Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Post: I dont see pop-ups, just forgotten Graves

Hello, I'm Betty from over at " Just Thoughts on a Blog" 
Sarah, aka...Over Thinking Mama asked for volunteers to be her guests and blog for her while she is on vacation this week. I love her blog and really have found that she is a caring, responsible, single mother who is raising her children in a christian based home.  She loves God and her family and it shows in her writings. While your here, read some of her old posts found in her archives, leave a comment or two, and if your not following her, take the time to do so.
Id like to share with you one of my hobbies that I do and tell you a little bit about why I get such a blessing doing this for others....
 3192993164_b6fed97aec  I am a member of FaG as a volunteer to take photos for grave markers of strangers loved ones who do not live in this area. How it works is ,I get emails from Find a Grave telling me there is a request for a photo from someone ,and it tells me the graveyard and name they are looking for. Should I choose to fulfill that request, I go in and claim it, travel to that graveyard, walk the entire yard until I find that persons grave marker. Then I take a photo and email  it threw FaG to the memorial sat up for that person.
Sarah, aka Over thinking Mama, had asked for volunteers to be Guest Posts while she is on vacation this week. I love her blog and reading about her real life raising her children as a single mother. 
Why do I do this? You may find this a strange hobby, but I love it. After doing genealogy now for the last twenty years, I started doing this first for my family tree and then decided I would give it a try as a volunteer. You don't get paid for this with money, but it is very rewarding. That's all it took, I was hooked. Anytime I go to a town I am visiting , I look up to see what graveyards are in that town and see if there are requests made that no one has claimed. Its that easy!
You will be surprised how many graveyards that are not being taken care of and how many forgotten graves of someone's loved ones that aren't being taken care of. I hope when I and my husband are gone that someone will care enough to keep our headstone clean or the weeds from growing around us. I see broken markers and many laying on the ground where they were knocked over. I have seen graves that are really cluttered with old flowers or trinkets that are left by people and piling up like a garage sale. Those graves need to be cleaned up now and then, store away the oldest trinkets, maybe leaving two or three. And I also see where a grave may have been there for about two or three months, and nobody went back and decluttered the dead arrangements and wire stands left from the funeral. I have seen some that had mail boxes for notes, Fire pits, chairs and tables as if they have people sit around all day. I have seen very large, beautiful, gravestones. I've seen rocks as markers, wood signs, or metal. Those  make  you think about how their loved one maybe couldnt afford a headstone, but they cared to mark the grave the best way they could. I see many where the headstones are there with only names and Birthdates. Those are the ones you know are in waiting for the day that person will die. That is what my husband and I are doing. We are designing our stone now to be placed on our plots so all our children have to do is have the grave death dates.
Doing this for people I have never met and will never meet in my lifetime has really been awarding in itself. I get some really nice post from people I have fulfilled their request. I know when someone fills one for me that I cant travel to, I feel so appreciative of the time they took to walk around looking for my love one. This is also a great way for birth dates , death dates , maiden names, and marriage dates to be updated on someone's genealogy. There really is so much  a Headstone tells about a person. Some show scenes of that persons hobby, what they did for a living, or a photo of the person who lies there.
The saddest is how many children have died. You know where they are thou. They were never accountable for a sinful life. They are innocent, little angels that God had a plan for early in their life.
This is not a scary hobby! I haven't seen any pop-ups yet! I only feel the people saying thank you for visiting me today!
In a Nut shell……We Are The Story Tellers……We are the chosen. My feelings are, in each family, there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all those who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story.

Dear Ancestor ,
Your tombstone stands among the rest; In this field of green. The name and date are chiseled out For all the world to see. It reaches out to all who care, It is too late to mourn. You did not know that I'd exist, You died long before I was born. Yet we are of one, you and I, in flesh, in blood, in bone. Our blood contracts and beats a pulse Entirely not our own. Dear Ancestor, the life you lived one hundred years ago spreads out among the ones you left who would have loved you so. I wonder if you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew that someday I would find this spot, And come to visit you.
Betty Ann


  1. I enjoyed being your guest today! Hope you are having a wonderful vacation!

  2. Wow, this an awesome guest post Betty. Very interesting 'hobby' indeed. Never thought of that. Very different indeed A whole new perspective in looking at a grave.


Let me know what you think... good, bad, and the downright ugly...