Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cemeteries and family, aka Julie and Mom's adventure

This summer, my mom took me on a crazy adventure looking for our ancestors' graves. It's all part of this equally crazy attempt to get us into the Daughters of the American Revolution. Crazy because I can get in on my dad's side without any problem, as my aunts have already traced us back basically to Charlemagne or something. But Mom wanted me to get in on HER side of the family, so she could do it too. So she's been consulting a geneologist, who advised her to find the gravesites of these certain ancestors and photograph them for some unkonwn reason. Like that's gonna prove we're descended from them. Maybe Mom misunderstood. In any case, one exquisitely hot Friday, we took off for Conyers and Lithonia, the little Georgia towns (now basically Atlanta suburbs) where my mom's mom and dad were from, respectively. First we went to the graveyard where my grandfather's mother and father are buried, and took pictures.

Rock Chapel Methodist Church, Lithonia, Georgia

My great-grandmother, whose name was actually "Martha". It bugs my mom that her headstone says "Mattie", cause Mom is named after her.

Next we were off to look for this lost cemetery where some distant ancestors are buried. Mom had heard of this graveyard from her cousin, Robert Ragsdale, who went there years ago with his uncle (my grandfather) and his dad (my mom's uncle, or something.) He had given us these really funny directions: Take Rocksprings Road until it turns into Hwy 124. Go to the third red light after the first hill. Turn right on some road with "lake" in the name, and just before you get to the lake there's a road off at an angle to your right. It's a dirt road. Turn right and go until you see some power lines. The cemetery is in the woods just about halfway up the hill.

Here's what we finally found, after several phone calls to him ("Julie, you know the last time I was up there was with your grandfather, my father and Uncle Louis. I musta been about 17. It probably looks a little different now!")

That's Mom climbing up towards me. I had already forged ahead and spotted markers in the woods. Robert told us on the phone "I told y'all to wear sturdy shoes and long pants, didn't I?" Mom had forgotten that. "When I went the last time, I was covered with ticks when I got home!"

We finally found the motherlode, and it was well worth the heat, the long climb and the ticks. (Yes, I was covered, too.) Here's mom finding our ancestors.

I love this little cemetery. How did it end up like this? Was there once a church? There's absolutely nothing around that indicates a building, nor is there any evidence of a sign or any ruins. Nothing except some power lines and some awful new houses. But it's beautiful back in there.
It's called Anderson Cemetery and it's in Gwinnett County, but I can't find any more information about it online.

Regardless of the details, we got the information and the necessary photos. As a matter of fact, we're being inducted into the DAR this Saturday! Yay Julie and Mom!


Kenzie said...

uh what's the DAR???

BUT THAT IS SO COOL!!!!!! I would love to trace back my ancestors, but my family is so confusing... half of us don't know our real parents, lol.

Julie said...

Oh sister. It's the Daughters of the American Revolution. Woot woo. I'm also going to join the Daughters of the Confederacy, cause the damn south gets a bad rap and I'm freakin proud of my country! I mean, region. ;-)

Ingrid said...

Oh, what a great adventure. I love Georgia - how the exurbs can sprawl all they want, but those little graveyards are still there for those who get out of their dang cars.

Chicken And Waffles said...

What a marvelous adventure. I wish I had a way to track my family (being adopted, that will never happen). Still, what a great story!