Many people who take up genealogy know about the many records that we can explore. We can look up anything from birth and death records to church records, marriage records, military records, and the list can go on and on. However one item that has escaped me until this summer were records that are on public display in almost any town you can think of. They are in government buildings, in public parks, in churches, and most any place that people will gather. They are there for you to see and use at will. I am talking about memorials that list names for many reasons. When visiting the towns where your ancestors lived it would be prudent to keep an eye out for these memorial records.
This summer I traveled to Digby, Nova Scotia, the home of many of my ancestors. By the waterfront, I noticed a memorial to the many people that had been lost at sea. They had many as Digby is well known for it’s fishing fleets. I found many names from my family being honored.
I also found the same in a local church. Seeing the names somehow made the place less unknown and a feeling that I belonged in some small way.
Downtown Digby also had a memorial to it’s soldiers of World War Two. Here also were familiar names.
In Haverhill Ma. I also found memorials with names on them. Here is a Korean War Memorial. Seeing one’s ancestors name here could be a major find for someone.
Even in my hometown of Plattsburgh, N.Y. I found names all around one our monuments.
I firmly believe that when visiting old hometowns and places that our ancestors lived and died, it would do well to keep a look out for these memorials. They could give you a clue that is needed to get more information. They may not be as good as a death certificate. They will not give you all the answers you need. But they just might be the key you need to open that door to getting to know your ancestors a little better.
Here is one more picture I took a few years ago. It is of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. Engraved into the wall is the name of my cousin.