Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sentimental Sunday ~ Find a Grave and Patch Work Quilts

What does Find a Grave have to do with patch work quilts? Here's my story:

This quilt was made by my paternal grandmother, Ada May (Miller) Gates. Ada made it for her only sister-in-law, Gertie. Ada and Gertie had married two brothers, they had no other siblings. The centre patch is stitched "Mom Mother 1930" and the red patches in the circle have the names of all of Gertie's twelve children. Grandmother Ada made several quilts, probably numbering in the 30's. Some were tucked away (like the one above) and are still treasured today, others were used until they were worn and thread bare. That's what happened to the one given to my parents, it was a bright sunny yellow. As a child I remember sleeping under it; as a mom, my two daughters played with it.

 Now about Find a Grave:
 I became a member in September 2009, posted a few of my ancestors from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Now  I have posted 58 myself and I have had 109 transferred to my care. Although I thought it was interesting, I just didn't realize the value of it as a resource and research tool.

Eventually I found that there were some of my relatives that had been posted by other members from various burial records. Some members have added thousands. For instance I found a woman that told me she had transcribed a cemetery record from a library which included my relatives. She willingly transferred them to me, pleased that they had been claimed by someone who was related.

Now about that quilt::
It seems like the perfect analogy for what I have accomplished at Find a Grave. My previous was post about Nancy Frances (Gates) and Ephriam Duke Eslinger. Not only was I interested in her adopting children at the age of about 75, she was also the step-mother to Ephriam's six children. I wondered who their mother was.  From my handwritten Family Tree, I knew about the six step-children and I knew there were two cemeteries, Burns and Osborn, where the Gates and Eslinger relatives were buried.

So I went to each cemetery on Find a Grave and searched both those surnames. Ephriam and Nancy are buried together in the Osborn Cemetery. They are the only two with that surname. Then I checked the Burns Cemetery and found three Eslinger family members.

Based on the inscriptions, I could see that there were two women who died about 10 years apart. Hannah died 1862, and Mary Ann died 1871, each about the age of 44 years, both the "Wife of E. D. Eslinger." Mary Jane was already identified and linked to Ephriam Duke Eslinger as his wife. Now I assumed that Hannah, who had died even earlier, was also his wife according to the inscription "Wife of E. D. Eslinger."

Finally, there was a little boy, 2 years old, as the only other Eslinger in that cemetery. Hannah, and the little boy both died in 1862. Further information from the Member that had originally posted these burials from the Cemetery Book, concludes that all three of these Eslinger family members are recorded together and inscribed on the same headstone.

So I'm pleased to say that I have linked and "stitched together" this family from so long ago. As well, I have linked together a handful of other families in the same way over the past year.

I highly recommend Find a Grave as a resource tool. Visit Find A Grave Here



  1. I love quilts and your story was very moving with the names of the family stitched onto the hexagons. I can just picture it being made with love.

  2. Hi Sue Thanks for visiting. I appreciate your comments. Definitely a lot of love stitched in!

  3. A cool analogy. I was drawn to your post by the beautiful quilt! I'm currently working on my own hexagon quilt so I realize the love and work that went in to it. (Mine will take two years to love, but that's not the point!) I also love Findagrave as a resource. Two things I love in one post!

  4. Thanks for your comment Heather. Two years - that's a lot of love! Enjoy.