Or "Rednecks, Back Roads and Cemetery Maps"
by Uncle Hiram
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
After three years of research, writing letters to distant cousins and going through old obit notices you finally discover that your Great Uncle Wade Dozier Lunsford was buried in Oakland Community Cemetery, Van Zandt County Texas.Two weeks later, after convincing your spouse there is nothing "Odd" about making the five hour 300 mile drive to look at the headstone of someone who died 50 years before you were born, you set off for Van Zandt County.
Now its August, in Texas, the Average daytime temp is about four thousand degrees. As you wander the back roads the heat begins to take its toll and you start to see some very strange things. As you enter your third hour of aimlessly wandering the two lane county roads you begin to question your decision to give up cyber quilting and take up genealogy. After stopping for a big gulp (A 44oz soft drink) and directions at a small country store ran by a guy you swear is Elvis you come to the conclusion that finding this cemetery may be the LAST thing you ever do in this lifetime.
Let me ask you how many times have you wandered through the back roads of some distant county looking for a cemetery with only the vaguest ideal of its location? How many times have you lived out in some small degree the scenario I described above? I myself have done it many times. Wandering over roads all over East Texas and Alabama looking desperately for local landmarks like "Billy Bob's Burnt Out Old Dodge Pickup, you know the one with the missing back fender."
Of course in the past the only alternative to this method was to find a local that was willing to guide you. The "Local Guide" method is far supior to aimlessly wandering but it also has a couple of serious drawbacks. 1) You have to find a local and 2) your guide has to be patient while you search the graveyard for old Uncle Wade Dozier.
Finally at least in Van Zandt County Texas there is a third alternative. The Van Zandt County Genealogical Society has produced a map of that county. Unlike the map you can buy at 7-11 or Texaco this map show the locatoin of every cemetery in the county. No more getting lost, no more asking the guy at the Dairy Queen for directions. Now, I can find every cemetery in Van Zandt County. This alone would make the map a valuable tool but the VZGS went a step beyond. This Map also shows the borders of all the school districts, so now I know which school records to research. This stylish and usefull tool is modestly priced at only $10.
I want to present the very first "Dang Good Ideal" award to the VZGS for this excellent map.
- Adios and Keep Smiling!
p.s. Just for the record Wade Dozier Lunsford is buried in the Oakland Community Cemetery which is located about 5 miles north of I20 on County Road 1255.
- Bill Hocutt (Uncle Hiram)