Barry's Relatively Speaking: Creative Genealogy

Posted on Dec 02, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on Desmond shares the following experience.

I would like to share an interesting experience with you that I encountered in my genealogy research.

I am certain most genealogists know the frustration of locating a rural cemetery and searching for a stone with some enlightening data about a lost ancestor. I had inquired for a printed inventory of Blackfork Cemetery in Scott County, Arkansas, and could not locate one. I asked the funeral home director in Mena, Arkansas, if he knew who the caretaker of the cemetery was, but he was unable to help me. So a friend and I walked through the cemetery on a very hot July day and inspected all of the stones there.

Where was the grave of Grandma Jackson? A 1908 newspaper obituary listed Blackfork Cemetery as her final resting place, and we were given a little glimmer of hope when we found a stone for little Afton Jackson whom

we knew to be a grandchild of Grandma Jackson. Finally, we admitted that further searching was useless and prepared to leave. Then I had a flash of inspiration - why not leave a note on the cemetery gate with my name and address and ask the finder to contact me if they had any information about Grandma Jackson. I encased the note in a sandwich bag and we left, hoping for a stroke of luck. It worked! About a month later, a lady from Oklahoma contacted me and gave me the name and address of a lady who was a Jackson descendant. That lady met me at the cemetery recently and pointed out the sandstone rocks that mark Grandma Jackson's grave. She gave me more information about Grandma Jackson and soon there will be a marker for her at Blackfork Cemetery because the next researcher may not have that flash of inspiration about a note in a sandwich bag on the gatepost.

I call this "creative genealogy."

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