Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Atkins-Hawkins Tombstone

Tombstones can be a genealogical gold-mine. They may provide the only concrete evidence of a person's birth and death date. They often tell us what relationships the deceased had; we have all seen tombstones inscribed with "Mother" or "Husband." If the relative appears to be a "dead-end" in your tree, these few words can help propel us further into our research as we may not have ever known that the ancestor was even married or ever had children.

Even though relationships and vital dates are often provided on tombstones, a woman's maiden name is often not provided. If our ancestors didn't get married in the legal sense (and we know it happened more than we like to believe), and was from a relatively ordinary, poor farm family, a woman's maiden name may never be discovered.

I am fortunate enough to have a couple of grandmothers in our family (one on my side, one on my husband's) who are exceptional at providing dates and names in photographs. I obtained this photograph from my husband's grandmother. It is of her grandparents' tombstone. Besides providing the actual birth and death dates of each individual, it also states her grandmother's maiden name. This kind of addition may not necessarily provide definitive proof of the wife's maiden name, but it provides a clue and may be the very detail needed to continue with the family research.

Thomas Milton Atkins and Della Hawkins Atkins final resting place in
Motlow Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Campobello, South Carolina

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