Tag Archives: cemetery

WHERE are you?

Oak Ridge Abe Lincoln

A rub of the nose on Abe Lincoln’s bust by his tomb assures good luck.

When you visit cemeteries to collect data and photos for your family research this summer, don’t forget to notice your surroundings. My term for this important element is “territorial context.” This information will serve you well if you share directions to the location with another person, or if you ever return to that location. You need to answer and record information about certain aspects of your destination. What direction are you facing? What landmarks do you see? Who are the neighbors?

This summer, I visited ancestors buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Although I was not equipped with a GPS, I had done my homework. A library book provided me with a detailed map of the cemetery, and internment forms I obtained previously contained lot numbers. More importantly, when I visited the site previously, I knew a remarkable landmark stood a short distance from the site. My family was a stone’s throw from Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb. You could not miss it. That detail told us we were near the family plot.

Illinois Cemetery

Where am I?

During the same trip, we visited another little pioneer family cemetery, which was not so easy to locate. When the paved road disappeared, we wondered if we were on the right course with barely visible ruts to lead us on. Corn fields in all directions blocked our view. Which way were we going? The sun was overhead, and we had no large landmark to guide us. But we pushed on until we came to a clearing surrounded by robust crops. This was the place. Next time, it will be much easier to find. Next time.

Illinois Cemetery 3

Another view provides territorial context.

Joyce Lohse

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Family history


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I’m Your Huckleberry


Now, use your best Virginia twang, just like Doc Holliday in the film, Tombstone, and say … “I’m yore huckleberry”. A verbal expression is a different way to touch history. I became curious about this quaint expression, so of course, I Googled it. This is an old fashioned phrase that means, I am the person for the job, I’m your man, or in my case, I’m the woman for the job. Before I went around saying it in public, I thought I had better check on the meaning. After all, it could mean something entirely different, such as, I’m your fruit tart! On the contrary, this is a fairly useful term, in response to a friendly request, although it will require explanation to those not familiar with it, or not enamored with the dialogue of the film, Tombstone.

I was fortunate to go adventuring again last week with my research pal, Christie. We ended up, again, in the South Park district of the Colorado mountains, poking around some ghost town buildings and another old cemetery. Each cemetery has its own personality, and I found this one to be more melancholy than others we’ve visited. Many of the graves were for children, and the hardships and heartaches of life in the 1880s at almost 10,000 feet elevation was palpable. Touching history is not always joyous. Regardless, be assured that whenever I have a chance to learn and experience those far away times and stories from the past, “I’m your huckleberry”.

Joyce Lohse, 5/26/09


Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Western history


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Book Launch Week

A book launch is a most exciting time for an author, and the reason for all we do. My new book, “General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer,” was delivered to me by my publisher, Filter Press, on Thursday, just before a Colorado spring blizzard socked Denver. Although an author open house I was scheduled to attend at a rural library was canceled on Saturday, the sun popped out and events carried on for Sunday and Tuesday. In the meantime, I had a couple of days to catch up on desk work and enjoy the presence of my new book, and the beautiful snow.

Sunday’s appearance was the 10th annual author open house at Englewood Library, which I’ve attended a few times in the past. As before, it was a classy and enjoyable event. I especially enjoyed visiting with other authors and seeing newly released book titles. Writing is a solitary activity. I relish getting out and spending time visiting with readers, fellow authors from Filter Press, other members of Women Writing the West, and making new friends in the book world.

Yesterday, my presentation at the Columbine Genealogical & Historical Society was “Lurking in Cemeteries: A Researcher’s Guide.” Once again, the subject returned to cemeteries. Rich stories abound there, and they provide unlimited possibilities. In addition, biographies are the perfect vehicle to preserve the stories of people who might otherwise be overlooked, or their voices lost to history and posterity. It was a large audience of savvy genealogists and cemetery enthusiasts. Afterwords, I signed a bunch of books, including my new Palmer title. It was a good, unsinkable day, and General Palmer is off to a good start.

Joyce B. Lohse, 4/22/09


Posted by on April 22, 2009 in Western history


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