29 May 2015

"Hey! A little help?" : Calling an Audible in Finding the Grave of Louisa L. Walker

Remember on the playground and a ball got past you and rolled over near someone else?  Sure you do! You would call out an audible, "Hey!  A little help?"  That is what I did with trying to locate the grave of my 2xg-grandmother Louisa Lorana Walker Easterling (nee. Dutton, 1833-1913).

Respected researchers before me had gotten her place of death wrong, so I had to start from scratch. It took a couple years but I traced her place of death to Farina, Fayette, Illinois.  The biggest hurdle was there is no vital record of her death there when there should be.  I inquired at the both the County Clerk's office and at the Illinois Regional Archive Depository (IRAD) at Illinois State University at Springfield, with no luck.  However, I was able to find newspaper accounts of both her death notice and her obituary separately, that cinched the location for me.  But her place of burial nor her funeral home are mentioned in the articles.  I looked in various publications, both digital and in print, that list and/or record tombstones and graves.  No score.

I finally called an audible.  I reached out on Facebook to the Fayette County Genealogical and Historical Society and talked to a volunteer named Kate.  She said that at sometime in the 1970s the historians in the area had collected the names and dates from all the area tombstones and she would check on her next trip to the library.

Twenty four hours later, I had this --

 -- I cried tears of joy.  The grave was in Farina Cemetery, and Kate found it listed in the society's own publication Fayette Facts (Vol. XVII, no. 3).

Thank God for Kate.  Thank God for genealogical and historical societies.  Thank God for a community of hobbyists willing to help each other in their searches for ancestors, when it becomes necessary to call an audible.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

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