire, Gloucester, Mass and Haverhill, Mass. After that, it's a trip across the sea to England where the lines dry up at about the year 1400. Ha!

After a little over an hour of wandering about, taking photos and finding many more relatives, we retrieved John and visited with his sis for a short while. Then we went straight out to lunch and afterward home in thunderstorms. It was a very pleasant day!


  1. Very interesting! A very pretty cememtery.. Just a little quirk of mine, the next time (if you go) please fix the War emblem/star that is leaning..I am sure the rain caused that.,.just a quirk,lol. We take care of my husbands father & grandparents graves and we are always (well..ok..I AM) always righting his grandfathers WW2 Star/emblem. (and many other graves too) I know..cuckkoo (wink). Blessings

    1. It is as straight as we could get it. You see no difference between the second and third photos? That wooden flag pole had a pretty good bend in it, but we were able to straighten the metal gizmo that held it.

    2. The gravestone itself is another story. It is broken in half...wonder where the rest of it is...and set in the ground at an angle.

  2. How great that you are finding your relatives. That can be quite hard to do.

  3. Not everyone would find joy in wandering about an old cemetery but when you can add pieces to the puzzle of your ancestry, it's worth the time. Interesting info shared again with this post, and it was nice that John could go along to visit with his sister and join you gals for lunch. Did he buy? LOL

  4. How I love cemeteries! And especially the ones next to a church. Such a feeling of peace exists in them.

  5. It's great to have your sister to work with and research things together. The similar names led to a discussion over our coffee this morning. It sure makes the task challenging. My first name has been used so many times in our family.....and my Mother and niece both share it right now. Have a beautiful weekend my friend! Hugs!

  6. I love these posts about the long lost relatives and your journey to find them. It's funny how close by some seem to be to others in the family. That's the way of things I guess.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  7. LOVE THIS POST!! Oh my goodness, you're in my country now! I'm an amateur genealogist and have done extensive research into my and husband's families: www.redbirdacres.net I can be found in almost all old cemeteries. Really get into the histories and the why's and wherefore's of our ancestors.
    BTW, the tombstone inscriptions are easier to read if one uses white flour. The flour will not harm the stone and washes right off. ~:)

  8. Vee
    I am impressed! You must devote many hours of research to discover all of this information about your ancestors.
    I bet it's a bit like a treasure hunt! And what fun to gallivant all over visiting the various grave sites.
    Yes, it sounds like a fun day, for sure.

  9. Wow! What fun discoveries you have had and the history you can dig up is amazing. I only have the chance to see my maternal grandmother's grave and my paternal grandmother and grandfather's grave. I think I'll drag my pop over to the Russian Molokan Cemetery in Los Angeles to track down his parents graves for me to see and photograph when I visit him in a few weeks. My paternal grandfather is buried in Iran somewhere so I'll never see his gravesite. Glad you had a rewarding adventure with your sister...

  10. How wonderful to trace your ancestors. My mother-in-law is a professional genealogist and has worked for people in Europe and Australia. This is her sort of thing and I think if she stayed with us for any length of time, I'd be driving all over the country tracing my roots.

  11. I love finding out about ancestors, but never seem to get time to carry out research. :)

  12. Well that just grinds my grits. I just left you a very long comment with a nifty little story attached, and my google account bumped me off! Just in case it pops up sometime later, I won't repeat it. I'll just say that I enjoyed this and that I love to do that same thing.

    Frustrating when that happens.

  13. You know so much about your ancestors - me nearly nothing.
    Nice that you and your sister are both interested and you can do it together.

  14. Very rewarding to locate so many graves and in such close proximity. I'm happy that John could go along and visit with his sis. My older brother and I did this many years ago; it was quite interesting.

  15. This is so fun. We did some of this in Scotland last August. My dad is the genealogist in the family and he tells me and I mostly remember. He and I care about this kind of stuff - others in our family, not so much.


  16. That must be fascinating to trace your ancestors like that!!! I love old cemeteries......

  17. It does get confusing when so many of the names are the same! I never even wanted a "junior"...you see, I confuse easily. (Although people do confuse Ron and Ryan's names...including me if the speaker is not enunciating clearly. Yep...easily confused.)

    It is fascinating, what you're doing. It's not an easy trail to trace back generation after generation. Good work!

  18. I love digging into our family history. I seem to be the only one in the family that does, although they all like to hear the stories or look at the photos...lol
    Have fun researching! :)

  19. I know about my greats, but have never gone to visit their gravesites. A new adventure I want to plan.

  20. Oh my... How very interesting that must be. I have no knowledge of family beyond my grandparents with the exception of my paternal grandmother. The other three immigrated from Europe and that's where the trail ends.

  21. How interesting...and ironic that you found them so close...AND near John's sister to boot...amazing! Have you seen the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" that has been on again weekly? Famous stars seeking out their ancestry and finding some real surprises along the way...really interesting show. Good luck on your next journey!

  22. I think genealogy is a great interest to have and you are making such headway with your lot Vee.
    It's wonderful that some of yours are relatively quite close by
    On my mothers side, my grandparents were born in New Zealand, then it's back to England for me too!
    My father was born in Ireland, so all of that family are back there - I presume!

  23. I fondly hope we will go to Haverhill together, and also the Pennecook Island!
    I ways thought GAR or Grand Army of the Republic was the troops that fought on the Union side on of the Civil War.

  24. So interesting; it sounds like you're discovering a lot. My mother's family is all buried in NH and Mass. And my father's in Mass. They were both from New England (Acton and Cohasset, MA). Lots of history in your neck of the woods!

  25. This sounds a lot like a cousin and I. He lives in East Texas where most of our people are buried. He does all the family tracing, for which I am glad. I have interest...but a lot like your sis...I want to know all about it but just don't want to do all the work. :)

  26. I lean toward your sister. I would love to wander around, but doing the actual research, not so much! Amazing how far back you were able to go!

  27. You are certainly having great adventures with your genealogy searches. Good luck with your ongoing hunt for answers!

  28. What a fascinating day, full of interesting finds.

  29. It's nice that your sister goes along with you on your searches! It's much more fun to have someone to go with than doing it alone.


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