GenTraveling – the chance to put things in context!


One of the best things about GenTraveling is the ability to put things in context – that extra bit of information that helps you understand your family history more completely. Before my GenTraveling trip to New York last year, of course I had done my homework.  I had located Margret Lewis’ gravestone on Find-A-Grave. This was the photo that was uploaded to the Find-a-Grave site:


In the same cemetery, there was also a gravestone for a Maggie P. Lewis – (was this the other unnamed daughter that was mentioned in the father’s obituary)??? If I would have relied only on the website details, I would obviously determine that there was not a connection between Margaret and Maggie since it recorded Margret as having died 8 months before Maggie would have been born:


However, after careful study of the uploaded Find-A-Grave photograph, it was determined that there was an error in translation.  The inscription was difficult to read, but after the Welsh word “Bu Farw” (died), the next word clearly starts with “Rha…” then 15, 1876. “Rhagfyr” is Welsh for December, – not February.  Therefore, if Maggie P. Lewis was born in October of 1876, it is possible that her mother could have died in December of 1876. With further research, I concluded that yes, Maggie was the daughter of Margaret Lewis.

This was the photo that was uploaded to the Find-a-Grave site for Maggie:


So I had done my homework before my trip.  I was pretty confident of my conclusions after I had analyzed all the data I could find online. But wowza! The photo that I personally took on my research trip (the photo at the top of this post) certainly put things more in context!  Compare the two photos from Find-a-Grave to the top photo. From the GenTraveling photo, you can see how closely Maggie’s stone is tucked up against Margaret’s.  Look at the size and proportions. Obviously I was even more convinced that my conclusion was correct after my GenTraveling trip!

Can I just say that Find-a-Grave is awesome!  But GenTraveling is even MORE awesome!?! It’s the Real Deal Thrill!

GenTraveling – Friday Finds


Hello! I have some Fabulous Friday Finds to share with you!

All over the internet, there are articles about places where you might want to GenTravel to or some other aspect about GenTraveling! Each Friday I hope to share links to some of those articles. There might be one link, or if my time management skills are stellar that week, and I have time to hunt for more, I’ll link to more than just one. :o)

Here is this week’s:

I enjoyed reading an older post at Family Sleuther as he explained how he had traveled to Illinois and mistakenly thought he didn’t have any family roots there, so he didn’t pursue any research while he was there.  OOPS! It wasn’t until after he returned home that he found he DID have family ties to that location.  The rest of his post gives some good tip on how to have a successful GenTraveling research trip – including preparing charts so he doesn’t make that mistake again.

Another post on that same site impressed me: The day after the Family Sleuther’s grandmother’s funeral, he traveled across five states, nearly 2,200 miles in total, and paid his respects at the graves of 36 direct ancestors! How cool!

Have a great weekend! Best wishes for finding those ancestors.  Are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!


GenTraveling to Chicago cemeteries


Good day GenTravelers!

A genealogy research trip almost always includes a visit to area cemeteries. After all, sometimes a gravestone is all that remains of our ancestors – that is if we’re lucky! I recently read “How to Find Dead People in Chicago” by Kellie Jensen in the Sept/Oct 2013 Family Chronicle magazine. Since we all participate in this GenTraveling activity at some point, I thought I’d share her tips with you today. Some are pretty common sense stuff, but reminders can be helpful, right?!

  • Research before your trip – make a list of cemeteries with addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation and driving directions and who was buried there.
  • Once there, take pictures, not only of gravestones, but of location finding aids in case you go back at some point.
  • Try to get the burial record from the cemetery office.  If you can, you can learn about other people who were buried with your family members.  You may or may not already have those people listed in your family tree.

Author Kellie Jensen described how she learned about a previously unknown relative buried with your family members.  She came home and researched this name.  After two years, she finally found that this unknown person was actually her great grandfather’s sister.  Further research led to information that provided the birthplace in Ireland of her great grandfather. We all know to research friends, family, acquaintances and neighbors – just remember to research “neighboring” names in cemeteries too.  Additionally, Kellie wrote of how a cemetery caretaker had said that, “in some cemeteries, people in the 1800s to mid-1900s were usually (but not always) buried with their family of origin, even if they were married”.  Keep that in mind while searching for you family member’s headstones.


So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!





GenTraveling – Cemetery Research in Italy


Hello GenTravelers!

Cemeteries should be on everyone’s ‘To-Visit’ list when GenTraveling.  However, cemeteries in Italy are quite different than what we’re used to in the United States.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you’ll want to read “Cemetery Research in Italy” by June C. Delalio CG, in the Jan-Mar 2011 NGS Magazine. June points out the following interesting facts about Italian cemeteries:

“People are not buried forever in Italy. Graves are rented for a period of from ten to fifty years. Payment is made to the town and when the time is up, if there is no one willing to renew the payment for the grave, the bones are taken from the crypt and put in an ossuary, or common grave”

Before the end of the eighteenth century, Italians were simply buried almost anywhere. It was only after Napoleon’s invasion of Italy that cemeteries were built, since Napoleon was worried about another plague and ordered cemeteries to be built outside city limits.

“When the cemeteries were built in the nineteenth century, they generally were a formal design with square blocks and straight streets. There were vaulted galleries on the outside walls with wall plaques sealing in the coffins.”

The articles goes on to explain where to go to find cemetery records, and points out that there typically isn’t very much useful genealogical information on the records. But the great thing is, most of the markers have a photo of the deceased! The author gives further tips you’ll want to know before you go.


So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!