Don’t Overlook that Unlikely Newspaper for Anecdotes about Your Ancestors

I already had the unusual photo of my 2nd cousin (twice removed), Ellza Limes, with the squirrels perched on his arms that I acquired some years ago.  So when I “bumped into” the little article about him (even though his first name was misspelled in the newspaper) while searching for stories on my father and grandfather who lived in Lorain County, I thought how neat that the little story is about one of my more colorful distant ancestors — and his pet squirrels, apparently dozens of them as I just learned!  

Of course, this was not the type of information I expected to find in an Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio newspaper knowing he had lived his whole life in the small village of Ridgeway, in Hardin County, Ohio.  

The experience confirms for me that human interest stories about our ancestors exists in places we might easily overlook.  Yet, if we follow that “little voice from within” we are led to them.  

Often the accounts are little more than anecdotes, such as this one is, but whatever their content, we instinctively treasure our newfound discovery about our ancestor.  We even gloat about the fact we believe we were meant to find their story despite the obvious odds, indeed we were right because if they want to be found, they will be!

ELLZA LIMES COLLAGE WITH SQUIRREL PHOTO AND STORY AND RIDGEWAY GARAGE

Calvary Cemetery, Lorain Ohio – April 9, 2017 – Unexpectedly Finding a long-lost friend Touched My Heart.

Sharing my photos of myself and Joan D. (Szczepankiewicz) Stevens of Lorain taken at Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio on April 9, 2017.  

While at Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, I decided its time to visit the gravesite of some of my Szczepankiewicz family members from my maternal grandmother’s family.  Specifically, Stanley Szczepankiewicz and his wife Sophie’s gravesites. 

While walking toward the gravestone, I immediately saw a lady finishing up decorating it with Easter flowers.  I decided to walk up and ask her if she is Joan Stevens, the daughter of Stanley and Sophie, whom I had written to over the years but not received recent replies from, unfortunately.  She said she was indeed Joan Stevens, so we struck up a conversation and I told her about my maternal great-grandmother’s gravesite in another section that she said she had never visited before.  I mentioned that if she had time to follow us there, I would show it to her.  My maternal great-grandmother is Antonina Szczepankiewicz.  So we stopped at my ancestor’s gravesite where my husband took our photo standing by it.  Afterward, we drove up to another section of the cemetery to visit the gravesites of Joan’s grandparents Antoni and Victoria (Krokos) Szczepankiewicz.  Antoni and Antonina were siblings. 

Meeting Joan so unexpectedly certainly was the highlight of my day.  She is such a remarkable person that at age 85 and after overcoming major health issues, still drives out to decorate her parents’ gravesites.  I pray she is able to continue with her visits for many years to come. 

Szczepankiewicz interments at Calvary Cemetery, Lorain Ohio as listed on Find A Grave. 

Marion (Szczepankiewicz) Stevens is also buried at Calvary Cemetery in Lorain.

Find A Grave Changes Are a Coming!

A Heads up for those of us who are contributors and users of Find A Grave, which as most of us know by now, has been taken over by Ancestry.com!  More changes are to come with the Find A Grave website.

Click Here to read about upcoming changes for Find A Grave.  

Now might be a good time to go into your “Contributor Tools” and download your data.:

“Download Your Data”

“You can download your records for a cemetery or virtual cemetery by choosing it from the list below. The data will download as a tab-delimited Excel file. This format can be imported into a variety of programs. Add cemeteries to your My Cemeteries list to see them listed here.”

Just a tip:  I use a Windows 7 64bit desk top computer and when I downloaded a cemetery file it saved it to a .txt format instead of an Excel format.  I changed the .txt to a .xls and the file then opened up in Excel for me.  I could also re-save the .xls into a .xlsx file.  I still have Office 2007 on my computer.  So, if your downloaded cemeteries default to .txt this would be a workaround for you.