Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New England Trip - Massachusetts

Summer is racing by, so I better get after blogging about my trip.  Still have much to share!  Chris and I have been spending a lot of time doing genealogical research on our father's side of the family.  Through old family letters, and other resources, we are uncovering more and more records and could write our own episodes of the show, "Who Do You Think You Are?"

So one of the days we were in New England we drove to a couple small towns in Massachusetts to do some cemetery sleuthing.  We started at the grand old Taunton Library.
 On the way in the door, we noticed this interesting plaque about the library's history:
We even paid a visit to the Registry of Deeds to do some research, which was right next to the beautiful Taunton Courthouse.
The Taunton Cemetery was on a beautiful knoll, with graves so long forgotten.  We discovered several ancestors grave sites here.  Standing there on the land, we breathed in the air, took it all in, and tried to envision the area as our loved ones must have seen it, hundreds of years ago.
Many gravemarkers had the "death's head" symbol on them.  We had learned about these at the cemetery in Boston.  Common in the 17the century, the death's head usually consisted of a stylized skull with wings or crossed bones (in the tombstone below, all three were represented).  Some believed these were intended to represent a combination of a physical death and a spiritual regeneration.  Puritans were adamantly against such symbols. 
We stopped for lunch at a diner in town and then headed to another town where we discovered two cemeteries with more of our ancestors.  They were very small family cemeteries, tucked into neighborhoods, surrounded by rough stone fences.
We knew only the approximate location of one and asked a neighbor if he knew where there was a cemetery in that area.  He informed us that it was actually behind his house (in a typical looking neighborhood) and we had to hike down a path, designated as an easement to the cemetery, to get to it.
We were a bit awestruck, imaging our ancestors standing on this ground over 300 years ago.  Some had been ship captains, some farmers, others merchants.  I'm sure they had no thoughts that someday three sisters from a country they wouldn't believe existed as it does today would be standing there to pay their respects to them. 

Quite a thing to ponder....

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