Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Gravestone

I referred earlier to a selection of books I recently ordered from overseas with such engaging titles as The Forgotten Tombstones of Moray that I can't believe you haven't all asked to borrow them! [*] 

Reading such stimulating subject matter lately G is, therefore, for Gravestone

Genealogy today is so much faster and easy thanks largely to the internet. Not all records are digital though and we then rely on the hard work of people who visit out of the way places and publish their findings. As our funny genealogist shares in Rule 4 of the Rules for Genealogy:  
"The ceme­tery where your ances­tor was buried does not have per­pet­ual care, has no office, is acces­si­ble only by a muddy road, has snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs … and many of the old grave­stones are in bro­ken pieces, stacked in a cor­ner under a pile of dirt."
That was certainly the experience Mum and I had driving around Garmouth looking for Old Urquhart Cemetery which we found next to an empty house and a few paddocks just off Station Road in Urquhart. One mob of hard-working people busting axels down muddy roads and fighting the bugs is the Moray Burial Ground Research Group (MBGRG). Their hard work transcribing the gravestones in Morayshire helped us to not only locate where our Robert's parents were buried so Mum and I could visit them but also identify/confirm the identity of a couple of his siblings: John and James. (See the post about Jessy for more detail on the gravestone and its inscription). 

Deaths weren't often recorded in parish records because of the cost involved to the family in paying "mortcloth dues", so gravestones are sometimes the only record of death and manner of death. They also give us more clues to occupations, locations etc...

My readings through the loving inscriptions left on the gravestones of the residents of Garmouth and surrounds haven't thrown up any earth-shattering discoveries (yet) but I have found reference to a few exlineal family members including Betsy Murdoch's sister (our Robert's sister-in-law): 
Erected by ANN MURDOCH in memory of her beloved husband
JAMES BRANDER, Shipmaster, Garmouth
who died 8th November 1880 aged 50 years.
Also of the said ANN MURDOCH
who died 10th January 1929 aged 89 years.
who died 4th April 1944 aged 64 years.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord" [1]

[*] The delivery included:

The Lands and People of Moray (Part 14): Garmouth, Kingston, Essil, Lunan and Newtown by Bruce B Bishop
Monumental Inscriptions: Urquhart Old Churchyard edited by Helen Mitchell and Bruce B Bishop
The Forgotten Tombstones of Moray (Vol 4): Lhanbryde Old Churchyard, Urquhart Churchyard, Spynie Old Churchyard by the Moray Burial Ground Research Group
The Lands and People of Moray: Mortcloth Dues and Miscellaneous Death Records by Bruce B Bishop
Speyside monumental inscription pre 1855 edited by Alison Mitchell
The Forgotten Tombstones of Moray (Vol 1): Dipple and Essil and Kirkhill by the Moray Burial Ground Research Group
Monumental Inscriptions: Essil Old Churchyard edited by Helen Mitchell and Bruce B Bishop

You know, just in case you'd like to read them!

[1] The Forgotten Tombstones of Moray (Vol 1): Dipple and Essil and Kirkhill by the Moray Burial Ground Research Group, page 30, Old Essil Churchyard, ref. 337.

1 comment:

  1. A cool bit of family history. It's interesting how we learn things about our past.

    Good luck with the challenge!

    Dianna Fielding