For the past ten years we have driven that one and a half hour journey on I-65 from Northwest Indiana taking my kids back and forth to Purdue University in West Lafayette. We attended first year orientations, moved them in and out of dorms and apartments, cheered at football and basketball games, and proudly attended and cried at graduations.
Little did I realize that in all those travels how close we were to a part of my past. Little did I know that over 180 years ago my ancestors worked, raised families and traveled only twenty miles from where I often visited. I only knew of the majority of my ancestors, including my parents, who were originally from Missouri and Texas.
Earlier this year I learned that my great-great-great-great-grandparents were buried near Delphi, Indiana which was only 20 miles from where we had been traveling to all these years.
So this past summer when we drove down one last time to help my youngest son compile all his belongings into a U-Haul and move home after his graduation, we decided to find this cemetery and pay honor to these folks that were part of my ancestry.
Fortunately, this cemetery was small enough that it was a short search for the gravesites. I was excited to stand near the graves of these great-great-great-great-grandparents who died in the mid 1800’s. I was amazed by the fact that I was standing near the grave where my ancestors were buried 160 years ago. Would they ever have imagined that a descendant – a granddaughter – would be standing there?
I have found stories of these ancestors that have been recorded by others. I don’t know if they ever journaled personally to preserve their own stories. I would love to know how they commuted, did they travel much, how did they spend time with their family? Were they anything like me or was I anything like them? It was an odd feeling standing in this cemetery in the middle of farmlands knowing that part of me was here.
How far back have you been able to trace your ancestors? Find A Grave has over 138 million grave records and is an excellent source for finding information and leads. Pull out your laptop or grab a pen and paper and start Keeping Your Memories of the stories you have heard your parents or grandparents share with you about their grandparents. If you don’t have many of those stories, record stories of your grandparents for future generations to read.
- Do you remember any special stories your grandparents told you?
- Where did your grandparents live?
- Where were they born?
- What circumstances brought them to the place where your parents were born?
- If your grandparents are still with you, are they able to tell you stories of their grandparents?