Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Following the Journey -- Part Five: Cemeteries and Dates

Traveling can become a routine. We almost got caught by the beautiful ocean waves at Acadia National Park, but moved on and the necessities of washing clothes and eating and sleeping caught up with us. One thing about traveling in the eastern part of the United States that is noteworthy is the huge number of cemeteries. We mostly stay off of freeways and major highways, in fact we found ourselves driving on dirt roads which are pretty hard to find in the east. What we do see are a lot of cemeteries. These and the dates on the buildings constantly remind us of the passage of time.

I noticed that many of the towns we passed through had dates when they were established in the 1700s. What was noteworthy was the fact that the buildings from that time period were still standing and some were in good shape and being used for homes and businesses. That fact started me thinking.  My father knew his father. Not a remarkable occurrence, but my Tanner grandfather died before I was born. He was born in 1895. If I go back on this line, my grandfather very likely knew his own grandfather born in 1809 and his father, my third great-grandfather was born in 1778, so many of these towns were being settled about the time my Great-great-great-grandfather was born in Rhode Island.

But if you think about it, this is only a line of three people going back; my father, my grandfather and my grandfather's grandfather. So if we take a prominent person, say Joseph Smith, the Prophet. I knew someone, my father, who knew someone, his father, who knew someone, his grandfather, who knew the Prophet personally. Had I known my own grandfather the connection would have been only two people away. Granted, I am as old as dirt, but this still illustrates an important insight for genealogists. We aren't usually talking about prehistoric times. We are researching people who still have their houses, lands and memories actively available.

I guess I am impressed by the compression of time here.

1 comment:

  1. In this vein, there are still a few living children of Civil War soldiers.