Your genealogy research may have taken you into cemeteries and graveyards. Each gravestone holds a lot of the vital information that a genealogist needs. None of that information can be used if the gravestone itself is missing. Recently, the gravestone of an infant who died over one hundred years ago was reunited with the gravesite that it was taken from.
Nothing could be more tragic than the death of an infant. Genealogists who visit graveyards, as part of their genealogy research, will occasionally come across the graves of infants. One cannot help but think about how devastated the parents of that infant must have been. While it’s never a good thing to see a gravesite that has been tampered with, it’s incredibly sad to think that someone would intentionally disturb the grave of an infant, by stealing the headstone. It does happen, though, for reasons I cannot begin to understand.
Earlier this month, a woman in Georgia was walking her dog, when she came across an abandoned gravestone It read “Infant son of John & Renia Thrasher Born June 24, 1903.” It was obvious that the gravestone wasn’t sitting on top of the gravesite that it belonged to. The daughter of the woman who found the headstone was able to supply a little more information about it. The daughter knew of a teenager neighbor who used to live in the area, but had moved away over a year ago. She said that the teenager once was in possession of the headstone, and must have abandoned it sometime before she moved away. It is unknown how the teenager got the gravestone, or why she was holding onto it.
The woman posted information about the headstone online, and eventually someone notified the sheriff’s department about the lost gravestone. A genealogist named Merrie-Anne Santore did some research, and was able to determine the cemetery that the gravestone probably belonged in. She used the census from 1900 to look up the names of the infant’s parents, and learned where they grew up.
She even did some research on the cemetery itself, Griffeth Cemetery, and found a photograph that showed the lost gravestone leaning against a tree. Further research revealed that there actually were two infants with the surname Thrasher, who were buried side by side. One of the gravestones was said to have been smashed. Again, it is unknown why or how that happened. It is this genealogy research that enabled Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. David Kilpatrick to finally place the gravestone back where it belonged. The grave of the infant was located in a cemetery that he didn’t even know existed, in a row of graves that dated back to the 1800s.
Image by Natalie Maynor on Flickr