About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Communing with the Dead


So, when was the last time you were at a cemetery? It's been a very long time for me (3 months) . . . so long that I'm going through cemetery withdrawal. My last visit was in May of this year, when I got to a couple - in New York. Such special time I spent in the graveyard on my family's property. This time I took photos of every headstone I could reach (some were rather impossible for someone who had been dealing with a bad knee and the brambles and low branches were as impossible to cut through as a brick wall).

Unfortunately, I was not able to replace both missing flags: one had been broken in the little "holder" on the sign and I couldn't dig its stub out. Two children, my distant cousins who died in childhood - Elsa and Roy (Isabelle & Gilderoy) - were children of Abram and Betsey Freeman, who moved, with the rest of their children, from Jefferson to Onondage County, NY, leaving those children on the family farm. Roy's headstone is knocked over, but Elsa's still sits tall:

 I don't think anyone visits these children's graves any more. I do, whenever I get to Jefferson County, though. It was special, for me, to be where my family had gathered so many years ago. So that is a reason the song I selected for this week is extra special. It's composed by the men in the video: Don Henry and John Vezner: "The Garden of the Dead."  

Hope you are receiving this in the spirit of which it is meant: appreciation for those who passed on before. Any songs come to mind on that, or a like, subject?

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