Monday, February 8, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Edward F. Harney

This is the tombstone of Edward F. Harney.  This picture was taken in Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Seattle, King County, Washington.

Edward is the brother of my great grandfather, William Fredrick Harney.  He was born April 29th, 1883 in Indiana.  He moved to Seattle and raised his family there.  He died on December 8th, 1944.

Note: This picture was taken by Karen Sipe and is on the FindAGrave website.  You can view his memorial page here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Symbols Found On The Gravestones Of Children

Burying a child is every parent's worse nightmare.  Unfortunately it was something that our ancestors had to do all too often.

Below is a list of commonly used symbols on the gravestones of children:
  • Butterflies: This is often a symbol that represents an early death or a life taken too soon.
  • Lamb: This represents innocence or sinlessness.
  • Birds with Wings (as if flying): This symbolizes the soul's flight to heaven.
  • Angels: The idea behind this symbol is that an angel guides the soul to heaven.
  • Urn or Vase: A symbol of an early death.
  • Dove: This is a symbol that represents love, tenderness, peace, purity, and innocence.
When searching for the gravestone of a child, search for these symbols.  Have you ever seen these symbols on the gravestones of children?  What other symbols have you seen on the gravestones of children?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wilbourn Vines - Nashville National Cemetery

To the left is a picture of the grave stone of Wilbourn Vines.  He died on February 19, 1864 while serving in the state of Tennessee during the Civil War.

Wilbourn Vines (Also known as William Wilbourn Vines) and is my great-great-great grandfather.  He is the father of Edna Jane Vines and the husband of Melvina Dugger.

He lived in eastern Tennessee in Johnson County.  He was born about 1835.

Wilborurn Vines is buried in the Nashville National Cemetery in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee.  He is in plot E.1528

Note: This picture was taken by Kathy Bilbrey, a volunteer.  It is because of people like her that I am able to see the graves of my ancestors that are buried very far away from me.  I am always grateful to the wonderful, helpful, and knowledgeable volunteers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Daniel Weston and Elizabeth Coombe Weston

To the left is a picture of my great-great grandfather's tombstone.  His name was Daniel Weston.  He was a Welsh mining immigrant who came to this country with his family in 1889.  He settled with his family in the small mining town of Black Diamond in King County, Washington.

The family bible is currently on display at the Black Diamond Museum.

To the left is a picture of Daniel's wife, Elizabeth Francis (Coombe) Weston.  Elizabeth and Daniel were the parents of 12 children, including two sets of twins.

As you can tell, Elizabeth's stone is deteriorating.

The couple is buried in Black Diamond Cemetery, which is located in Black Diamond, King County, Washington.

Note: The pictures above can be found at

Further Reading:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

5 Tasks You Can Complete in 30 Minutes Or Less

We all lead busy lives and the time we have to dedicate to our genealogy is often very limited. It is important that we spend the time wisely and efficiently to get the most from it.

With that in mind, I created this list of 5 things you can do in 30 minutes or less that involves cemetery-related research. Here are 5 cemetery-related things you can do in 30 minutes or less.

1.) Search for your ancestor. Enter as much detail into the search boxes to see if you get anything. If you aren't getting any results, then begin entering less and less information into the search boxes until you get more results.

2.) Request a photo on for an ancestor when you know the cemetery.

3.) Upload 5 cemetery photos that you've taken to so that other people can have access to them.

4.) Read about cemeteries. Pick a cemetery related topic and do a Google search on it. You will most likely find lots of blog posts about preservation, different types of stones used in different time periods or geographic locations, what the symbols on grave stones means, etc. The point here is to learn something new.

5.) Plan a cemetery trip. You can make a list of the cemeteries you want to visit. You can pack the bag you are planning on taking with you. You can look up directions and/or print out maps that tell you how to get to the cemetery. You can email local historical/genealogy societies in the area of the cemetery to see if a volunteer would be interested in showing you around or sharing information.

