Walking through Cemeteries Can Offer Clues to the Past

Article excerpt

Byline: Jill Gross

When Roselle resident Lisa Ginensky researches her family tree, she often pairs up with her good friend, Tonia Lorenz.

The two met 18 years ago while working together at a law firm. Realizing how much they had in common, they quickly became friends.

"Tonia and I have been on many genealogy adventures together," Ginensky said. "Once, we visited Tonia's great-, great-, great- grandparents' grave in a small-town cemetery. Her cousin noticed an inscription on the side of the stone. It turned out to be a missing ancestor.

"That ancestor had been buried in the same plot with her parents. No one, including the sexton of the cemetery, had seen that before. From that, Tonia was able to find the relative's obituary in the newspaper archives."

Ginensky said the two have even been on adventures in different locations.

"Once she called me from a small cemetery in another state. She couldn't find the grave she was looking for. She asked me to get online and see if the cemetery had an online map," Ginensky siad.

"It did and I was able to act as her guide by telling her things like go to the Pearson headstone and make a left turn as you face it. Then walk past four tombstones and it should be one plot over to the right."

Research at cemeteries often reveals clues for family genealogists. Ginensky suggests getting to know the people who work at the cemeteries. They can be a wealth of information.

If possible, go on a weekday when they are not as busy as on the weekends.

"Some people may find this a bit macabre, but one of my hobbies is visiting small, local cemeteries," Ginensky said. …