Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bringing Your Ancestors Full Circle......

When I began my genealogy journey in 1977, I was asked what my goal was.  I simply wanted to know who my Great Grandparents Moore's were.  I did not know their names, or anything about them.  The 1900 Census was out, but I needed to gather information on my Grandfather Vernon Doak Moore to know where to look.  The census was not yet indexed.  I learned he was born in Taylor, Texas and so there I started my search.

I found my grandfather on the 1900 census living with siblings and grandparents.  I turned to the volunteer who had been so kindly helping me and said,

"Why are they living with their grandparents?" 
"The parents have probably died at this point, so the children are with the grandparents." She replied.
"Nooooo! How will I ever learn who my great grandparents were?" I asked?
"You may never know and that is something you will have to accept" said the volunteer.

I did not like that answer.  So for the next 32 years on and off, I went in search of who were my Great Grandparent Moore's. I would eventually learn they were Jack and Minerva Moore.  But to break through on Minerva's line and find out who she was, was a long journey.

In 1999 my dad passed away, and because of that I connected with one of my cousins.  Two years later, visiting Plano, Texas I was able to sit down and visit with her sister.  It was odd, even though I knew who Lynn was I had no clue who Jennie was.  I always felt so estranged from my family It was  though I was thrown to this life and said, "Here survive if you can."  I learned things about my father this day that made me break down on the plane going back to Utah.  I was confused.  Why did I have such a passion for this family I did not know and did not seem to bring me any joy?  Why was my curiosity so high about them?

Because I knew more of the Moore Family History than any of my newly reconnected Aunts and Cousins, I decided to write a family history.  I realized each one of us had a bit and we needed to combine it all to tell their story.   I was really looking for pictures.  One suggestion led me to contact my Uncle Ed. There I hit the jackpot.  Uncle Ed sent me a box full of genealogy.  I know to anyone else it was just papers and pictures.  But I will forever be grateful to him sending me that box.

In the box was a letter from my Great Aunt Ellen (my grandfather's sister) to him and my grandmother.  She clued me in on where to find a picture of my great great grandmother Mary D Moore.  But for me the most exciting part were the words "my grandparents were Virginia Lyon and Cornelius J "Buck" Cain.  My great grandmother was a CAIN!!!  I cried.  I am sappy like that.  At this point I had been researching my grandfather's siblings, and learned with in a short more time (even without the box) I would have learned the name of Minerva Cain Moore.

In 2009 I sold everything and came to Texas to research my Moore's.  Shortly there after my mom passed away.  With her passing and finding many Moore records I had been looking for, I felt it was the time to work on my mom's family. For the next two years I made great leaps and bounds on my Campbell's, Thenne's and McGinniss's.  I would only stop for the Moore family when I was asked questions, or receive an email from a potential cousin.

The one thing that always bothered me about Jack and Minerva is that I could not find where they were buried.  I knew it had to be in Taylor.  I had a "maybe" death date for Jack, and knew when Minerva died.  But still no graves.  Finding their graves, brings them full circle and you are able to have closure on that part of your life. Throughout my whole journey on this genealogy road, I have found many many surprises.  I found my Great Uncle Lee had a first marriage we did not know about.  In blogging about him, I was able to connect with descendants from that line.  I have stood in the store my ancestors built in 1865 in Mooresville.  I met my great uncle who could tell me much of the Moore history, and even had my picture in the same newspaper where stories had been written about my great grandparents and ancestors through the years.  But the one thing that saddened me, was that I did not know where Jack and Minerva were buried.  It was something I thought I was coming to accept, but yet in my nightly prayers I asked for their guidance to help me find their graves.

And that is what happened on Monday March 19, 2012, WE found their graves.  I had connected with one of Minerva's great nephews, Burney.  He had done much research on the Cain family and did not know anything about Minerva.  She was not found on the 1900 Census, her mother was listed as 4 children, with two living.  They assumed that Minerva had died.  She had. But no one knew about the Moore family she left behind. Burney bless his heart, in our conversation asked me the golden question, "So where is Minerva buried?" I still get a lump in my throat. I did not know.  In all my research, this is one are I failed.  I felt I had looked over every rock there was in Taylor. I only knew her death date.  A few minutes later he emailed me some results for FindaGrave.

I am very familiar with FindaGrave, I have been there often.  I also know I checked FindaGrave for Jack and Minerva's graves, but never found them.  There was another Minerva Moore buried in Williamson County, but I knew it was not my Minerva.  Because I also sat on the Williamson County Genealogical Society Board (WCGS), I was also familiar with the Cemetery Project and combed through the cemeteries.  When I saw they were buried in the Hargis Cemetery, I thought how could I have missed them? I knew it was a cemetery that had been documented and put on FindaGrave.  Retracing my steps I saw where next to Hargis (on a spreadsheet we kept for WCGS) was the name Moore in parenthesis.   Did I not Google them as Burney did since November 2010?  I could have sworn I did. How did I ever miss that?   I think it must have been added later.  That is what I claim anyway to protect my sanity.

On the spreadsheet was only 13 graves, now listed on FindaGrave was 35 graves.  In contacting both photographers for the cemetery, I learned a bit more information.  The first pass of the cemetery was in such array photos were take as best from the front of the cemetery.  My Moore family was located in the back.  It took Jon Christensen with his great love and passion for this work, to dig his way through the cemetery and photograph the stones.  There is this cemetery lied, NJ Moore (my great grandfather), Rebecca Burleson Moore (NJ 's first wife), Thomas and Mary Moore (two children of NJ and Rebecca's), and Mary Moore (NJ Mother and my great great grandmother).  Also listed were some Meeks relatives by marriage.

I cried. My heart was full.  f you ever think there are no records, or at a wits end of trying to find that one small piece of information, ask your ancestors for their help.  They do now where the records are.  They will help you!!!  Last but not least, RIP in my Moore family!!  To say we have had a journey is an understatement.  But we have brought them full circle and now they will never be forgotten again.  Here are the pictures to the graves.  Thank you FINDAGRAVE.COM!!

NJ Moore

Rebecca Burleson Moore

Thomas J Moore (Son of NJ and Rebecca)
Mary Moore (daughter of NJ and Rebecca)
Minerva Cain Moore
Mary D Williams Moore (Mothe of NJ Moore wife of Thomas A (TA Moore))