Behind my house in Indiana across a rolling field back through a bramble of thorns and overgrown trees sits a tiny graveyard. My family and I first discovered it about eighteen years ago when we moved in, and we’ve been quietly taking care of it ever since. Nobody visits, and if they did, they’d have to do a lot of searching.
A few years ago, a tree fell right through it, smashing up a lovely wrought-iron fence and displacing some stones. We cut the tree up, dragged it away, and tried to repair what we could. It’s at this tiny, hidden place, with my Dad’s help, that I first fell in love with genealogy.
“Where do you suppose their house was?” He asked one day, as we were hiking back from a visit to the 6 headstones. We stopped, looked around, and he pointed out places that would have been perfect for a house. Over there, by the creek I played and caught frogs in, or maybe at the top of this hill where they would have been able to see around them. The terrain had changed, he said, but somewhere there might be an old foundation.
We never found one. We just had the graveyard, and once I found an old marble that I was convinced had stuck around from the 1800s.
“Do you think anyone cares about this place anymore?” I remember asking once, when my brother and I were pulling weeds and leaves from around the worn headstones.
“Probably not,” he said. “Nobody knows it’s here.”
That made me sad as a teen. To think that the Schultz-Staley graveyard held bodies of people who nobody thought about anymore.
That all changed today. Saturday, while I was painting my house, my Dad sent a text saying he’d been down to the graveyard and had taken pictures of the stones. I had an idea.
“I’m going to upload them to findagrave.com,” I texted back. “So they won’t be forgotten.” Today I created a profile on findagrave and typed in a search for ‘Schultz-Staley Cemetery’, which is what Dad and I had always called it. Nothing came up, except for a little notice that said ‘you mean Staley Cemetery?’
Maybe. I clicked on it, and to my surprise, the little cemetery behind my house has a findagrave page. I clicked on ‘Abraham Staley’ and noticed that someone had requested an image of the headstone.
Someone else does care! Tears pricked my eyes (weird, I know) and I uploaded all the images my Dad had taken. Someone has been waiting five years to see the photos. Five years. And I was able to help them get the information they needed.
I learned a fascinating story about one of the members of that graveyard- comment if you’re interested. 🙂 Oh- and by the way, here are those pictures.