Friday, May 30, 2008

"We Walk With the Dead"

I loved this article at Ancestry Insider's blog: Genealogists Are the New Shaman.

I hope you've taken advantage of Familysearch's Pilot website. Even if their specific collection of records has nothing about your family, you can still get involved with the indexing project. Every pair of hands gets that work done faster! And it's easy! I've been indexing Louisiana death certificates from the 1940s, and while the handwriting is hard to read sometimes, the work is interesting and goes by fast.

Enjoy your "dead-walking" day. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

When I was a little girl, we had a tradition of traveling to Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, to clean and decorate our family members' graves. Everyone's grown older and moved away, but every so often we still get together to fix up the graves. My grandmother says that her mother, Adina Keithler, used to spend a week picking flowers from her yard and making elaborate arrangements to place on the family graves on Memorial Day. I'd love to carry on that tradition.

Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. We have several loved ones buried here. It's beautiful and I love visiting any other day but Memorial Day, when it's a zoo.

Our Gran. We all miss him dearly. (We miss everyone else too - but he died more recently and it's still pretty tender.)

Neenaw's parents, Poppy (Howard) and Grandma (Adina)

Aunt Rose and Uncle Kenneth - Aunt Rose is Adina's youngest sister. They're right across the cemetery driveway from each other.

Jennie Keithler, Howard's mother, at Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver. Her husband Ignatius Keithler died long before she did and is buried in Montana. She was a plucky little widow for almost forty years before she passed away. Neenaw says she refused to live with any of her children - always wanted to keep her independence. I don't blame her.

John Lawrence Keithler, son of Howard and Adina, also at Park Hill. His headstone is always completely overgrown whenever we visit and is also the hardest to find (guilty voice: "Maybe if we visited more often, we'd know where his grave is...."). John was a young man, only 29 when he died, and the family bought two plots and a double headstone for him and his wife Corky. Corky probably always planned on being buried beside him, but being young herself, was married again and died in Wyoming. So we still have this plot and half a headstone... hmmmm. (Not that we're anxious to fill it or anything.)

Howard Ernest, son of Howard and Adina, buried in the children's section at Park Hill Cemetery. He died at age fourteen.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day. I hope you are able to visit some family graves today.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

OH BOY!!! Look what I just found!

Watch out, your days of monopolizing records and charging people up the yang for 'em are numbered.'s Pilot Website is making some of its records available. I just found this German baptism record for some Steinhilber relatives (if you click on it: scroll down to Johannes Steinhilber - Johannes is my great-great-great grandfather).

As this great project keeps rolling right along, helped by thousands of volunteers like my friend and fellow FHC staff member, more and more of these records will become available for searching. Free.

If it's not happening fast enough for you, I'm sure you'd be willing to help out: they can tell you how to get started indexing these records.

*doing the Chris Farley "AWE!SOME!" thing*

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dousing for the Dead

Yesterday at the cemetery, as we were spending quality time with a few headstones and wondering about the empty spaces between, I told my friend Michelle about this article, describing a process by which burial places are found by "witching." Makes you want to go out and try it, doesn't it? (Thanks to Heather for the link)

Here's a video... pretty weird!

On another topic: A cemetery caretaker in Texas would rather not have you show up and take photographs of headstones with your digital camera. Read more here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I found this on a Findagrave memorial and stole it:


If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them?
Or don't you really know?
Strange discoveries are sometimes made,
In climbing the family tree
Occasionally one is found in line
Who shocks his progeny.
If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Perhaps there might be one or two
You wouldn't care to know
Now turn the question right about,
And take another view
When you shall meet your ancestors,
Will they be proud of you?

Author: Unknown