Tag Archives: Find a Grave


It has been a long time since I have pulled out the records to review. An unexpected meeting of two ladies at McDonald’s who needed a calendar, got me rejuvenated about my Patriot Ancestor.

I have been invited to a meeting on October 3rd, I am very excited,. The President of the Stephen’s Chapter will review my documents for authenticity and approval.  I had been given paperwork in 1996 from my grandmother’s cousin, Dorothy Parry, who had done most of the research! Wish me luck!





One of my recent trips to central Alabama, gave me some insight as to some ancestors burials.I had been in Lowndes county already, and on the way back from the beach, decided on a different route.This trip was full of discoveries and unexpected surprises.

I had known of the Sullivan line in Perry county, from the late 1700’s. This line comes from my father, his father, his mother, and so on. Alice Davidson married a Pickens, my g grandfather. Her family was both from Tennessee and Alabama. Her grandfather was Hewlett Sullivan. This family lived in Alabama and later in Texas. Hewlett’s father was William Dunklin Sullivan. Throughout the family, you see Dunklin, Duncan, Dunkin, Hewlett and Hewett in the boys names.

When I went to the cemetery in Perry county, Marion cemetery, I expected to only find Dunklin Augusta Sullivan, which would have been an uncle. Because, on FindaGrave, he was the only Sullivan listed. So, I expected little, and got lots!! I had been driving through the cemetery, and I spotted a headstone with the name Parrish. I knew that one of the sisters had married Elam Parrish. This was my sign!!! So, I thought, I may be here awhile.

I walked around and started seeing a few Sullivans, taking notes and lots of photos. First, I saw Martha, then Dunklin then the big one!! William Dunklin Sullivan, and wife Mary.

William Dunklin Sullivan, Marion cemetery, Perry county, Alabama

A bit of history on WIlliam Dunklin Sullivan…..born 1791 in Greenville district South Carolina. He later moved to Tennessee where he received a good education in law. Later to Marion county Alabama, where he became Perry county’s first state senator. He married Mary Polly Mayberry, daughter of George Washington Mayberry. William Dunklin Sullivan died in office in 1837 while attending a session of the Alabama legislature. He also served a Probate judge and representative.

William Dunklin Sullivan was my 4th great-grandfather. So, on this trip, I had the pleasure of finding TWO 4th great-grandfathers. Stay tuned, there is more to come……

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I had plotted my path in a large square. It went from Athens Browns Ferry Road up to north of downtown Athens. I had a plan. I HAD a plan. You know what they say about the best laid plans….I got slightly off track. I pulled up GPS on my iPhone, and started out to the first one.  Now, I only had three on my list, I went to seven, and attempted two more that were inaccessible. When I say inaccessible, I mean, I can’t see it directly from the road, or there is no ” good” access. Before I even got to the first one, I went to three others. When I use my phone, I also go to maps and search cemeteries. Little red dots appear and I’m off!!! Hot on the trail! The first one I spotted that sounded interesting was Polly Malone cemetery. Off a fairly well-travelled road, although, between corn fields and soy beans.

Farmhouse in front of Polly Malone

It was only about a half mile off the main road, on dirt and large gravel. I went. It was pretty old and broken. The earliest burial was 1815, no Polly though, but, it appeared most of the Malone family was there. A blend of old and new. Polly and husband Henry were listed in the 1870 census for that area as being farm laborers, probably for Dr. J W Proctor, who also had a farm. Several others in the census were listed as domestic servants.

Polly Malone cemetery

I then went on the Anderson cemetery, I figured, it’s just down the road, why not? This was easy to get to, behind a farm, on a road that leads to county property. It said “private drive”. I went. The Findagrave site only listed six burials. The cemetery was full, and I took 79 photos. This will take some time. There were a lot of ” homemade headstones.

Anderson cemetery

Anderson cemetery, homemade headstones

I stopped for gas on the way to the next one. It was another Anderson cemetery with just two burials listed. It was in a small clump of trees among fields of corn. Corn that didn’t have much life in it either. We had a drought and it showed. This Anderson was listed as Madison county, but, it was still in Limestone. It was not quite as far as the county line road.

Anderson # 2

Anderson # 2

I finally got to the cemetery on my list, but, not before I found Collier, but, could not get to it! So, I went on to Cambridge Church cemetery. It was no longer a church. The marker for it was down the road about 1/4 mile. There was a request here, so I was able to fulfill it.

Cambridge church

Success!! I was on the road again! Now to ONeal, not on my list , but, on my way!! Sometimes, I also see if there are any graves listed on Findagrave that have no pictures attached. I figure, eventually someone may be looking for them. So, I did find seven here. I was disappointed I could not find the request, but, took 9 photos that were not listed. At this point, I am asking myself if I will ever get the the cemetery next on my list??? It was just up the road. I did, and was glad I did. Round Island…now, it did appear to be round in form, but, behind a church. There were 3 requests, I was able to get one, really old one!!

