My husband, Roger, and I have traveled to some of our fifty states more than once. Because I’m an amateur genealogist, I wanted to use one of our trips to research the little-known paternal side of my family. While Roger golfed, I spent time in Frankfort, Kentucky researching the Kentucky Archives and Libraries for clues to my family’s records. Frankfort is second only to Salt Lake City, Utah in genealogical research opportunities.
Birth, death, and divorce records weren’t consistently maintained during the years key members of my family lived in Kentucky. In the few records I found, my father’s maternal grandmother’s name appeared only once. Using words of dedication written by my daughter, Autumn, I had a memorial brick for my great-grandmother placed on the walkway outside of the library alongside other Kentucky ancestors.
Autumn conducted online genealogy research to try to discover additional information on her and our other ancestors. She discovered that the 1920 census in Horse Cave, Kentucky, town of my father’s birth, recorded 864 residents. Years ago, my father told me that a one-block area there called Henry Town was named for his father, Henry, a popular man in his day. In 2011, Autumn decided that we should take a family trip to Horse Cave. The population there at that time was about 2,311. We were pleasantly surprised to hear a lady at city hall mention Henry Town.
Autumn, her husband Daniel, their eight-year-old daughter, and one-year-old son accompanied Roger and me on our trip. While our husbands and the children enjoyed the Louisville Zoo and the hotel swimming pool, Autumn and I went to the local colored cemetery to see if we could locate the tombstones of our relatives thought to be buried there.
The well-maintained Guthrie Street Municipal Cemetery has 200 to 300 graves. Much to our delight, we found the gravestones of many of our ancestors. Because some tombstones were situated in family groupings, we were able to find additional names for Autumn’s growing poster of our genealogy tree. We happily photographed all the family groupings as well as individual headstones we knew belonged to our ancestors.
Some graves were marked with obviously hand carved rocks rather than the more expensive headstones. The wording on these rocks has worn away over time leaving some graves unmarked. We couldn’t find my great-grandmother’s grave. Because of the estimated time of her death, we’re sure that one of the worn-away stones was hers. Tears of sadness filled our eyes at that sad thought.
Have you tried searching for your ancestral records? Were you successful? Did you have any surprises in your findings?