I like many of you have been helped along in our genealogy research. Many times it was a complete stranger, perhaps thousands of miles away. I also have at times tried to help other people. The good feeling you get when you are able to help someone is for me reward enough. One of the things I do is to help direct a genealogy group at my local library. We have many beginning genealogists that attend the meetings, and helping them gather family data is very rewarding. I, however wanted to do a little more. A website that has given me much information has been “Find A Grave.” So I signed on to try and fill photo request at local cemeteries.
I only had to wait a few weeks when a request came in. It was for Fly Creek Valley Cemetery. While not exactly in my backyard it was only about 45 minutes away. It is very close Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is an area my wife and I know very well and are down this way often. I checked the listing “Find A Grave” had for this cemetery and found they have a total of 30 requests. So I printed out a list and thought I would put a real dent in that number. My wife was talked into going (she is much better at spotting names on the markers) my note pad, camera, and list were all packed up and away we went.
The day was very warm in the high 80s and very humid. However we were very comfortable in our air condition car. Which was a good thing because after having to turn around about six times it was getting a little warm between my wife (who was attempting to read the map) and myself. Like true explorers, we managed to stumble on the correct cemetery. Since I was not able to get a cemetery map we got out of the car and started to look around. We picked an older section to start in and began to walk up and down the rows. I was sure we would find someone on the list as the numbers were on our side. It was a fairly small cemetery with 3539 residents of which 30 were on the list for a photo. The odds were with me that I had to find a few of them.
Did I mention that it was very hot and humid? After about an hour of looking my eagle-eyed scout, announced that she would be heading back to the car. However I was free to look as long as I wanted. I said that was very nice of her. But all I got was the look. If you have been married any time at all you know what the look is. I must say in our 43 years of marriage I have seen that look a few times. I stomped through the cemetery for an hour plus but did not find any of the names on the list. Also knowing that out of the 3539 residents only 58 photos had been taken of headstones, I thought I would take some photos of the older or more interesting stones to post them to “Find A Grave”. I won’t say how many I took, but believe me it was a good number. Not willing to give up yet I joined my wife in the car, and we drove through the cemetery seeing if she could spot any names from the car. No luck.
The best part of the day was we drove into Fly Creek to have a quick bite to eat. We went to our favorite place the Fly Creek General Store. Here you can buy gasoline, groceries, clothing, DVDs, fishing bait, and sandwiches from a great deli. I was reminded that we had worked past lunch time. Since it was about 3pm we decided to split a turkey sandwich and not spoil our supper. The food as always was great and we bought a loaf of homemade apple bread with Carmel drizzled over it to take home. As luck would have it right across the street was a moving sale and we purchased a nice lamp. On the way back we stopped at a quilt shop in the area my wife likes. But we arrived too late as they closed early on Saturdays during the summer. I was reminded that if we had stopped on the way down (like she wanted) she would have been able to look around and perhaps buy a few things. I turned the air conditioner up, as it was getting a little warmer.
Oh yes out of all the photos I took that day only one was not already taken. Of the 58 that were already taken how did I ever manage to take the same ones? Also how could I manage not to find one of the 30 names I was looking for? After all I was just trying to do a good deed