Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday Day Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Genealogy Day Ever

I've noticed recently that several of the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun topics appear to be annual themes.  Last year's request for "best genealogy day" was in October, however, not November.  But on to this week's request from Randy Seaver's:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible music, please!):

1) What was your very "Best Genealogy Day Ever?"  It might be the day you solved a thorny research problem, the day you spent at a repository and came away with more records than you could imagine, or the day you met a cousin or visited an ancestral home.


2)  Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.  Be sure to drop a comment to this post if you write your own blog post and link to it.


I've already written about two really great genealogy days (figuring out my great-great-grandmother's actual maiden name and meeting a lot of cousins from one family line), so I had to think about another good one.  I have settled on the day on which serendipity played a part.

At some point I learned that my paternal grandfather's mother, Laura May (Armstrong) Sellers Ireland, had been living with him when she died, and I ordered her death certificate from the state of Florida.  The certificate told me that she was buried in the Valparaiso Cemetery, Valparaiso being essentially a "twin city" to Niceville, where I used to live.  Valparaiso also is not far from where my father has been living for several years now.  So I told my father that the next time I came to visit, we were going to find his grandmother's grave.

I think it was the summer of 1995 when I flew out.  My stepfather had agreed we would scatter my mother's ashes when my brother and I were both there, and my brother was going to be in the area for his high school 15-year reunion, so I made plans to be there also.  I reminded my father ahead of time we were going to the cemetery.

The day we went to look for the cemetery, my father decided we didn't need a map, because Valparaiso was so small it wasn't going to take us long to find it (ha!).  My stepmother came with us.  After driving around for an hour or so and finding absolutely nothing, my father finally listed to my suggestion to ask at the police department.  As I had suspected, they knew exactly where it was, and off we went again.

When we finally found the cemetery, it was a small, square, fenced-in plot.  A caretaker's building was off to the side, but no one was there.  The entrance gate was in the middle of one of the sides.  We had no idea where my great-grandmother's stone would be, so the three of us walked in and headed in three different directions.  My father went to one side, my stepmother to the other side, and I went straight ahead to the rear fence to start from there.

Just as I arrived at the far side, my father called out that we should probably be looking for a flat stone, because as we all knew, my grandfather was pretty tight with money and wouldn't have spent enough for a standing stone.  After we all laughed, I turned and looked down at the ground where I had stopped —and there she was!  And it was a flat stone, just as my father had predicted!

I thought it was nice that even though I never had the opportunity to meet my great-grandmother in life, I was able to find her tombstone and make a connection to her that way.

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