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Day of the Dead

Posted by Crista Cowan on October 31, 2011 in Social Media, Stories

I’ve always loved Halloween. The candy. The silly costumes. The candy. The great Autumn decorations. Did I mention the candy? Maybe I love Halloween because my birthday is the very next day. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a fascination with dead people.

I was raised in California where many of our Mexican friends and neighbors celebrated a holiday called The Day of the Dead. It is celebrated in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (which is my birthday – coincidence?) and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd). During this holiday family and friends gather together to pray for and remember those who have died. One of the traditions associated with this celebration is the decorating of grave sites. Families will spend the entire day in the cemetery, eating picnics of their deceased relatives’ favorite foods, playing their favorite music and watching the children run and play among the tombstones.

Taken in the Ashland (Ohio) City Cemetery

These celebrations stem from the belief that during this time of year the veil between life and the after-life is thinnest. Each of these activities is designed to welcome the spirits of deceased ancestors to reveal themselves to loved ones. I think I identify a little better with these traditions than with the fear-inducing traditions of American Halloween celebrations (no haunted corn mazes for me…but I’ll still take the candy).

As a genealogist who wouldn’t want to hear from deceased loved ones? I would love one more chance to ask my grandfather to share his memories of his paternal grandmother. I would enjoy meeting the great-grandmother I am named after and would love to know if we share anything else – hair color, eye color, personality traits. It would be great to hear from my great-great-grandfather, John O’Brien. Maybe he could help me figure out which of the thirty-seven John O’Briens I’ve narrowed it down to is really him. Was he born in Ohio or Ireland? Was he really 99 years old when he died or only 85? Of course, as often as he lied in life, could I really expect things to be much different in death?

It’s not a trick.

What ancestor would you find it a treat to sit down and visit with if you could?

I may not be able to sit down with my deceased ancestors but I have learned that their death records can tell me a lot about their lives. If you missed my broadcast last week about death records you can watch a replay here. You can also watch a replay of Lorraine’s Halloween Day discussion of obituaries and cemeteries here. Then enjoy digging into a few of the 1,869 databases on Ancestry.com that contain death records!

Until next time – Have fun climbing your family tree…

About Crista Cowan
Crista has been doing genealogy since she was a child. She has been employed at Ancestry.com since 2004. Around here she's known as The Barefoot Genealogist.Google Twitter

6 comments

Comments
1 D. EickOctober 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I love this day, too. Not Halloween, but Dia de los Muertos! Day of the Dead. I think honoring our ancestors and being knowledgeable about our roots is part of good citizenship.

2 Kirk GrahamOctober 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm

If I could, I’d like to sit with my surname brick wall, Peter Graham of Orangeburg SC, and talk about his family history.

3 Kirk SellmanOctober 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I’d talk to my great-great-grandfather and want to know about how the family fell apart after he was wounded in the Civil War.

4 Anne HarmisonNovember 1, 2011 at 6:19 am

Here in New Orleans we have the same traditions of cleaning the graves and honoring the dead on All Saints day. It’s not as big of a tradition as it was years ago but we are trying to revive it.

5 qr barcodeNovember 3, 2011 at 3:09 am

It seems to be great way of remembering the ancestors and knowing about them.

6 Aida CollantesNovember 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Día de los Muertos
Publicado por Crista Cowan el 31 de octubre de 2011 en los medios de comunicación social, las historias
Siempre me ha gustado Halloween. Los dulces. Los trajes tonto. Los dulces. Las decoraciones de otoño grandes. ¿He mencionado que el caramelo? Tal vez me encanta Halloween, porque mi cumpleaños es el día siguiente. Tal vez sea porque siempre he tenido una fascinación con los muertos.

Yo me crié en California, donde muchos de nuestros amigos mexicanos y los vecinos celebran una fiesta llamada El Día de los Muertos. Se celebra en el marco de las fiestas católicas de Todos los Santos (que es mi cumpleaños – coincidencia) y Todos los Santos el día (02 de noviembre). Durante este día de fiesta de la familia y amigos se reúnen para orar y recordar a aquellos que han muerto. Una de las tradiciones relacionadas con esta fiesta es la decoración de las tumbas. Las familias pasan el día entero en el cementerio, comer las comidas campestres de los alimentos a sus parientes fallecidos favoritos, tocando su música favorita y ver a los niños correr y jugar entre las tumbas.

Tomada en el cementerio de Ashland (Ohio) Ciudad

Estas celebraciones se derivan de la creencia de que durante esta época del año el velo entre la vida y la vida después de la es más delgada. Cada una de estas actividades está diseñado para dar la bienvenida a los espíritus de los antepasados ​​difuntos que se revelan a sus seres queridos. Creo que me identifico un poco mejor con estas tradiciones que con las tradiciones inducidos por el miedo de los estadounidenses celebraciones de Halloween (no hay laberintos de maíz obsesionado por mí … pero aún así a tomar el caramelo).

Como genealogista que no quieren saber de sus seres queridos fallecidos? Me gustaría una oportunidad más para hacer a mi abuelo para compartir sus recuerdos de su abuela paterna. Me gusta conocer a la bisabuela me nombre y me gustaría saber si compartimos algo más – el color del pelo, color de ojos, rasgos de personalidad. Sería muy bueno saber de mi tatara-tatara-abuelo, John O’Brien. Tal vez él podría ayudarme a averiguar cuál de los O’Briens treinta y siete John me he reducido a es realmente él. ¿Nació en Ohio o Irlanda? ¿Fue realmente 99 años de edad cuando murió, el 85 solamente? Por supuesto, todas las veces que mintió en la vida, le voy a esperar que las cosas serán muy diferentes en la muerte?

No es un truco.

Lo que los antepasados ​​se lo encuentra un placer sentarse a visitar a si pudieras?

No puede ser capaz de sentarse con mis antepasados ​​fallecidos, pero he aprendido que sus registros la muerte me puede decir mucho acerca de sus vidas. Si te perdiste mi mensaje de difusión la semana pasada sobre los registros de la muerte se puede ver la repetición aquí. También puede ver la repetición de la discusión de Lorena Día de Halloween de esquelas y cementerios aquí. A continuación, disfrutar de la excavación en algunas de las 1.869 bases de datos en Ancestry.com que contienen los registros de defunción!

Hasta la próxima vez – Que se diviertan subiendo su árbol genealógico …

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