23 May 2015

5/22/2015 Genealogy Road Trip

Ralph examines closely the marker next to Aaron's grave.  Note the stones on Aaron's marker to show we visited.
My son Ralph and I decided to make another research trip down to Woodford County, where by sheer coincidence so many of my ancestors behind both my parents resided.

Our first stop were two pieces of property in Montgomery township that were owned and lived on by my 3xg-grandparents McKee.  The first one we went to had some interesting visuals like a decades old fence surrounding some weeds and an atrium that leads to nowhere.  I approached the property owner, introduced myself, explained what we were doing there and asked if he had anything of interest to us?  He said he didn't, but I am not sure.  My son Ralph said I did fine, but I don't think I did a good job of expressing my reasons and what I might be interested in seeing.  But you live and learn.  The second piece of property had nothing to offer, there was nothing there.  My research says their residence was on the first piece of property anyway.

We then went to the county building in Eureka, the county seat.  We went to the County Clerk's office, and got my 2xg-grandmother Louisa Dutton's three wedding licenses.  That went real fast.  The lady knew exactly what she was doing.  The Clerk of the Circuit Court's office was not as smooth and required researching, but we got it going and done.  I had hoped to look at the actual dockets -- touch the same documents my ancestors touched.  But to do that you have to give them at least a day's notice.  I didn't know.  So I worked from microfilm which was not as good.  But I made a lot of copies of the probate records for my 2xg-grandfather Henry Walker and my 3xg-grandfather Aaron Walker, and it gave me a lot of information to research and play with.

Off to 3xg-grandfather Norman Dutton's homesite.  It is a cornfield.  Nothing there.  But we wanted to see it.  And I hope some day to come back with a metal detector.

On to beautiful downtown Metamora (population 3,616) where we found the block that Aaron and Henry owned and where they had their cobbler shop.  Old houses there now, likely from the 1930s.  My ancestors lived there from the 1840s to 1860s.

We ran to Subway, and grabbed lunch.  I called the sexton for the Oakwood cemetery and we agreed on a time to meet and headed out there.  Ralph and I found the Dutton family plot and put rocks on the markers to show it had been visited.  Then we headed over to Aaron's grave and waited for the sexton.  He arrived, he was an older gentleman, farmer, very nice and accomodating.  There is a stone marker next to Aaron's grave with the initials "A.W." (as in "Aaron Walker") and we are looking to solve its story.  I think it is a footstone that got misplaced when they transferred all the graves from the original cemetery site to this one.  But since we are still trying to locate the grave of my 3xg-grandmother, Aaron's wife Submit Walker, it is a question that keeps coming up.

The sexton and I looked at the platte maps they did not help solve it.  The maps appear to only list the names of the owners of the plots and not the graves or burials.  We discussed the length of sexton's research which he did the night before, looking through all the records, and was as thorough as anyone could expect.  No record of her there.  We put rocks on Aaron's marker to show it had been visited, drove around the cemetery a little bit looking at markers for other distant relatives, then left for home.

Now, this might sound like a unproductive trip.  But it wasn't!

Reportedly when Thomas Edison was struggling to invent the incandescent light bulb. He was told he had "failed 6000 ways."  He answered, "I have not failed 6000 ways!  I found 6000 ways that don't work!"

That is what this researching is like.  These were logical places to look for records of my ancestors, but they were not fruitful.  So you keep looking.

In sum, it was NOT an unproductive trip.  I knew I would be getting those papers at the county courthouse, and that alone was worth the trip.  And I have seen the platte maps and been assured by the sexton he has looked in all the databases for Submit and did not find her.  Checking those out was an accomplishment.  I can cross those off the list in my search.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

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