24 November 2008


As I was scrolling through my recent articles posted to my blog, I came across a draft with no title. When I opened it, all that was on the page was the banner shown above.

OMG! I forgot to write for Julie's meme over at Genblog by Julie.

Her meme asks us to name 2 things that we are thankful for. (Watch me attempt to pull a rabbit out of my hat and kill 2 birds with one stone)

I am twice as thankful for understanding, forgiving and compassionate genea-blogger friends like - just say for instance - oh, I don't know - Oh wait, I know - like Julie!

I must step away from the computer and unplug the mouse and keyboard which I will give to my husband. He will then hide them until tomorrow. Don't laugh, it's the only tried and proven method that has worked to date!

Mummy Dahling will be here in just a few hours. First Thanksgiving she has shared with my family in 5 years. It will be an interesting day.

8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know - The Meme

One of my favorite places to dance is in the frozen food section of the grocery store.

I spent my junior year of high school in France as a foreign exchange student. To this day I cannot speak a word of French.

Before I turn 60, I want to learn how to Belly Dance. I am hoping it will make me forget how I tried to get a belly ring last summer but passed out before they could pierce my navel.

I have 4 cats - Mouser, Mama-cat, Piggy-cat and Other-cat.

I find cartoons like this hysterical

I know, I was supposed to tell you 8 things, but I want to save the rest for later.
The rules for this meme are:
1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. A the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.
I am saying "Tag, you're it" to:
footnoteMaven at footnoteMaven

23 November 2008

My 100th Post!

100 POSTS ! I have written 100 articles for my blog. I never would have thought that I would have written 100 words. I would like to thank my agent, my director...Oh wait - wrong party.

In all sincerity I would like to thank a few individuals who have encouraged, nurtured, guilted and bullied me into showing the world who I am and what I can do.

Mariam Midkiff and her Scanfests started it all for me. I got the nerve to come to one of her parties one Sunday morning and I have never looked back. Thank you Mariam for welcoming me so warmly and making me feel like I belonged.

Harold Henderson - whom I admire so much and am in awe of his skills as a journalist, writer and editor. He gave me a wonderful gift when I needed it most - a few minutes of his time - (actually it was way more than a few minutes) to help me become a better writer. Thank you Harold.

Randy Seaver - One of the funniest people I know. But he is also one of the most generous and patient people I know. When I was still hemming and hawing around about starting a blog, Randy approached me and asked if I would be a guest blogger on Genea-Musings. This was a way for me to have a blog-experience without having to commit to a blog of my own. It turned into a 6 part series and by then I was hooked. But you knew that would happen didn't you Mr. Seaver!

I am so pleased with myself, I can't stand it!

The Genealogical Source That I Am Most Grateful For

I don't think I have any ancestors from the geographical area described by this carnival, but the guest host - Elizabeth over at Little Bytes of Life - said that it wasn't a requirement to submit to this carnival. Well you know one of my mantras - Don't start the party without me!

The genealogical resources that I am most grateful for?

I am always thankful for anything that helps me become a better researcher as well as a better person but for this event I am going to single out the resource that is the most recent and perhaps most valuable - The community of Genea-Bloggers that I interact with on a daily basis. The majority of them meet in a group at Facebook - some 350 of them!

I would not have moved ahead with my career plan and life had it not been for these groovy people. They probably don't even realize how much they affect my work and my self esteem. Ever had a day when you wrote an article for your blog, posted it and thought, "Boy this is a really crappy or boring article - no one will even look at it." Then only to return to your blog the next day and find that a comment had been left by someone who really liked it.

In the year that I only lurked around the blogsphere and ever since I have become a part of it, I have NEVER observed any petty spats, jealously, fake smiles, etc. This community of people truly cares about helping each other out. Never failing to give praise when merited. Never once failing to cheer one another on in their quest to become better historians and family researchers.
Never fearing to give constructive criticism where needed. A blogger couldn't ask for a more perfect learning and growing environment.

Knowing that I may have done or said something along the way that has helped one of my peers leaves such a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy.

