ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tales from the Graveyard

Updated on October 14, 2015
Nick Burchett profile image

Nick is a US Army veteran, husband and father of three, and has a BA in History. He is a Civil War aficionado and also enjoys genealogy.

The final resting place of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and his family at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.
The final resting place of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and his family at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. | Source

Most people probably think a guy wandering around a cemetery checking out graves with notebook in hand is a bit odd. What enjoyment or information can you possibly get from a bunch of dead people and the stones marking their final resting place?

Believe it or not, there is a lot to be learned, as well as enjoyment, from spending some time at a local cemetery. Sounds morbid, but it really isn't. I'll try to explain.

You can really get some good information from a simple headstone when you are attempting to research a particular person in your family, even if the stone isn't that person. Many times, the people buried around each other had some sort of relationship during their lives. This can help in determining if a person is indeed who you think they are.

Sometimes the stone will have extra information. They might have markings such as "husband of" or "wife of" with dates listed on them. You might find children's names and dates on them. This can be great information for piecing together research and verifying its accuracy.

In some cases you will have military service listed. This is another great piece of information for discovering the history of the person you are researching. It is also great for ensuring you have the correct person. Many will not only show their service, but what units they were with and their rank. Again, this is great information when you are putting the pieces together on an individual's life history.

In less common cases you might even get affiliations listed on the stone or on auxiliary markers next to the stone. They may have been members of the American Legion, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Odd Fellows, the I.B.E.W. or other organizations. This gives you great information about their community involvement and where they put their roots down at. You can then find records from these organizations and piece together the details of the person you are researching. This information can also serve to prove or disprove the accuracy of the information or even if the person is the person you are researching.

Edley Jewell never made it next to his wife, Elmiry and headed to California instead.
Edley Jewell never made it next to his wife, Elmiry and headed to California instead. | Source

But aside for all that there are also stories that can come from a walk through a cemetery. You will see stones of unnamed infants, children who passed on too soon, and families all buried together. These, in my opinion, are the heartbreaking tales of our fragile lives. You will find memorials to fathers and mothers, some with long passages to commemorate them. You will see some that are designed with that person's passion - a golf fanatic, a hunter, a carpenter, a seamstress, etc. and you get a picture of what that person might have been life in life.

You will find mysteries and in the process of trying to solve that mystery you learn a little of that person's life. I once walked through a rural cemetery in Missouri and found a stone that showed a husband and wife, Edley and Elmiry Jewell, except that the husband's death date was not complete. It showed his birth date and then death of 19??. After a little more research I found out that the man's wife had died and she was buried there and when the stone was made he was added as well, assuming he would be buried there too. Turns out he packed the kids up, moved to California and died there, never returning to be buried next to his wife, leaving his date blank there in Missouri.

And finally there is enjoyment and satisfaction that can come from an outing at a cemetery. It is quiet, peaceful, serene and a good place to just shut out the business of today's society and find a place to just stop, gather your thoughts, enjoy the beauty of the outside world and just take a breather from every day stresses. One of the organizations I belong to make it a point to go and take care of the stones of Civil War soldiers and ensure they are cleaned and properly taken care of. This goes beyond respect for the dead. It is respect and gratitude for their service of our country and the sacrifice they made and to ensure their final resting places are maintained out of this respect.

The tales that cemeteries tell are endless, the history is timeless, and the emotions priceless. Learning about your family and passing that information along to your progeny is a wonderful way to remember and celebrate the lives of those who went before you. Learning about the lives of other people, either in the process of researching your own family or simply out of curiosity, is an excellent way to get in touch with your community and society as a whole.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 years ago from USA

      I agree. It's actually a pretty interesting place to spend some time. When I go to visit the graves of relatives, I usually take a small picnic lunch then walk around to explore. Some of the inscriptions are fascinating. Voted up and more!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I visited this woman's grave who died on her 100th birthday and died seems like the 60s. I started taking her flowers and I did for years and foe some reason something made me look her up at the library though I had no idea I would find her but I did and he sister buried beside her. I just found out all sorts of things about her and her family and were they came from, it was just a treasure uncovering it all.

      I don't like fresh graves but I am enchanted with the old ones.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)