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Century-Old Tombstone Found on Houseboat

Another story validating the worth of genealogy.

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Content Details

Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Melissa Slate
Word Count: 416 (approx.)
Labels: Cemetery  Death Record 
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Genealogy is an often misunderstood hobby or pursuit. Many people who do not practice the hobby view it as having little value to pursue the records of long perished people. But recently, one genealogy investigator took it upon herself to solve a portion of a puzzle belonging to a modern day family.

The story begins in Charleston, SC where a tombstone over a century old was found by a cleaning person, stowed in a cabinet on a houseboat in a Marina. The tombstone bore the inscription "Infant son of R.W. & E.J. Hypes Born Nov. 2, 1894 Died Nov. 29 1894".

A Charleston, SC police officer was investigating the finding and attempting to find the proper home for the stone when a genealogical private investigator decided to do some record searching. The private investigator specializes in finding adopted children or parents who have given their children up for adoption, so she was very aware of the value that genealogy skills could play in this situation. Within a couple of hours she had found the family of the missing tombstone family and contacted them. They were aware that an infant had died but were totally unaware of the tombstone's existence.

The stone belongs to a family in West Virginia who told the private investigator that finding the stone had created much excitement for the family. The parents of the deceased child were buried apart from the child and another sibling who had died in early childhood. The children's names are inscribed on the back of the Mother's tombstone with the dates of their births and their deaths. In 1953, the two children were moved to a final resting place near their mother and father. None of the family members recollect their ever being a tombstone on the original burial site.

Family members are planning a trip to South Carolina in May to pick up the tombstone after deciding that shipping the stone was too risky to attempt. Family members are awestruck that the stone, missing all that time, would ever be found. They marvel at the chances of it. Curiosity abounds as to how the stone wound up in such an unlikely place, and the family has not a clue. That remains another mystery waiting to be solved.

Through the use of genealogy, an important record and piece of history that might have been lost forever has been returned to a grateful family. And a precious child of long ago will receive an enduring tribute to mark his presence on the earth.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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