Sunday, April 13

From Ashes to Ashes...

Ecclesiastes 12:7: "then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."

This weekend, I had the house to myself.  With her handsome hubby out of town for a guy's weekend, what's a girl to do on a beautiful spring day?  Well, I decided to take a little road trip of sorts that I've been wanting to do for quite a while--go to a graveyard.

Wait, what?

Okay, a little background: My grandmother was kind enough to write down her and my grandfather's ancestry going back a few generations in my baby book when I was born, which was my first exposure to genealogy.  I became hooked on tracking my ancestry, and I was on a roll several years back with the website.  In digging up my family dirt, I discovered that I lived only about an hour away from the graves of some direct descendants on my grandmother's side!  What are the odds, considering I grew up in another state?  When I discovered this, I made a vow that I would someday get to the cemetery and "visit" my great-great-great-great-grandparents.

Whew, that's a lot of "greats"!

According to Google maps, the cemetery was only about an hour away, an easy drive through the Ohio countryside.  The weather was a balmy 68 degrees and breezy.  The sun was shining occasionally, and the only thing missing were leaves on the trees.
I didn't have a hard time finding the actual headstones.  I later discovered, after doing some web research, that many of the other names in the cemetery were also distant relatives.  I had hoped to find four specific headstones, although I only knew of two that were confirmed to be there.  Two is better than none, though, and so, without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to my 4th great-grandfather and grandmother, George and Jemima Lighthill!
(The curtains or drapes are typically a symbol of continuous mourning.)
(The book is typically a symbol of either the Bible, indicating faith, or a person who could read, a scholar.)

I hope you'll forgive them for not exchanging pleasantries.

Here are a few other pictures that I found interesting:
Not a direct relative, but the inscription made me curious: "S. H. Lighthill, Co. I, 100 O.V.I. (Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Civil War), Man of Mystery", and faintly below, "Faith, Hope and Charity".  I kept hearing the Johnny Rivers hit "Secret Agent Man" in my head after seeing this.  The 100 O.V.I. spent time in the Richmond prison camp, and then joined with Sherman's troops in his march on Atlanta.
Several of these marked the graves of Civil War vets.
I don't know who this person was, but I guessed that he was not only a sea captain sailor, but an avid arborist as well.  Certainly unique, as far as grave markers go.
It got me thinking.  I love the history of human life--the way that people used to live before modern technology.  As a living history interpreter, I have gained a general sense of what life was like when these ancestors lived.  But what was it really like?  I began to wonder about these ancestors: What did they do for fun?  Did they travel much?  Where did they live in the town?  What made them travel so far away from their family?  And, what did they look like?

(Supposedly my great-great-great-great-great grandfather [father of George Lighthill, above].  According to records, he lived to be 105, was 9 years old in Pennsylvania at the onset of the American Revolution, and at some point made his way to Iowa at 80 years old to live out the rest of his very long days.  This looks like a tinted Daguerreotype image, probably 1840s or 1850s.  It's obvious that at the time this was taken, he had no teeth!  Photo found on
Well, maybe it's okay to not know what they looked like.  He looks pretty hangry!

(Page from the 1790 census, supposedly taken in Pennsylvania, for another ancestor.  The 1790 census was the first census ever taken in the newly-formed United States of America, and my ancestors were here for it!  From left to right at the top, they recorded the names of the head of the household, free white males of sixteen years and upward including heads of families, free white males under sixteen years, free white females including heads of families, other free persons, and slaves.  I absolutely love the handwriting.  Saved from
I really love digging up my ancestry.  It can be time-consuming, but I've learned so much, and there is so much free information online nowadays. is pretty stingy with their information, but I was able to get the information I have without a subscription.  There are also free websites that you can try too, such as FamilySearchGenWeb, and GenealogyBank.  Sometimes just doing a name search on a search engine brings up entire pages of information that other genealogists have created.  Many records are public information, if you're willing to do some digging.  However you might find your family history, you'll find that it's a lot of fun to do!


  1. Good Evening,
    Just found you through the Chicken Chick:) I love genealogy too - have branches back to 1600's. There are still a couple 'mysteries.' That is amazing that you landed so close to where they were. What a treasure! When my G-ma was a live, I asked her about her side of the family. She said she didn't know anything and hung up on me. I found out later there had been a family spat over a burial plot. Who knew?
    I'm off to look at your other posts now.

  2. Welcome, and thanks for the comment! It's fun to find others who enjoy genealogy too. Family history can be so interesting!


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