Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Who Finds Who?

I've heard stories of people, genealogists in particular, visiting cemeteries, looking for the headstone of one of the ancestors and they are somehow drawn to park in a particular spot or walk in a particular direction that helps them find the headstone easily instead of spending hours on end looking at each and every headstone hoping to find that one.

When it comes to my family history research, it almost seems as if aunts and uncles I know and love, when they pass, they go through Heaven, round up the ancestors and get them to check in with their descendants. Before my Aunt Loretta died, we knew nothing of the Panther ancestors. Eight months after she passed, the breakthrough discovery was made that allowed me to research an extensive family tree going back to the 1650s. Then, this past December, my Uncle Urban passed away and just a few months later, I made a breakthrough discovery that (hopefully) will open another extensive family history project. I've heard genealogists state very convincingly, "They want to be found."

Here's another example that is just uncanny. When I went to my Uncle Urban's funeral, I went to St. James Cemetery in St. Paul, Lee County, Iowa in order to take a photo of my great-great-grandmother's headstone. I was very happy I found her! Then when I got back, I was disappointed when I discovered that one of my great-great-great-grandfathers is buried in the same cemetery and I didn't realize it so I didn't think to look for him and get a photo of his headstone. I sent an email to a cousin of mine that lives not too terribly far from there that is also interested in genealogy and is a great photographer. His name is Mark Fullenkamp. I asked him to see if he could find Johan Heinrich Kempker's headstone the next time he was in the area and get a photo for me.

He was happy to do so and stopped with his kids at the cemetery in St. Paul. It was a very cold and blustery day and hard as he tried, he couldn't find Great-Great-Great-Grandpa Kempker's headstone. While he was there, he took a few photos of his kids like he typically does. In a couple of the photos, it shows his son walking through the cemetery and tripping. We were both disappointed he couldn't find the headstone of the last of my ancestors buried in America that I don't have a photo of.

This past weekend, I got back to the area and found Johan Heinrich Kempker's headstone. It's a very distinctive shape that you can't confuse with any other headstone in the cemetery. I uploaded the photo to Find-A-Grave and sent Mark a link to it. He went through his photos and discovered this.

Yes, his son tripped directly in front of Johan Heinrich's headstone. I think his great-great-great-great-grandfather was trying to get his attention.


No comments:

Post a Comment