Find-a-grave-ing – an unappreciated hobby

A few weeks ago, my sister texting me, asking “wanna go find-a-grave-ing?” I immediately replied “HELL YES!” and we made plans for the following weekend. Then I told Jon and he said “What? I’m working this weekend. Can’t you reschedule for a time I can go with you?” Ok… so we did. Then I told my mother, and she said “Oooh! That sounds like fun. I’d love to go… but I won’t bother you young people… you go on without me.” (I’m 46 btw).

Who knew that so many people loved cemeteries? But why shouldn’t they? Myself, once I got past my youthful avoidance of mortality, have come to love them. They are peaceful, interesting, and often, uncrowded. You go to a park and it’s full of kids and dogs and people and blah blah blah. A cemetery is usually deserted, with the exception of a dog walker or two and maybe a family visiting a departed relative (but dog walkers are more common).

SOOO… what’s find-a-grave-ing? My sister and my parents (and sometimes myself) like to dig into geneology and they’re often hunting for a long lost ancester or two. I find it very strange that even though my father’s side of the family is from Minnesota, and 4 out of 5 of us ended up in Maine that there is a big Maine connection to the Ebinger side of the family. Norridgewock, Bangor, Vassalboro, Augusta… our relatives are buried all over this land. We’ve found most of them, though, so now my sister has taken to finding other people’s relatives!

If you go to Findagrave.com, you can look for graves of your relatives, and you can also request that other people look for graves for you. So, for instance, if I have an ancestor buried in California, but I live in Maine, I can ask some nice Californians to look for my grave and take a photo. That way I can find out interesting info, like death date, etc. So my sister found a list of graves that needed finding in Augusta, and away we went!

I should also mention that this is a common pastime for me and Jon as well. He likes to take photos and turn them into 3D images and his favorite subject is gravestones. We’ve frequented many cemeteries from Portland to Bath to Brunswick and Augusta, so we know our way our a graveyard. But this time, we went to Riverside Cemetery in Augusta (known for being right behind the Dairy Queen, which we did take advantage of), and Mount Vernon Cemetery, part of Mount Hope Cemetery. My fitbit tells me I got 12,000 steps in that day (pretty good for this lazy gal), and we had a lovely day of walking and familiarizing ourselves with all the surnames of Maine – Clarke and Pullen and Haskell and Morse, Allen and Norcross, Kimball and Storey. I love that nearly every name I came across, I knew someone with that last name.

Here’s some photos. I was looking for James Thwing and I couldn’t read these. I thought maybe I could digitally enhance them.

I also found some Fennos. It’s a name I’d never heard before but apparently we have some in the family. Now my sister has turned me on to a mystery of the Vassalboro Farriss’es – William who was married to Elizabeth, who died in 1807 BUT he married another women in 1806!!! I’m on it. I love a good mystery.

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