The Skillman Family of Pleasant Hill, Cass County, Missouri

I'd like you to meet my 3rd great grandparents. Josias Payne Skillman married Lavenia Thomas Wilson on 8 October 1840 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Lavenia is the granddaughter of Richard Thomas who I told you about in previous posts here and here.
Sometime between 1865 and 1870 Josias moved his family to Pleasant Hill which is located in Cass County, Missouri. Pleasant Hill is situated at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers.
Josias worked as a ferryman. In the photograph he is the handsome man on the right wearing spectacles.
About a year ago, I received these two photographs of the headstones of Josias and Lavenia. They are buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Cass County.
Yesterday I used them in a post for my companion blog - The Educated Graveyard Rabbit - and noticed for the first time the icon engraved on the headstone for Josias. ( Now that I am a Rabbit I pay closer attention to things like this! )

I may be wrong, but I think that the icon is Masonic in nature. Josias Payne Skillman hasn't caused me any problems in research, but I really didn't know very much about him. If this icon is Masonic, this opens a whole new avenue of research for me. What little information I do have for him never gave me an inkling that he might belong to a masonic society.
Here is the part where I get to drive home the point of how important getting an education is and how you never really stop learning when it comes to historical and genealogical research. Five or six years ago B.E. (Before Education) it never would have occurred to me that the icon on the headstone meant anything other than decoration. One year ago ACE (After & Continuing Education) after getting the photos and gleaning the dates from them I still didn't notice the icon.
As the saying goes ..."It's all in the details".


Thank you Denise over at Moultrie Creek for this Genea-Blogger event! I am a fanatic when it comes to Christmas decorations. As much as I enjoy and look forward to it, I force myself to wait until the day after Thanksgiving. Here is how Denise is running her tour of the blogs:
Many communities have tours of homes during December showing off splendid decorations in gorgeous homes. Our tour will be a bit different. Genea-Bloggers are invited to participate by creating a post describing their family’s Christmas decorations. You can choose to include decorations past or present - or even a combination of both. Because this is a tour, the more visual elements the better. You can choose to include photos, a slideshow, a digital scrapbook presentation or even a movie. It’s your tour and your choice. Send your submission (including a link to your tour posting and a short description) to me at moultriecreek@yahoo.com. Submission deadline is Sunday, December 14th.
The tour will kick off on Monday, December 15th here at Moultrie Creek and continue through the holidays. Even if you don’t “show” your blog, I hope you will take the tour and enjoy the efforts of those who do. If you have questions or suggestions, you can contact me @moultriecreek on

22 November 2008

The Problem With Two Blogs

Well, it's not really a problem unless you are me. ( I have explained to you the delicate nature of brains that are housed in blonde-haired skulls in many previous articles)

Over at The Educated Graveyard Rabbit, I write about cemeteries, headstones, etc. At this time, about 90% of it is about my family. After I post the articles, I start feeling like that information should be on this blog as well. I am not happy with just posting a short public service announcement about my other blog's recent articles and sticking a link in.

What to do? What to do?

I am going to double post, double blog, whatever you want to call it. If what I write at the Rabbit applies to this blog, then I will have the same article in both blogs and vice versa.

This is the plan for the moment. I could have an epiphany next week and change everything again. That's the beauty of having your own blog - You can do whatever you want to, when ever it strikes your fancy. (For those who don't have a fancy, you may insert a substitute part of your choice)

21 November 2008

Carnivals, Memes and Cookbooks - Oh My!

There are oodles of writing events for the next couple of weeks. In order of the deadline for submission:

The 10th Edition Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture
"For The Love of Ireland"

An invitation for you to share what you love about Ireland and Irish culture. Deadline for submissions is this Saturday, November 22nd, the one-year anniversary of the carnival. This edition will be published at Small-leaved Shamrock on Monday, November 24.

The 13th Edition Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy has a guest host - Elizabeth O'Neal at Little Bytes of Life.
In honor of Thanksgiving, the topic for this edition is: "What resources are you thankful for in your Central/Eastern European genealogical research?" A resource could be a web site, book, family member... anything or anyone that has helped you with your research.
Even if you don't have Central or Eastern European ancestors, please feel free to share a resource, tip, or process that you think might be helpful for people doing research in those areas. Submissions are due on November 23rd, and the edition will be published on Thanksgiving, November 27th (a little light reading while your turkey is digesting). You can submit your articles here, or you can send an email to Elizabeth.

