Last year I was interviewed by Lisa of BillionGraves. The interview You Never Know Who You’ll Find was fun. Most of what we talked about didn’t make the article, but that’s the nature of the beast. I didn’t think to ask Lisa what the title would be, but once I saw it, the title was a perfect fit. I won’t rehash what Lisa posted, but will cover some of the stuff not mentioned in the interview. This was my first graving-related interview, but not my first interview.
One of the first questions asked was how did I learn about BillionGraves. I don’t remember and maybe the NSA would be kind enough to send the first time I accessed the site. I had been using Find-A-Grave for many years and my guess is I stumbled upon BillionGraves through an online search. I was familiar with a number of other graving websites: USGenWeb Tombstone Project, Interment.net, GenealogyTrails, V.A.’s grave locator to name a few. I liked the GPS feature of the headstone photos and the fact I didn’t “own” a memorial. I think it was late June or early July 2012 when I started transcribing records on BillionGraves. I owned a semi-stupid phone which wasn’t smart enough to take GPS photos. After a couple of weeks, I upgraded to an Android smart phone capable of taking photos. On my first day out, I went to Calvary Cemetery, a Roman Catholic cemetery, and one of the closest cemeteries to where I live. I took 59 photographs that day (10 July 2012) and this was my first photo taken. I did photograph the other side of the headstone.
Here is the GPS location of the headstone.
Initially, I wasn’t transcribing the photos I took, but after a month or so I began transcribing them or adding to the information of those photos transcribed by others. I have access to several sets of cemetery records locally and can find obit information through a variety of sources.
I took this photo in Maple Grove Cemetery on 20 November 2012 I didn’t think too long about Mary because I didn’t recognize the name. A couple of weeks later I started transcribing the Maple Grove photos. When transcribing headstones, I look at various sources. In this case, I checked Find-A-Grave and saw a Mary Catherine Swartz Jefferies in Maple Grove. The name didn’t ring a bell. When I clicked on her memorial and saw her parents were Simeon and Sarah (Kring) Swartz, I recognized their names as being the sister and brother-in-law of my great-grandfather Simon Tobias Kring.
This was a pleasant surprise to me because I wasn’t aware any of Sarah and Simeon’s children had moved to Wichita. I had not researched Sarah’s line too deeply, but knew they had lived in Rice County, Kansas for a while, but moved to Major County, Oklahoma where they are buried. Mary is on my to-do list for the 52 Ancestor challenge.
As an update to the blog interview, on Monday I visited Bushton, Rice County, Kansas to get a first hand look at where they lived and am writing up my experience about the trip in a separate post.