I’m not really the kind of girl who makes crazy impulsive decisions. I’m methodical. Don’t put myself in harm’s way. However, I got to thinking the other day about just how obsessed I can be about my research. I know other genealogists can be just as focused (sounds better then crazy). I know that when I'm focused little will come between me and the task at hand. Which got me to wondering, how many of my readers have some interesting experiences to share in the name of genealogy and finding your lost ancestors?
Like I said, I'm not the person who emotes wild and reckless behaviour, the craziest thing I can recall, I broke into a cemetery. After driving two and half hours to a cemetery, where I believed my ancestors were buried, I arrived to discover a brick wall surrounded the cemetery and the gates were locked. This was an older Catholic cemetery and was only open during specific hours. Not inclined to go home without getting past this brick wall (no pun intended), I went to the church next door looking to beg my way in. I could not find anyone, so I proceeded to Plan B - a break in.
Luckily, I had my teenage daughter and niece with me and of course, they were up to the challenge. I actually think for a few minutes, I felt like a teenager again, and my accomplices thought Mom and Auntie was just a little cool.
The wall was set into the side of a hill so we found a point around the brick wall where the climb up and the drop on the other side seemed like a happy medium. Maybe the wall was 6 feet high at this point. However, to someone of little agility and physical fitness it may as well have been 50 feet tall. Armed with the fact that my fifth great-grandfather's tombstone laid on the other side of the wall, I managed some genealogical superpowers and scaled the wall. (Thank God, I wore pants that day). With no broken bones and only a few grass stains, we were in and set to work recording information and taking pictures. No worries, I am very respectful in all cemeteries, I often bring flowers to disperse amongst all my ancestor’s graves. On this day, I had in my head not to let a brick wall come between my relatives and me.
Getting out seemed a little more challenging. We got ourselves on top of the wall at the lowest point and I walked the ledge like Nadia Comaneci on the balance beam (well, in my mind anyway). When the ground came to a reasonable level, I made a jump for it.
Was it worth it? Not really! I never found the tombstone for my fifth Great Grandfather. Once inside the walls, I discovered a tombstone for a mass grave, apparently this cemetery was moved from its original plot of land across the road. Some of the older graves were destroyed and in the move a mass grave was erected in the middle with one common tombstone, I presume my grandfather is probably amongst these unidentified graves.