Thanksgiving Meme & a Game of Tag

Julie over at Genblog wants to know what you are thankful for.
Write a blog post telling us about 2 things you are thankful for. You can post the Thanksgiving Day banner in your post if you like. Tag one person to spread the love. Post a comment on their blog so they know they've been tagged. Send Julie a link to your blog post by 11/25: genblogjulie@gmail.com. She will post all submissions on 11/26.


Geneablogger Cookbook

An opportunity to share a family recipe that brings back memories! As the holidays approach I thought it would be fun to share our favorite recipes. Now, now, no need to share family secrets! Simply email Colleen at omchodoy-at-comcast.net and she will email you a template for sharing a family dish and the history or a memory it represents and she'll compile the collection into a book. The end product will either be a Book Smart type published book for purchase or an electronic collection that can be downloaded for free! The recipe does not need to be related to the holidays, and can be for any course: Appetizer, main meal, dessert, snack, etc. Deadline to submit will actually be November 30.


61st Edition Carnival of Genealogy - Traditions!

Dictionary.com defines "tradition" as, "the handing down of statements,beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation togeneration, esp. by word of mouth or by practice."

What traditions were passed on to you from an earlier generation? Do you keep those traditions? What tradition(s) will you or have you passed on to a younger generation?

The Deadline For Submissions Is December 1, 2008

8th Edition Smile For The Camera - Stocking Stuffer

Show us that picture that would make a great Stocking Stuffer and tell us whose stocking you'd stuff.

Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that is your Stocking Stuffer. Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

Deadline for submission is midnight (PT)10 December, 2008. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival (http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_4058.html) or send an email to the host, footnoteMaven (footnoteMaven@comcast.net). Include the title and permalink URL of the post you are submitting, and the name of your blog. Put 'Smile For The Camera' clearly in the title of your email!

18 November 2008

Typealyzer This!

Leave it to Thomas MacEntee to find ways to keep us amused. His latest find over at Bootcamp for Genea-bloggers is called Typealyzer. This nifty little gadget will analyze the writing on a blog and give you results akin to the Myers-Briggs personality types.

According to the Typealyzer, The Educated Genealogist and the
Educated Graveyard Rabbit are ESTP- Extrovert Sensing Thinking Perceiving

THE DO-ERS - The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

They even show you what part of the brain was dominant during writing. For me showed Practical, Thinking (logic) and Sensing (order, habit, details).

They have a widget that you can put on your blog that updates itself as you write more posts.

"Meet My Ancestor" Night

The San Joaquin Genealogical Society is turning the tables at this month's meeting. Instead of bringing in a speaker, members will be giving mini presentations about one or more of their ancestors. How does one make the choice of which ancestor to bring? Several will bring an heirloom of some sort. I don't have any of those. Some will bring photos. All of mine are mostly copies of copies. I need to find someone who I can tell about in 5 to 10 minutes that won't bore the members to death. When is this happening? In two days. I'll let you know what I come up with.

14 November 2008

Busy Bunny

That's me, a busy bunny. Over at my other blog - The Educated Graveyard Rabbit - I have written a few articles for your reading enjoyment. Come on over and have a look!

12 November 2008

My German Russian Heritage

In 1763 Catherine the Great of Russia, published a manifesto inviting settlers to immigrate and colonize Russian promising free lands, expenses for the move, freedom from taxation for 30 years, and exemption from civil and military service for themselves and their descendants. The empress’s agents recruited settlers especially from the poorer German states devastated by the Seven Years’ War. My Befort family were among one of the first groups who made the journey in 1766 with hopes of a better future for themselves and their children.

The Catholic settlement of Obermonjou was established on the east side of the Volga River--about 40 miles northeast of Saratov--by 82 families on 5 March 1767. By 1798 the town consisted of 211 males, 218 females totaling 429 people comprising of 76 families. There are census records for the village of Obermonjou for the years 1798, 1816, 1834, 1850 and 1857. The Befort families appear in all of them.

