When our kids were here over Christmas, we got into the old suitcase that my Grandma used when she took her train trip to California in 1947. My whole childhood Grandma would re-live that trip she and Grandpa took to visit my parents. It now holds precious memories in the form of pictures, clippings, receipts and the intricate genealogy that Grandma worked on her entire adult life. As a child I can remember Grandma discussing genealogy with my Mom when we would visit. It sounded like this, "Her mother was a Jenkins and on the paternal side they were Austins. Her cousin, twice removed was Ruth Raley's husband." Greek to me! Then 50 years passed and I inherited the papers that meant so much to Grandma. As I looked at her handwritten documentation of her family, it began to make sense. The work that went into compiling her records is none short of miraculous. She wrote for census records, waiting patiently for the answers to come back via mail. She corresponded with the few relatives still living to have accurate accounts of births and deaths, marriages and even cemetery records.
If you have ever been interested in finding relatives from generations back, there are countless sites online to help. There are even software programs like Family Tree Maker and The Master Genealogist that help you through the detailed job of searching. It's not as easy as you think, but it's very much like a giant puzzle and once you get started, it's addictive.
Online you can search at Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com. ArkansasGravestones.org has cemeteries online, complete with pictures. For some it's the only way they can ever see and know where loved ones are buried. This gravestone was my Great-Grandfather Thomas Keeling.
Bird Moore Milum was Grandma's Grandfather, I love that name!
His wife was America Milum!
My Grandmother's sister, died of scarlet fever when she was 17 months.
Grandma's Father, C.W. Milum, died when she was 16.
Rafe Milum, Grandma's brother who died in infancy.
Catherine Nation Ledbetter Tabor, Great Grandmother of my Dad
This is probably the oldest headstone, my Grandma's Great-Great-Great Grandfather Jordan Milum who served in the Revolutionary War. It's at the Old Milum Cemetery, not to be confused with the Milum Cemetery 20 miles away!
Epitaphs, the short text honoring a deceased person and inscribed on their tombstone or plaque can be verse, relationship (Father, Mother, Sister, Brother) or favorite scripture or saying. Look HERE for some memorable epitaphs!
Remember me as you pass by;
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be:
Prepare for death, and follow me.