Pet Cemetery Stone
In his article, After the Brick Wall Falls, George Morgan mentions, “Brisco never had a grave marker. I ordered a gravestone for him, and some of my first cousins have contributed to its cost.”Â
We faced a similar problem for one of my ancestors. My great-grandfather died young, leaving a large–and young–family with no money. He never had a gravestone. My mom and I wished to do something, but the cost of gravestones was far more than we wanted to spend. We ordered a gravestone for him from a pet supply catalog. It is a beautiful granite headstone with his name and life dates engraved quite professionally. At a cost of less than $100, the marker is about one-third of the size of a traditional gravestone (much like the smaller tombstones you might see for children or infants). Except for the size, it is as beautiful and as professionally done as a more traditional and more costly grave marker.
As he was buried in an old cemetery now closed to new burials so there were no cemetery rules that we had to deal with. That might be a concern for some cemeteries. Nonetheless, we thought this was an excellent way to remember and honor one of our family without breaking the family budget.
Small Town Newspapers
I was born and raised in a small town with a local newspaper. There are many articles in the old newspapers about when our family visited other families or places. My two older brothers played basketball in the 1930s and there are stories about those games and who made baskets; my brothers were high scorers in many of the games. Later when I was married and moved out of state, whenever we visited our parents or friends, it was in the paper. My husband and all of the local men or women were included with news of their time in the service, where they trained, were stationed, what their training had been in, when they came home on leave, etc. During the Second World War many of the service people wrote to the editor and these letters were also printed.
Articles of birthdays, engagements, weddings, births, and deaths are there, plus “news” of world events, and of the people of small towns from the area. School news of each grade, 1-12, is found in some of the newspapers.
Many libraries will check for newspaper items about local people and then they will mail or send e-mails of what they find. In my home town library, the microfilm readers will also print articles as you find them in the film. There is a fee of maybe a dime for each sheet of paper you use.
Not Really â€œUncle Budâ€
I have a brother-in-law with whom I am very close. He knew very little about his family that he could pass on to his children and grandchildren so I undertook the job. I had a number of interviews with him, some after he experienced a serious illness that hampered his memory somewhat. Each time I interviewed him he talked a little and said that was about all he could remember. As I entered information in my database he had given me and started researching it, I invariably had questions that I would return to him with. Sometimes it resulted in more information and other times, it reminded him of something else totally unrelated to the original question, but proved very important.
One person came up in almost every interview I had with him. He was very proud of his Uncle Bud Williamson whom he remembered being a fireman for the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He even remembered his two sonsâ€™ names. I found the person in question with the names of the sons that my brother-in-law remembered. However, he had not been a fireman according to census records, but a laborer in some capacity for the city. Also, exhaustive research could not turn up a link to my brother-in-lawâ€™s family. I finally asked him if everybody in the area called him Uncle Bud and he said, â€œOh yeah, everybody loved him.â€ That was what I needed to save many more hours of research. My brother-in-law is in his eighties and in that era, many people were called uncle or aunt, but were no kin whatever.
I thought this might save others some headaches and many late nights of fruitless search. Iâ€™m proud to report that it took me eight months of full-time work but I did get his book completed and he was very happy with it.
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