A century after the first Germans had settled in the Volga region, Russia passed legislation that revoked many of the privileges promised to them by Catherine the Great. In 1878, 3/4 of the village of Obermonjou packed their belongings and came to the United States.

My 2nd great grandparents - Gerhardt Befort and Catherina Stecklein - arrived at the Port of New York on 17 July 1878 on the ship SS Donau. Scouts had been sent ahead of time to find a suitable place to settle. It was perhaps a poster like above that one of them saw and drew them to Kansas. Whatever the reason, it was Ellis County, Kansas that the majority of Catholic Volga Germans from Russia chose to live.

Russian-Germans in Kansas did not quickly adopt American customs and manners. As in Russia, they settled in close-knit rural communities and remained somewhat isolated from other residents. They preserved their language and traditions for decades, entering mainstream American life only gradually. My father was the first generation in his family to use English as a first language. Unlike most other immigrants to Kansas, the Russian-Germans generally arrived in large groups, often by the trainload. They caused something of a sensation and attracted a great deal of curiosity. The clothing of early Volga Germans was a constant source of amusement to newspaper columnists. Accustomed to severe Russian winters, the Volga Germans wore longs sheepskin coats, heavy felt boots, and head coverings much heavier than the Kansas climate required. The women generally wore dark colored clothing. The only bits of color you might see would be embroidered on their black shawls they wore to cover their heads.They were Catholics and very devout. Religion played a very important part of their daily lives.

The very year of their arrival the settlers purchased Section 25, and organized the Munjor Land Company, which in 1882 was superseded by an incorporated organization, the Munjor Town and Grazing Company. Part of the section was surveyed for a town site, and each lot holder became a member of the company, which started business with a capital stock of $10,000 - 200 shares at $50.00 per share. Among other things, the charter provided that the company have a board of directors made up of five members, a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a treasurer, all to be chosen from the members of the company; that no portion of the land holdings could be burdened with debt, transferred, or sold without the consent of two-thirds of the shareholders. The by-laws provided for quarterly meetings, and an annual election of directors.

Unfortunately , the settlers were incapable of properly handling the affairs of such a corporation, and the result was a long series of accusations and quarrels which split the town in half. After a futile attempt to settle matters in the courts, the two contending parties came to an agreement, the Munjor Town and Grazing Company was dissolved and peace and harmony restored, to the relief and joy of all concerned.

Munjor remains a small, unincorporated village that is a deeply religious, highly industrious, and extremely progressive that continues to display an intense pride in their heritage.

Volga-Germans are in an enviable position genealogically speaking. While they were in Russia and after the move to Kansas, people did not marry outside of their communities, even if the villages were within a few miles of each other. In researching my Befort line I found this to be true. the only place you'll find them for 100 years is in Munjor, Ellis County, Kansas.

11 November 2008

Tombstone Tuesday


Fred Wilson Skillman is my great grandfather. He was born 27 October 1892 in Dresden, Pettis County, Missouri to Joseph Payne Skillman and Sallie D. Wilson. In 1913, Fred married Pauline Mary Sheern. They had two sons - Paul Frederick Skillman and Darrell Kenneth Skillman (my grandfather). Fred died on 27 February 1956 in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona at the age of 64.

10 November 2008

My Grandparents Were Enemy Aliens

Well they are actually my 2nd great grandparents. JOHN FRED BORGSTADTER came to the U.S. about 1871-1873 (depending on which census enumeration you read).

I found a Declaration of Intent sworn out by Fred Borgstadter to become a U.S. citizen filed in the Circuit Court of Cass County located in Virginia, Illinois. It is dated 12 February 1880 and he paid a fee of 50 cents to file it.

So I was surprised when I came across an index that listed Fred as having registered as an "Enemy Alien" in 1918 in Lincoln County, Kansas. He had filed his intent to become a citizen almost 40 years previously. Surely he completed the process?

Let's go back to 1880 - the year after Fred filed his intent, he married Elizabeth Hobrock in Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois on 24 March 1881. The first two of their four children are born here - Annie in 1882 and Henry in 1884. In the fall of 1886, the Borgstadters moved to Elkhorn Township, Lincoln County, Kansas. Here is where the last two children are born - Herman in 1891 and Clara in 1902.

