Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Kick-start your motivation: visit a cemetery

If I need a motivational boost for my family history endeavours, I head off to a cemetery.  Reading the inscriptions on the gravestones, wondering about the lives and loves of those who now lie at peace, sets my imagination free, and I remember again why I enjoy family history so much.

The enjoyment is even better when I can also fulfil a photo request from a fellow-genie.

Tarwin Lower Cemetery
Photo taken by author
Today, I visited Tarwin Lower Cemetery in South Gippsland to fulfil a photo request from Find-a-Grave.

Before I left home, I found information about the cemetery, and interesting stories about some of the early burials (for which records still exist) on Australian Cemeteries.  (If you don't already know about this site, it's awesome!)  I also learned that finding the cemetery might, in itself, add a touch of mystery to my trip.

I gathered my supplies and headed off.  To my delight, I had little difficulty finding the cemetery, thanks to Google Maps, or the grave-site I was searching for and quickly took a few photo's to send off to - I hope - a very happy genea-mate.

Then I just wandered.  There's something very peaceful and calming about a cemetery, and this is no exception.  There are lots of trees, giving plenty of shade, and adding that lovely "shush" sound of wind through their leaves.  It's quite a large piece of land with plenty of space between each section, and the trustees have installed a number of lovely wooden benches, where it's very pleasant to just sit and take in the ambience.

I do feel a bit sad when I see the dilapidated state of some grave-sites, such as the one pictured here. In addition to the overgrowth of vegetation on the surface of the grave, the weather has played havoc with this stone, and the inscription is almost illegible - just a few bumps in the surface to show there was ever anything there.   I wonder where the families, who once lavished care and thought on the resting-places of their loves ones, have now gone - lost to time, relocation, and the busy-ness of life probably.

And, I came back from this visit (like I always do) with a refreshed interest in the stories of my own ancestors, and renewed motivation to find out all I can about them, and to record it for the generations that will follow me.

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