Not long ago I took a genealogy field trip from my home in northeastern Pennsylvania to Allegany County, New York, following the Appalachian ridges to the hills of my ancestors, great-great-grands Ira and Serena White Sayles. A wonderful thing happened on the way back south – I found Serena’s hometown, Whitesville.
What I Found Between the Hills
In a preparatory internet session I had found an index for the Whitesville Rural Cemetery, which had not included my third great-grandparents, Samuel S. and Nancy Teater White, Serena’s parents and founders of this hamlet. So on my way into town, I just drove by the gates of the meticulously maintained grounds. At the other end of Main Street I parked and snapped a photograph of the beautiful town signage, returned to the car and promptly went right back down Main Street the way I had just come. Why? A nudging from the past?
I drove into the cemetery, about thirty yards, and parked. The tombstones were old here, lichen and moss gently adorning the rock, and my sense was that I had reached the burial grounds of my ancestors. I stepped out of my car again, camera slung over my shoulder, and pointed it at a neutral object to get a light meter read on the gray, overcast fall day. Turning, I approached a magnificent stone:
I found my peeps!
Or maybe, they found me.