After World War I started, non-naturalized "Enemy Aliens" were required to register with United States authorities as a national security measure. Kansas Enemy Aliens
Registrants include school children, divinity students, former United States soldiers and sailors, Roman Catholic nuns, the elderly and the infirm. Almost 6,000 affidavits were created by U.S. Marshals in Kansas .
Under the provisions of a Presidential Proclamation of April 6, 1917, non-naturalized female aliens were likewise registered as an additional national security measure that INCLUDED those women of American birth that were married to enemy aliens.

On 25 January 1918, all German aliens were given 5 days to register. Registration occurred at Police stations or in small towns at the Post Office. Filing first citizenship papers was not sufficient grounds for not registering.

When United States President Woodrow Wilson declared war, essentially two American battles broke out against Germany: one militarily in Europe and the other culturally in the United States. Twenty-six states passed laws against the use of German on the streets, via telephone, or in public meetings. Libraries eliminated German materials. Public schools removed all German language instruction from their curriculum. Segregated German-language church congregations merged with other, English-speaking congregations. German-language parochial schools either changed their curriculum or closed.

Buildings, towns, streets, foods—anything considered German was stripped of its ties to the fatherland and renamed to denounce Germany. Sauerkraut became Liberty Cabbage, and frankfurters were anglicized as hot dogs. Chicago’s Bismarck Hotel changed its name to the Hotel Randolph as a demonstration of patriotism.

I can't begin to imagine how my 2nd great grandmother must have felt when she was told that because her husband was not a naturalized citizen, they both were considered "Enemy Aliens." It was as if she were being arrested. They took her picture and her fingerprints. Registering meant filling out an eight page form, having to answer personal questions asked by a complete stranger. An intimidating stranger at that - A U.S. Marshall . During the years 1907-1922, a woman who married a foreigner lost her US Citizenship and took the nationality of her husband.

There is good news and bad news about these records. These files are full of vital genealogical information about the person. The bad news is that nearly all of them have been destroyed. Those remaining are all of the files from Kansas, those within the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for Phoenix, Arizona, Fort Wayne, Indiana and St. Paul, Minnesota. More good news: All of these are available online with at least the index.

World War One Alien Registration Records 1918
Arizona, U.S. District Court for the Phoenix Division of the District of Arizona
You can find an index of the names here

Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana
Database here

St. Paul, Minnesota
Index here

Kansas World War One Alien Registration
Indexes by the county here

NARA has a searchable database of this set of records, but it is not indexed, and is difficult to search.

If all you find is the name indexed you can order the complete file here:

NARA's Central Plains Region (Kansas City) (NREKA)
2312 East Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64131-3011
PHONE: 816-926-6272
FAX: 816-926-6982
EMAIL: kansascity.archives@nara.gov

09 November 2008

60th Carnival of Genealogy

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: Alzheimer's Disease.
November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month and it's a good time to reflect on the impact that Alzheimer's Disease (dementia) has had on your family history.
Alzheimer's robs people of their memories and all that they could have passed on in the way of family history. What does that mean to you?
If you are fortunate enough to have not been effected by Alzheimer's Disease in your family, perhaps you will share another serious medical condition that has impacted your family.
How have you gone about researching your family's medical history?
The Deadline For Submissions Is November 15, 2008
Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission

08 November 2008

Oh! Baby - Smile For The Camera

I cannot think of a single word to say about this photo of me and a friend of my father's who went by the name of "The Sarge" that won't get me into all kinds of trouble. So my faithful readers give this photo a caption - Come on! - I Double Dog Dare You!

To those who have replied to me off this blog - As I have gotten older and more mature, I don't pick up on sailors as much as I used to!

02 November 2008

Maryellen Harris - A Harvey Girl From Kansas

This lovely young lady is my grandmother Maryellen Harris Skillman. Maryellen is the only child of Hillary T. Harris and Hazel Bertha Berry. Born 29 September 1916 in Bronson, Bourbon County, Kansas. The little Harris family moved to Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas around 1930 where Maryellen attended Garnett High School. After graduation in June 1934, Maryellen and a girlfriend packed a suitcase and went to Topeka where they found a job as "Harvey Girls".

