HUNTING FOR THE DECEASED
April 29, 2012
Do you know where all your people are buried? They are not always in the nearest cemetery. If you answered “no” then you have more research that could be the solution to your missing puzzle pieces.
In early times, the bodies were dressed, ready for burial at home, and buried usually the next day in a nearby church cemetery. Sometimes the home place was used as the burial grounds. These were called family burial grounds. Wagons were used to transport the body for burial over dirt and white rock roads.
After the automobile became common in the county, and certainly after commercial cemeteries began in the early 1900s, it was possible to be buried further from home.
The automobile made it possible to attend the church of choice rather than the closest one which may have been another religion than preferred.
It is important to find where all your people are buried if possible. Be aware of the time period of the death. Where they buried nearby or in a distant location? If it was a church cemetery, then determine the denomination. Are there extant church records? Could the family be included in that denomination’s records in a different location?
Have you checked to see who are buried around your subjects? It is likely they are family or in-laws. On the other hand, it is possibly friends or neighbors with whom they migrated.
The W. O. Daniel family were settlers of Murphy and attended the First Baptist Church of Murphy. There is a bronze bell at the entrance to the church in memory of W. O. Daniel. He and his family are not buried in the Murphy Cemetery. Instead, W. O. and many of his descendants are buried in Dallas County in the Big Springs Cemetery in Garland at the Jupiter Road and Campbell Road intersection.
Likewise is the situation of G. W. Drain family. G. W. is buried in the Big Springs Cemetery along with his descendants; however, he was from the Clear Lake area of Collin County and later of McKinney.
Finding cemeteries is becoming easier with modern technology. On maps, cemeteries or defined by a rectangular shape. Churches with attached cemeteries show a rectangular box with a cross on the top. Many genealogy groups and historical societies are publishing the names of cemeteries in their county. Collin County is currently developing an interactive map where just a click on an area brings up the history of people, towns, cemeteries, churches and historical businesses. They are the first county to have an interactive map in the state. These maps do exist for other states as well.
It is imperative you learn where your family is buried and who is buried nearby. Use the date of death as a clue as to how far away from the home place the people might have been buried. Determine bloodline family as well as in-laws, friends or migration neighbors. Clarification of these things not only helps to find your families, but also helps you shape your family tree past and present.
BIG SPRINGS CEMETERY INVENTORY PUBLISHED: The recent publication updating the inventory, including the additions, has just been released for the Big Springs Cemetery. It is located in Dallas County at the corner of Jupiter Road and Campbell Road next to the Big Springs Baptist Church. The three-ring notebook of over 200 pages includes the history, interesting facts, a master plat of the cemetery and instructions on how to use it. The publication divides the cemetery into blocks. It includes the names of those buried within the blocks as well as an alphabetical listing of those buried there. Although this is in the Garland and Richardson area, those buried there are some of the pioneers of Collin County. A few of the names of deceased buried there from Collin County are the families of Daniel, James, Gray, Griffin, Drain, Gray, Taylor and McMillen.
The library has a copy thanks to the Genealogy Friends donation, but if you are like me, I wanted a copy for my personal library. You can order from Ardent Data Services, 7647 Querida Lane, Dallas 75248. It is $50.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.