Round Hill cemetery

Again, there were several not photographed, so, I did my best! I am done, that was the last one on my list!! But, am I? On my map I saw another as I was looking for a way out of Limestone county. Sunny Hill, it just sounds nice, right? There were about a dozen not photographed, I was able to get all but one. I felt like this was a successful venture. And worth going to that last one.

Have you ever looked in the distance and saw a clump of trees in the middle of a field of corn, soybeans or whatever grows in your area? Check your map, it just may be an old cemetery. I have found, at least locally, there is not mush out there on the history of our cemeteries. You almost must have someone famous buried there. So many of these I have found were on farms, perhaps the owners, or maybe workers, or earlier, slaves. It would be interesting to know who they were.



                                            CREATING YOUR TREE

If you have not already been bitten by the genealogy bug, this is of no use to you. Nor will you even be reading this. But, if you are thinking of starting your family tree, here are some beginning tips on what to do.

  1. Start with your parents. What do you know of them, where they met, lived etc.
  2. Your grandparents. Now if you are fortunate enough to still have them, ask as many questions as you can, and have a tablet. This is how I started. Learn about their siblings, where the grandparents lived, worked and who their parents were. The great-grandparents are key. This could take you back much further, probably Civil War time depending on your age.
  3. Photographs, hopefully mom saved a lot of these, and grandma too. Hope that the photos have names and dates on the back.
  4. Resource centers cemeteries in which your ancestors are buried, local LDS centers, death, marriage and birth certificates in your family.
  5. Join an online community , such as Rootsweb, Genealogy Wise, FamilySearch, Genforum or Ancestry. This is a great way to network your info.
  6. Research on Findagrave, I have found many headstones there, as well as other family buried in the same cemetery. This also gives you locality information on where your family lived.
  7. USGenWeb has great information broken down by state and county. There are volunteers there to help.
  8. Local libraries/archives has old census records, deeds and abstracts, as well as court records to help you in your search.
  9. Visit towns in which your family grew up, I did this recently and discovered a new world.
  10. Lastly, try to stick to one family at a time, if you don’t, you may stray and never get back to your original question……



I don’t mean a child, cat , dog or even a bird. I am talking about a cemetery!!

The ACPA ( Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance ) website has a listing of registered cemeteries that can be adopted. A lot of people stumble upon old cemeteries while hunting, along rivers and lakes, in the woods or clearing land for a building. There can overgrowth of plants, headstones overturned and general neglect.


Genealogy researchers seem to be the ones most interested, it connects them to their past. It gives them clues to marriages, children and financial status, as well as their role in the community. Headstones can be interesting, from the ornate to the homemade. They can give information about a person’s religion, career, interests and heritage.

Getting youth interested in preserving cemeteries is integral to the future of how these cemeteries will continue to exist. Perhaps a Boy Scout project or church youth group could take on such as task. They could research those buried there or even study what was on the land in years past.

Mooresville Cemetery , Limestone County Alabama

Reynolds Cemetery, Lawrence county Alabama

Elliott Cemetery, Lawrence county Alabama

Alabama is not the only state that has websites and organizations devoted to cemetery preservation. Check out these below.

Saving Graves

Arkansas Cemetery Preservation

African Heritage

Colorado Cemetery Preservation

Save the Slaves



While out on Monday, I decided to go to west of Decatur. While I was out looking for decrepit cemeteries, I stopped at the gate of Pond Spring, the Wheeler home. It was closed at the time. So, I decided to go toward Courtland at this point. I was surprised a the architecture there. After visiting the local cemeteries, I headed east again, and this time the gate was open at the Wheeler home. I stopped to take a few photos.

Dogtrot cabin on Wheeler property

I started to walk up the path, and I was approached by the curator who was about to close the gates. She was extremely nice. I was of course inquiring about the cemetery. It is located about 50 yards behind the Wheeler home.The curator was very kind in explaining how I could get to see the cemetery and take photos. Also, the home has a Grand Opening on September 8th. They are doing an extensive remodel of the Wheeler home.


Wimbley Cemetery AKA Kimbell Cemetery

This cemetery is located just west of Decatur Alabama on highway 20/72. It is on the property that belongs to ULA ( formerly Boeing). It’s posted no trespassing…..I can’t read apparently. This means nothing to those of us eager to take a photo not listed. I was sure to be extremely careful. It is within a fenced area and rock wall as well. It contains the Kimbell family as well as names MInor, Mosely and Murphey. It is very poor condition, with many of the monuments overturned. The only information I can find on this family, is that Edmond Kimbell once operated a stagecoach in Decatur. So, it was a point of interest for many to stop, probably because of the  river.



I hope I don’t get poison ivy or poison oak! The first cemetery I found was at an old church off the beaten path. Sand Hill cemetery in Morgan county, just north of Hwy 67. There were a few photos not yet submitted on the FindaGrave site for this cemetery. I was able to locate one, Susie Ryan. I will post to FindaGrave today.

Susie Ryan

There were a lot of old headstones in the cemetery ( covered in poison oak and ivy) along with many markers that were overturned, illegible and ones leaned against trees. Those are the forgotten ones. They may be listed in the cemetery records though, I hope.

