I had someone ask me once "why do you care so much about headstones? surely, you can find all that information somewhere else", well most of the time you can but not always. Every time you can document a fact, you should. Headstones are just another way to document. You can't always find proof of birth date or a spouse's name. Birth dates can be hard to prove, for example a census record only gives you an approximation of the year, not an actual date.
There are lots of things to learn when you find their final resting place. The cemetery office or funeral home sometimes keeps files on the people they are in charge of. They may have things like death certificate, obituary, military rankings, and most importantly where they are buried exactly.
But mainly I like to find them to pay my respects. I love to see where their final resting place is and look at their headstones. Let them know that they are not forgotten and that they are missed.
I can't always go to the cemetery where my family is buried because of time, money and distance. As I have written about Find A Grave before, some of you may know what it is. But for those that don't, it's a volunteer based site, where you can create "memorials" for your loved ones and ask for a volunteer to go take a photo of their headstone and post it for you. I do volunteer for this site, and have taken many photo's for people that have family in the Elko area. I love it! But I don't just take photo's for others, I also ask for photo's to be taken for my own family. That is one of the great things about genealogists...we love to help each other out. :)
I had asked for a volunteer to take a photo of my 2x Great Grandparents marker, Jacob and Jennie Timbrel who are buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Denver, CO. I had two people step up to the plate a couple years ago. The first one went to the cemetery looked and couldn't find their headstones. And that's ok...that happens, especially when you don't have plot information. The next gentleman though went beyond just looking and tracked down their plot numbers which he later sent to me. But more than that he took photo's of where they are buried. He emailed me to let me know that for sure they didn't have headstones and that they were not even buried next to each other, but on opposite sides of the cemetery. Then he later sent me photo's of their burial spots with a grid on the photo showing exactly where they are at. Wow!
What a sad day it was for me to find out that not only were they not buried next to each other but that they didn't have headstones either. Someday I will have enough money to get them proper headstones but till then I have these precious photos. I may not be able to physically go to their graves or see a headstone, but they are not forgotten. I think of Jake and Jennie often...as they are never far from my mind. Even when I am working on different lines, they are always there...
Here are links to their memorials on Find A Grave:
Jacob C Timbrel b. 19 Oct 1859 d. 6 Apr 1939
Jennie E. Timbrel b. Sep 1861 d. 5 Mar 1938
|Jacob C. Timbrel photo courtesy: Paul C Biwer|
|Jennie E. Timbrel photo courtesy: Paul C Biwer|
Thank you Paul C Biwer!