I called my mom one weekend to ask about her maternal grandfather. My online research had not revealed anything, and I hoped that she could provide some missing links. The U.S. Census takers seemed to have skipped his home – which was surely in the middle of nowhere – for a few censuses, so my great-grandfather and his family were not listed. Unfortunately, my mother knew nothing of his side of the family. I found that to be strange since he was a major male figure in her life after her father died of cancer when she was just a teen. I called my grandmother three times, and she never answered the phone. Without even thinking, I grabbed my purse, camera, and phone, and headed out of the door. I was about to do one thing I said I would never do alone.
On a warm November morning in Louisiana, I drove about an hour to the middle of nowhere to find evidence of my great-grandfather’s existence. Our family’s cemetery is out in an area that no longer has a name. Cemeteries are creepy in general, but this one is way off the beaten path on a gravel road surrounded by woods. It’s a place I earlier said I would never go alone, but I insisted on getting some information to move forward with my genealogy research. I could only recall being there twice, so I navigated there based on years-old memories since Google Maps couldn’t offer any assistance.