From there, I proceeded east. I pulled up my Google map and typed in cemeteries. It is a wondrous thing! Little red dots appear to list all the cemeteries. I find the most useful tool on FindaGrave is to locate the cemetery name, then only list the buried who do not have a photo on their site.

Shoal Creek cemetery is at the church. Located off Hwy 67 and Shoal Creek Rd in Priceville. There were numerous headstones that were not yet pictured on FindaGrave. This may take a while. My camera died, so, I resorted to the iPhone. The most interesting photo I took was this.


Died exactly one year after her birth.

This is the cemetery for the Price family for whom Priceville is named. The Price family moved into Morgan County in 1825. Dr Charles Wesley Price became one of the county’s leading physicians. His son, Dr James E. Price, succeeded him. This is a very well-kept cemetery.

Price Cemetery

Last on my list searching for headstones that had not yet been photographed, was also in Priceville. Walnut Grove Baptist church cemetery. This was a well maintained cemetery next to the church. Wooded area next to it, which made me wonder…..could there be more?

Ruby Stella Mays

I also found a cemetery directly off Bethel road which was inaccessible. I would have had to walk and climb to get in there, neither looked attractive to me. This one would have been intriguing. It was Rountree cemetery which had family buried there of John Asa Rountree, notable citizen of Hartselle, and on the same grounds, a slave cemetery. There are no listings for the slaves buried there.

And then, on the property of Decatur Country Club, was Blackwell cemetery. It was posted with ” private property” signs. I decided to stay in the car.

None of the headstones I photographed today are family members of me, nor, do I know anyone buried in these cemeteries. However, I learned a great deal about the local community, its founders and epidemics that took so many lives in Alabama in 1878.  Severe epidemics in the Tennessee valley, with infection in most cases from Memphis. There were cases at Athens, Courtland, Decatur, Florence, Huntsville, Leighton, Stevenson, Town Creek, Tuscumbia and Tuscaloosa. Spring Hill, Whistler and Mobile in the southern part of the State were visited.

Athens had 2 cases, with 2 deaths; Courtland, one case with one death; Decatur 187 cases, 51 deaths; Florence 1,409 cases, 50 deaths; Huntsville 33 cases, 13 deaths, none of these being resident cases; Leighton, 4 cases, 1 death; Mobile 297 cases, 83 deaths; Spring Hill, 1 death among the refugees, no local cases; Stevenson 11 cases, and 6 deaths, first case on September 1; Town Creek, 4 deaths; Tuscaloosa 2 cases, 2 deaths; Tuscumbia 97 cases, 31 deaths; Whistler several cases among refugees, 1 death only, inhabitants not attacked.

References.—Brewer, Alabama (1872), p. 526; Northern Alabama (1888), p. 215; Polk’s Alabama gazetteer,1888-9, p. 821; Alabama Official and Statistical Register, 1915.


I love old cemeteries……

Really looking forward to getting out to some cemeteries again. Was out last Tuesday at Athens City cemetery and Old Town cemetery. I am really getting into cemetery lookups on FindaGrave as well. I like the fact you can post a listing on FindaGrave and request a photo of a headstone, especially if there is not already one posted on their site. I have had many a volunteer photo taken of some relatives. Now it is time to pay back the favor.

Athens Old Town cemetery

Mooresville cemetery

Photo request in Mooresville cemetery

Was glad to help out the person looking for their ancestor.

I am looking forward to going to Chickamauga battlefield soon. My 3rd great-grandfather, Joseph McCall, CSA, 46th Georgia Regiment, fought there, although died in the battle of Kennesaw mountain in Georgia. I would like to visit all the battlefields of the Civil War, and locate the grave of Joseph McCall. Maybe someday. For now, I will be satisfied to help out others looking for their ancestors.



Myrtle Hill Cemetery

This is the map of Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Tampa Florida. It is said to be haunted. After some research at the Plant City Historical Society, I went to the cemetery in hopes of finding the headstone of my Great grandmother, Alice Lindell Davison. I entered the cemetery from the west, and chose to go to the older side of the cemetery, which was only a guess. I really had no idea where I was going. Only two other vehicles were in the park that day. After driving around some, I finally got out and walked around some. There is a mausoleum there to the north, that is a retro design from the fifties. It is a beautiful cemetery, decorated with  large oaks of cascading spanish moss. Absolutely gorgeous! I remember seeing a large marker with the name Savage. It must have been four feet high. Somehow, it seemed familiar. I looked around some, but, had no luck in finding the headstone.  I got a strange feeling, as if I had been there before. After my visit, I called my parents to see if I had ever been there. We moved from Tampa when I was three. I thought perhaps, I had gone there with my grandmother, maybe. They both told me I had never been there before.

Some weeks after I had gotten home, I posted a request on FindaGrave, to see if a volunteer could find the grave. I was overjoyed when someone answered my request. This gentleman was kind enough to go to Myrtle Hill and take a photo. He took a photo and posted it on FindaGrave, and told me of the location of the burial. I was so close when I was there. I can’t wait to go back and see for myself.

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