I hope these quick and easy activities show you that with just a little bit of time, you can still get a lot of cemetery related activities done.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Where is Adolf Doerflinger?

Note: Before I let you read this article, I just want to apologize for letting this blog go. It was wrong of me to ignore this blog as if it doesn't exist. But it is a new year and I am going to give this blog life again. I got discouraged because I don't have many cemetery photos...but that is okay. I've decided to post about the pictures I wish I had and my theories about where my ancestors are buried. So....a new year and a new start for this blog. I will probably be redesigning the blog so look for that in the coming days.

Adolph Doerflinger is my great great grandfather and I don't have a picture of his tombstone.

Adolph has always been one of my most interesting ancestors. He is the man who left his first wife, Augusta Baumeister (whom I am descended from) for his mistress. He then married his mistress and moved to California where he raised his new family, leaving his wife all alone. His son from his first marriage is rumored to have harbored a lot of anger toward his father's new family.

Luckily I've recently met a new Doerflinger cousin who is Adolph's granddaughter from his second marriage. She was nice enough to share the information that she knows about the family - including where she says Adolph is buried.

However I have yet been able to drive out to the cemetery to figure out if he really is buried there.

I checked and there is only one "Adolph Doerflinger" in their database who is buried in Missouri and the dates just don't match.

So until I have the time, gas money, and someone willing to drive me since I do not have my license - I will not be able to go exploring the cemetery.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Laid to Rest at Sea

I don't have many memories of my Grandma Dugger. When I was a baby, she was diagnosed with dementia. Soon after, she was placed in a state-run nursing facility.

I know that my dad went to visit her a lot, but I didn't go too often. I think it was just too painful for him to watch her not remember me, since only years before she was bragging about how I was her first granddaughter.

The visits that I do remember are not exactly pleasant memories. I remember visiting her when her illness had progressed very far. Since my cousin Jen and I were still very young, he would take my grandma out of the nursing home to go to the park. We would grab lunch at McDonalds and head out to the park that my grandma used to take me to.

My dad used to have to lift my grandma out of her wheelchair to put her in the car. As we would drive, she would begin to repeat certain words. She loved to stare at the sky and I remember her often repeating the word "bird" when she saw a seagull or pigeon fly by. I also remember wishing that I had a "normal" grandma who would make me cookies and take my shopping like other kids had. Now that I am older, I feel bad for feeling that way, but I remind myself that I was only a kid.

The sicker my grandmother got, the less often I went with my dad to visit her. While my dad and I have never had an in-depth discussion on the reasons for this, I think it is because it was just too painful for him. My dad's family is not much of an emotional bunch and I know it was difficult for him watching her mind and health deteriorate. My dad had such a close relationship with his mom - so watching her health slowly deteriorate must have been difficult.

She died when I was 12, just before I got interested in genealogy. I remember hearing the news that she had passed away. My dad went to go stay at a motel for a few days because he wanted to be alone. I always figured that a funeral would happen eventually, but it never did. We didn't mention my grandma in our house for months after she died because we all knew it was too painful for my dad to discuss.

Many years later I asked my dad where grandma was buried or where her ashes had been scattered. To my shock, he told me that a nonprofit organization had taken her ashes out to sea. I asked if anyone in the family had been on the boat as her ashes were spread out - he said no.

Perhaps if I was part of another family, I would feel that my Grandma Dugger's children had abandoned her. I know that they did not abandon her but that they loved her very much. The only people that were left in the family were her three surviving children and her three grandchildren. No one had the money for a formal funeral - the family had already spent the little money that we had on her hospital care.

I am very grateful for this organization - because they spread my Grandma's ashes in the ocean. They said a few prayers and then came back to shore.

I have very few pictures of Grandma Dugger and I. The ones that I do have include ones of her showing me how to make a sand castle and holding a sand crab. I know that the ocean was a very peaceful place for her, so I am happy that she was laid to rest at the place that brought her so much happiness.

Nancy Jean (Rogers) Dugger
1924 - 2002
Loving Mother
Greatly Missed