Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year - New Hobby

Happy New Year ! I can't say I'm sorry to see 2016 leave.

Last year I did get back into my genealogy research in a big way and I made a lot of progress. I do have one brick wall that I'm chipping away at and maybe this is the year that I'll find the documentation I need.

 Several years ago I located the cemetery where my 5th great grandfather, Hezekiah Wilcox, was buried in 1819. Hezekiah has become my favorite ancestor. He was born on December 25, 1731 in Westerly, Rhode Island, married Hannah Parker and they had twelve children. Hezekiah was a farmer and supplied the Colonial Army during the Revolution.

 He died in Watch Hill, Rhode Island and was buried in what was then called the Jonathan Foster Burying Ground along with about 150 others. Most of the people buried there were moved to another newer and larger cemetery but 10 graves remain and one of them is Hezekiah.
I really wanted a picture of his tombstone, but I couldn't get to Rhode Island, so I put a request on the internet for someone in that area to take a photo for me. A wonderful woman, Julie,  responded and I gave her all the info I had. She spent one Saturday driving back roads looking for the cemetery and she found it. It's now referred to as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #31.
Most of the remaining stones are illegible and that includes Hezekiah's. Julie sent this photo along with the gps coordinates. She even checked out a nearby Champlin Wilcox cemetery.

It seems that Julie is one of an international group of volunteers that document cemeteries for the website Find A Grave.  The goal is to create a worldwide virtual cemetery that anyone can visit to leave a memorial or to find information on family for genealogical research. I have used the site and found links to ancestors that I didn't know about.

On the site there are dates and links to other family members and  pictures of the cemeteries and in many cases the  markers. Over the last few months I've found many relatives and sent links to their  spouses and children. Each link has to be reviewed by the sponsor of the individual burial. I decided t become a volunteer and added some burials I was aware of that were not already recorded, Hezekiah being one.

Now I have also become a photo volunteer and will try to answer requests for photos in my area. There is a large cemetery just two blocks from us which has been well documented and photographed, but I noticed that there are about 60 infants and young children buried there that have not had photos added of their headstones. Some date back to the early 1900s.
  Last week Rob and I spent several hours walking thru the cemetery taking photos of the baby's graves. Then when I got home I added them to the website. Some are incredibly sad, but I'm doing my best to find their identities.
Everyone should be remembered and this project makes that easier. If a husband and wife are buried in different cemeteries, this site can link them and their children. I get some deep satisfaction from reuniting families in this way. If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, here is Hezekiah's link.
His site is a work in progress as I haven't located his wife or most of his children.

If any of you are researching your ancestors, check out Find A Grave. It's a great tool and you'll lose yourself for hours looking for loved ones.


Molly and Mackie said...

How interesting this is and how very rewarding! We'll be checking out your link!

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Very interesting hobby! What a kind lady that Julie was! Mom says her children are always wanting to know more and more about their family history. Maybe she needs a new hobby too:)

Woos - Lightning and Misty

rottrover said...

I love the idea of documenting the children's graves. SO interesting...

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

The internet has been a wonderful tool in connecting so many of those lines in our family trees. I wish you much success as you do your research and discover your family members. My husband is heavily involved in doing it as well, and I'll have to ask him if he knows about the resources you've mentioned - THANKS!!

Casey said...

What a neat hobby! Momma says she loves old cemeteries. They're very peaceful.

Two French Bulldogs said...

It's so interesting researching genealogy stuff
Happy New Year
Lily & Edward

How Sam Sees It said...

I've bookmarked the page - definitely something I will look into later on!

...and how neat you found Hezekiah's grave!

Monty, Harlow, and Ramble