October is Cemetery Fun Month!

img_0579-version-2Fun in a cemetery?

You betcha’!  October is one of the best months to experience cemetery events nationwide.   There are fall harvest events, Halloween events, ghost tours, helicopter tours, even weddings.  Bet you didn’t expect weddings in a cemetery…now that’s scary!

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The Genealogist’s Halloween

“When a dog howls, death is near!” The wolf howling on the full moon at night. Vector illustration

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” by A. Conan Doyle comes to mind at this time when scary stories rule the Halloween scene. Having been to the moors of Dartmoor, I can understand why there are legends of evil which emanate from the area. Dartmoor, by-the-way, is in England.

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Your Genealogy Starting Line


Want to start over because you didn’t have a plan and now you do?….  Embarrassed to ask or do not know who to ask?  Just getting started and don’t know the genealogy terms or even how to spell geneAlogy?


Well, o.k., then.   Get your web, uh…walking shoes on (no need to run), because you are about to cross the genealogy starting line!

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Left or Right Brained Genealogist?

human brainAre you right-brained or left-brained and does it make a difference in your genealogy research?  FYI, people with right-brain dominance are characterized as having a more creative nature, choose to be artists, musicians, or actors, and are prone to daydreaming.   Or are you left-brained?  Do you prefer classical music, verbal instruction, logic, and like to read? If you want possible verification about your thinking process , try this test  http://en.sommer-sommer.com/braintest/ I found that I am almost equal between my left and right brained functions, which might explain a few things such as preferring classical music (left), but also like rock and some country (right); good at algebra (left), but not geometry (right); prefer verbal instructions (left) to reading instructions (right).  I play clarinet, flute, and piano using both hands equally .   I also like dogs (right) and  cats (left)!

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Got Pictures?

Picture This!

CollageItEver since the first photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce,  people have been fascinated with photos.  In this digital age, there are millions of pictures taken with, of all things, a camera phone.  So now there are photos languishing in a perpetual state of digital pixelation without a prayer of being seen by future generations.  What to do, what to do!  And what of the hundreds of thousands of photos produced since 1826 that are sitting in boxes in attics, basements, or garages that are fading into obscurity because no one wants the task of sorting them.

Ah, yes, a picture paints a thousand words they say, but what if you have a thousand photographs that do not say any words at all.    Have you been left a box full of pictures and have no clue as to who the people and places in the pictures are, who took the pictures or when they were taken?  So what do you do with them…throw them out, give them away, sell them, or give them to your offspring, hoping they will be inspired to do what you are not inspired to do? (yeah…that always works)  What you need is just a little direction.

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Teamwork. Not usually the first thing you think of when you are working on your family history.  Sitting alone in front of computer or researching in the library hour after hour is the usual image.  There are even jokes and comic strips about the often lonely work of the family historian.  But after 20 plus years of researching my family, I am more aware and attentive to teamwork because family information is infinite.  Infinite is more than any one person can deal with on their own, unless you are immortal. (keep dreaming)

For instance, your family has birth records, marriage records, divorce records, tax records, death and cemetery records, probates, photos…shall I go on? And, even though you can find some of this information on ancestry websites, why not use family members, neighbors, and friends to either give you information they have in their possession or help you search for the information.

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Cemetery Safety


Several years ago, my husband and I visited a cemetery in an older section of Alabama. We had contacted one of the caretakers and he helped us find the plots we were looking for. While we were walking, he warned us to be cautious of other people in the area because there had been several robberies that had taken place in the cemetery. Robberies in a cemetery…who knew? Not long ago, we were once again in a cemetery which definitely looked like it was a scene for a shoot-em’ up Western movie. Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns comes to mind! Broken and toppled headstones, sand covered graves, barren landscape. As we drove through, looking for possible family gravesites, the theme song to “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” came over the radio. We laughed because it was so fitting. There were also several vagrants wandering around and I was glad we were in our car. Staying safe is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when we want to find our family plots in a cemetery, but it is certainly an important part of our visit.

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You Are a Living Ancestor

ancestor iconOh, yes. You are now the living ancestor to someone down the road who wants to know you. Have you done your own family group sheet? Well, have you? You know, filled in information on yourself (remember starting with yourself?) and your husband(s), your children. Have you gathered the birth, marriage, and other vital certificates that we all pursue with a vengeance when we research our ancestors?

Aside from the family history benefits to someone later, it may also benefit you when you need to have the records on hand for your own personal use. Let me also encourage you to keep shot records and health history safely recorded for your family’s benefit. Sooner or later, this will come in handy! My husband has benefited from knowing that his family is prone to heart trouble and diabetes, so he aggressively pursues keeping himself healthy and active. Knowledge is power, so they say.

So get busy and start….with yourself!

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