Darrell Kenneth Skillman was a year behind Maryellen at Garnett High School. When he graduated in June 1935, he left immediately for Topeka, found Maryellen, married her and brought her back home to Garnett where they all lived happily ever after!


In 1876, a young Englishman, Fred Harvey, got tired of eating poorly cooked and indifferently served food while traveling, so he negotiated with the Santa Fe Railway to manage their restaurants and hotels, a handshake deal that lasted over 80 years.

The Fred Harvey Company would recruit women via newspaper ads from towns and cities across the United States. The women had to be of good moral character, have at least an eighth grade education, display good manners and be neat and articulate to work in his restaurants

He hired young ladies between the ages of 18 to 30 who were of good character, and who radiated an image of wholesomeness. The girls dressed in a simple black dress with a white neck collar, a black bow and starched white apron with no jewelry or make-up.

The stipulation that girls be of high moral character indicated explicitly the conduct that Harvey required of his female employees. Harvey Girls were paid a salary of $17.50 per month plus room and board and gratuities. They lived in dormitories that were always near their work and were chaperoned by a matron who enforced their ten o’clock curfew. They were required to sign a contract promising not to marry for a year or until their contract expired.

The Harvey Girl Historical Society is located at The Orange Empire Railway Museum. Both are located at 2201 South "A" Street, Perris, California 92570 which is about 50 miles west of Los Angeles.

01 November 2008

Meanwhile, Over At The Rabbit.....

For those who don't know, I have joined a group called The Association of Graveyard Rabbits . This group, which is the brainchild of Terry Thornton, is made up of individuals who are interested in promoting the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones. As a group we pledge to promote the study of cemeteries, promote the preservation of cemeteries, and promote the transcription of genealogical/historical information written in cemeteries.

One of the requirements is that participants have a blog dedicated to our cause. My new blog is called
The Educated Graveyard Rabbit . To give you a feel for what you will find at my other blog, here is my latest post -

My Observations on Cemeteries in North Carolina

We come to the end of the cemeteries I visited while in North Carolina in 2005. I went to 3 different counties - Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln - in search of my ancestors. It was a very strange experience for me. The first difference I noted was that the cemeteries in North Carolina are not regulated to a few acres outside of town. Just about everywhere you find a church, there is a cemetery right next to it. Cemeteries are located right next to the Bi-Lo Grocery stores and the Waffle Houses. Everywhere you look, you'll see cemeteries. I have to tell you that it really creeped me out when I first arrived.

Most cemeteries in California are located on the outskirts of town. My feeling is that it was done this way because having to look at a cemetery all the time is bad for business and new housing developments. "Out of sight, out of mind". It is too sad to have to look at a cemetery everyday. West Coast people only want "Happy Thoughts". Yes they deal with death, but they deal with it as quickly as possible and then try to forget about it. My father died in 1988. He is buried in Fresno, about 3 hours from where I live. I am ashamed to tell you that I have not been to visit his grave since the day we buried him.

I was very nervous about just driving right up to a headstone, get out of the car, take pictures - like I was a tourist on vacation. Where I come from, you just don't go walking around in a cemetery. Not unless you have been double-dog- dared on a cold and windy night by a bunch of juvenile delinquents. Or so I am told.

Unlike most West-Coasters, the East Coasters like to keep their dear ones close to them. Even if they've been dead for over 150 years. I notice that the people in North Carolina have a way different attitude towards death than most people I know in California. Death isn't a scary thing to them. The graves I saw in these 3 counties were all well cared for. Most had fresh flowers. It didn't seem to matter if the person had died 1 day ago or 100,000 days ago. Visiting kin at the cemetery is something you do.

After spending a couple of weeks in these counties I got over the creepiness by telling myself , "Self - you are a professional and you are here doing your job. Remember that job you love so much?" Slowly, without my even noticing right away, I was pulling a weed or two, bringing flowers with me in case I found an ancestor that day and felt myself connecting with these people who basically gave me life.

Each one that I shared with you was a pioneer in the tri-county area - John Teeter Beam and his son John Beam, Peter Hoyle and his son Michael Hoyle, Sebastian Bess and All arriving around 1740-1760 and there are descendants of all these men still living on the same land to this very day!