Week 17: #52Ancestors – Cemetery
By Eilene Lyon
This may strike you as a strange project, but I never claimed to not be weird.
There is this little cemetery in Dexter Township, Codington County, South Dakota, where I am related to a vast majority of the “inhabitants” in one way or another. Note that the church that originally stood here was destroyed by the tornado I wrote about in my last post.
In 2006, the Watertown Regional Genealogical Society put together a series of documents on some of the county’s rural cemeteries, including the Dexter Cemetery. Using this wealth of information (it really is great stuff), plus additional information I’d compiled from a variety of sources, I decided to do two things to commemorate the people buried there.
First, I photographed all the grave markers and added everyone to Find-a-grave. I was a little peeved at myself after getting home to Colorado and finding that I had somehow missed getting a picture of ONE grave. She doesn’t seem to be related to anyone else and I think her burial must be in another part of the cemetery (most of the graves are clustered on the west side and much of the land is vacant).
Then, I took all the data and created a public family tree in Ancestry so I could show how most of the people were connected through blood or marriage. There are a handful of people who I was not able to link up with the rest (though one or two do have a connection, but rather distant). Cousin Earl Drake, who was responsible for the sign and who did loads of family history research is the “Home” person on the family tree.
I also had to add some people to the tree who are not buried in Dexter to make connections. They are the people who have an asterisk after their names. The best way to use this tree is to pull up the list of all names (175 total), select one of interest, and then click through their family ties to your heart’s content.
(Note: This is not a tree intended to list all of the family members for any particular person. It is just to show connections between the people buried in Dexter Cemetery)
Mable Pearl Cutting and Ernest Guy Tresselyn Halse, my great-grandparents.
William Painter and Elizabeth “Betsy” Self, my 3rd great-grandparents
Article about Earl rescuing the cemetery: Earl Drake and the Dexter Cemetery