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I found my grandma!

When I was about 18, I was driving around an unfamiliar part of Nashville and I ran across the old city cemetery. I’m a cemetery hag from an old Nashville family, so I absolutely had to stop and have a look around. Very eerie it was, too — all overgrown and neglected, with the stones leaning at all angles. The perfect creepy Deep South cemetery.

I was astonished to find my great-great-great grandmother buried there. Had to be her because she had an unusual name — one that was given to me as a middle name and has dogged me ever since. In fact, much as I love the silliness of it, I tried to drop it when I married and use my old last name as my new middle name. Her Maj would have none of it and the name appears on all my official correspondence. I think when I take my citizenship (soon, by the way) I’ll give up and adopt it officially.

Anyway, I was astonished because I know she died in Louisiana in 1850-something and I hate to think how they got her home to Nashville and what kind of condition she was in. There was an inscription on the stone I couldn’t read, and the grave was surrounded by a high wrought iron fence. I briefly considered climbing over for a closer look, but thought of how many different kinds of hell my father would give me if I got knicked doing something I oughtenta in the City Cemetery.

So yesterday, somebody on FaceBook *spit* mentioned the City Cemetery and how well it’s kept now and what a good website they have. And, sure enough, I went there found my grandma. Her grave has been cleaned, the stone has been restored. It looked nice. I sent them a thank you note.

Point is — as I’m discovering, working for an historical society — more and more stuff is being conserved all the time. And more and more of the stuff that is conserved is coming online. If you have a particular family interest, it’s worth rechecking on a regular basis.

Bonus read: visual guide to gravestone symbolism.

March 5, 2015 — 10:56 pm
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