Grave Digging Halloween

Autumn backdrop at my grandparents' graves in Western Pennsylvania (c) 2016 Patricia J. Angus
Autumn backdrop at my grandparents’ graves in Western Pennsylvania in October 2011 (c) 2016 Patricia J. Angus

Halloween would not be complete without pumpkins, candy, little ghosts and ghouls, and sore feet.  If you are the family historian, this list should also include the adrenaline rush of tromping through a graveyard!  A few years ago my mother navigated a few of us to the cemetery where her parents are buried.  It was a lovely October day, and we visited the graves and reminisced against a backdrop of nature’s colorful handiwork.  It was a day of remembrance, family bonding and refection.  Whether you are physically searching for deceased family members in familiar cemeteries or perusing burial records and memorials online, it is a great weekend to dig up some data pertaining to deceased relatives!

Despite the sadness of funerals, cemeteries have always been a place of contentment for me.  While growing up in western Pennsylvania, we often played in one of the several cemeteries that graced the hilltop surrounding our neighborhood.  In the summer we frolicked amid the grassy fields and practiced riding our bikes along the pavement. During the winter we squealed in delight as we glided sleds down our favorite slope. In more recent years, my strolls amid the headstones have provided opportunities to connect with departed loved ones and to find peace and tranquility during life’s many challenges.

At times I have cherished the privilege of locating headstones for other people by filling requests on Find A Grave.  While searching for my own family interments, I have also photographed and contributed information to not only Find A Grave, but also to the Cemetery Tombstone Inscriptions and/or Contributed Records Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.   With so many cemeteries deteriorating, digital preservation is one way to preserve burial records along with local history.  If you are interested in volunteering to preserve cemeteries either physically or digitally, please contact the historical society, churches, or city offices in your hometown or current place of residence.  It is a wonderful way to contribute to your community and bless the lives of other family historians who are unable to travel long distances in search of deceased family members.  Whether you are able to romp through your family cemetery and enjoy the fall colors in person or visit the tombstone memorials online, this is a great weekend to treat someone with the gift of information from your favorite graveyard!

(c) 2016 Patricia J. Angus

Icehouse Pictures

Icehouse on Mill Pond Duxbury, MA
Icehouse on Mill Pond in Duxbury, MA

Ahhhhhh… nothing more refreshing than your favorite iced beverage on a hot summer day!  It’s almost as “cool” as hearing stories about how family history inspires and motivates people in their daily life.  The founding of Icehouse Pictures, a film transfer business, is the perfect example of what I mean.  Read it for yourself…. http://icehousepictures.com/history.html How does family history inspire YOU?  Contact me with your story!

Great Family Storytelling Article

My mother came alive and had perfect recall when recounting memories to a special cousin of mine.
My mother came alive and had perfect recall when recounting memories to a special cousin of mine.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Family Storytelling by Jeff Anderson  induced a flood of memories and emotions.  It reminded me of precious time with my grandparents as I listened to them tell stories about their lives.  Their eyes glimmered as they spoke about another place and time so long ago.  More recently I have participated in similar discussions with my own aging parents which has resulted in  smiles and tears and tender moments.  I saw a different side of them as they remembered and shared meaningful memories. Asking questions and inviting elderly family members to share their stories might be the healing balm families need to get through the frustrating adjustments associated with aging.   Thanks, Mary Beth, for sharing this link!

Find your Immigrant Ancestors this Year!

Find your Immigrant Ancestors this Year!

A friend of mine 0512-0805-0512-5720reminded me about the FREE Ellis Island website, so I have now added the link to my Research Tools. The Statue of Liberty — Ellis Island Foundation offers a free search of the Passenger Lists for persons passing through Ellis Island and the Port of New York for the years 1892 to 1924 , along with other resources and tips pertaining to genealogical research and the immigrant experience.  Visit http://www.ellisisland.org/ and explore the possibilities!  Thanks, Drew!