May 28, 2017

Road Trip to the Past - Day 7: “Genial Genealogists” and “Old New Galilee”

Back in research mode, we started the day in the nearby and newly-formed Beaver County Genealogy and History Center. Housed in an old 9-1-1 call center bunker, we found a wealth of information that included tax records, land deeds, bound newspaper archives and more. And the volunteers here were a huge help! They even used their membership to help us find more!

We ate lunch at a cute downtown diner in Beaver then set our sites on New Galilee. We were now entering the realm of recent memory for my father-in-law. He remembered visiting his grandparents here. His father even mowed the cemetery where we found our next group of relatives.
His memory was helpful in finding a lot of the headstones. But some of the more distant relatives were a little harder to find. One such was hiding behind some flowers. We tried doing a rubbing of these hard-to-read tombstones but even that was difficult. One tombstone was covered in moss that I tried to scrape away with my shoe. Other markers were flush with the ground and thus covered with mud that we easily washed away with water.

TIP: Bring tombstone cleaning supplies when visiting old cemeteries. Include a brush, water and pick tools to clean out lettering.

TIP: Rubbings would be a fun kids activity when visiting a graveyard or cemetery. You can also create a game of bingo by giving them a list of names of graves to find.

Using my smartphone, we double checked the listings for this cemetery on Later we learned just how helpful the smartphone app for this site would have been. Not only does it give you the listings for each cemetery, it also has a map feature that shows you each cemetery in your area! If only I had downloaded this in Donegal!

Downtown New Galilee showed us the Nazarene Church where an uncle was pastor.

A few blocks away was the empty lot where my wife’s great-grandparents' house once stood. Being a small town, our unfamiliar vehicle was scrutinized by suspicious locals. But a conversation with a passerby put her at ease.

TIP: When visiting graveyards, cemeteries, or old sites, dress respectfully. Especially if you are taking a lot of pictures. Dressing too casual could earn you a conversation with a cop where you will bear the burden of proof for you benign intentions.

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