Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cemetery I Spy and Grave Digging with the Mascots

Last Saturday, we went to the cemetery where my husband’s great grandparents on his father’s side were buried.  A distant genealogy cousin sent me these directions:

“The Fishers are buried at Oak Hill... They are buried together at the Laurel Lawn part.  They told me it was 129E, but we found it at 160E which is up one row.”

Earlier in the week, I Googled Oak Hill and found the address and phone number.  I called and they said the office would be open Saturday and that we could pick up a map.  We had some other fun things to do in San Jose, so it was all working out.  I got the family interested enough to say, “Yes, fine, we’ll go to the cemetery.”  Thankfully, even though they aren’t into genealogy, they are in to morbid Halloween like things, so they seem to be okay with the cemetery aspect of genealogy.  In the car, we discussed the Fishers that we were off to find and how in reality, Fisher should be our last name.  The kids thought that was mildly interesting.  Until the Spongebob theme began on Marc’s iPod, anyway.

We got to the cemetery and noticed at once that it is HUGE.  Rolling hills of graves, fountains and statues.  I parked and Marc and Signa went in to get the map from the office.  I gave them my handwritten note:  Laurel Lawn, 129E and 160E. They were in there for about 20 minutes, which is a long time for I Spy in the cemetery with a six-year-old.  “Momma, I spy something that is red.”  “Is it the flowers by the grave?” “YES!”  “Momma, I spy something that is gray.”  “Is it the gravestone?” “YES!” Repeat.

They came back with a map and it turns out that Laurel Lawn is a triangular shaped area right where we were parked.  We headed for the areas the lady had marked off with a highlighter and proceeded to instantly NOT find the graves. 

We wandered separately.  Then we wandered together.  Then we methodically marched up and down the rows where they should have been. 

Then we noticed gaps where there should be graves, but instead it was grass.  Then we noticed that the graves were all sunken a bit with the grass about 2 inches taller and we supposed that the grass had grown over some.  We sent the six-year-old to dig.  Yep.  Graves under there. 

Pretty soon, Marc was full-on digging up grave stones with his hands.  He’d uncover some letters or numbers and then move on when it wasn’t ours. (isn't this cute!?!  my "genealogy is boring" family and they are DIGGING UP GRAVES! and getting very determined to find the missing hidden clue and... OMG... DIGGING UP GRAVES!)

Then I looked at the map.  “Didn’t my note say ONE 29 and ONE 60?”  This is highlighted for 29 and 60.  We walked to the other corner of Laurel Lawn and the grave was right there. In seconds.

I just asked William if he had fun at the cemetery.  “Yeah, but only if I can bring a shovel next time.”


  1. What a great day out, Debbie. The ast time I went on a trip to a cemetery looking for dead rellies I only had the length of time a picnic lasted to search, I must get more imaginative aboutinvolving the kids.

  2. Arm the junior Mascots with cameras and let them take photos of any headstone that interests them. You can upload to Find A Grave later.

    I had no idea how junior the kiddies are! OMG you have your hands full!