Friday, June 2, 2017

Grateful for the Kindness of Strangers

     Over the years, it’s been a pleasure to the witness many instances of genealogists and historians taking time to assist other researchers. I well remember my early, stumbling steps studying my own family history, where I was often pointed in the right direction by others. This was in the days when letter-writing was a big part of the process. I lived for the days when I’d receive an envelope with hand- or type-written family group sheets, part of a family tree, or copies of photos and documents. This blog is in part a salute to their efforts, where I share some of my own discoveries, and give my ancestors some context. 
     Recently, I ran across another example of someone making the extra effort to ensure his ancestor wasn’t forgotten, by pointing future generations to her final resting place. (I have no relationship with this family.) Long before the advent of, or the wide sharing of information that’s possible via the internet, he inserted a piece of graph paper into a local book of typed cemetery inscriptions, on which he’d carefully drawn a map, shown here.
Insert showing details of the grave of Emily Osburn Durant, as of 1981, by Gary Moore

     Writing in 1981, the author, Gary Moore, knew that Emily Osburn Durant’s parents were David J. and Sylvia Osburn, and he helpfully directed the viewer to lot 195 of Buckeye Cemetery. Comparing this data to the present-day listing for Emily Durant on FindaGrave shows a less intuitive result, because a clickable link to her parents isn’t available. One would have to do a broader search for the Osburn surname within the area. The listing shows the headstone now to be in the Old Van Buren Cemetery, Van Buren Twp., Jackson Co., Iowa. The current photo of the headstone shows that it has been reset at some point. Perhaps it’s been moved from its original location on the map. 
     It is lovely to think, that in her short eighteen years of life, Emily inspired a legacy of kindness.
Emily Osburn Durant, courtesy