Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: Beyond Serendipity

The small Miracle of finding Jacob and Levina

If you're squeamish about miracles you might want to skip this may be tempted to "believe".

On my very first genealogical expedition back in 1998, my husband, daughter and I left Florida and after stops in Tennessee and Kentucky we finally arrived at our end destination in Henry Co., Indiana. We had several cemeteries on our list and on Saturday I was to meet my cousin Doug with whom I had corresponded about genealogy over the past year but hadn't seen in person since I was a baby. On Saturday morning we left the motel early so we could stop for a short time at the Glencove Cemetery in Knightstown before heading over to Newcastle to meet my cousin. I was eager to find the tombstones of my maternal third great grandparents Jacob N. and Levina Leonard Newby.

No one was at the office of the cemetery so we had to start looking on our own. We knew they were buried in the old part of the cemetery so we drove to that section. Daughter Hallie decided to sit it out in the van and so my husband Mike and I split up and started the search. He took the western edge under the trees on the other side of the road (top of the framed section in the picture below - click to make larger) and I started walking the middle section.

Overview of Glencove Cemetery - screen capture using Google Earth and Jing

After just 20 minutes or so I realized how short our time was getting and I definitely didn't want to be late but I couldn't stand the thought of leaving that cemetery without finding Jacob and Levina. So, halfway down a row I suddenly stopped in my tracks and I prayed a short prayer something like this: "Lord, you know who I'm looking for and you know how much time I have, please help me!" As soon as I said this I looked back over my shoulder and my eyes fell on a stone about 25 stones back and 3 to 4 rows over. I couldn't possibly read it from that distance but I pivoted around and started making my way to that stone. I heard Mike yell "Whaddaya doing?" and I just held up my hand and kept going, never taking my eyes off that stone.

When I found myself standing in front of the tombstone of Jacob N. Newby and Levina's stone right next to his, my knees went weak, and yes...the hair on my arms was standing straight up. I was really thrilled to see those stones but I was deeply overwhelmed with the real miracle that had just happened. There was no doubt in my mind then or now that God himself put me in front of my ancestors. This was a confirmation of what I'd always believed too...that God honors genealogy. I already knew that because of all those "begats" in the Bible!



  1. Have had a few of those experiences myself, the Wild Ones believe that they will be found at the right time, in their time, when they want to.

    I found the grave of my great great grandfather in much the same way. After having some difficulty finding the cemetery, we parked, got out, I walked directly to the back of the cemetery in a straight line while Man took the left side. I literally walked right to the stone, less than 1 minute out of the car.

    Nice post, thanks!

  2. I'm a believer. I've stood in a cemetery and said similar prayers before and then found exactly who I am looking for. I believe that our ancestors sometimes like to lend us a hand! I'm betting others will comment with similar stories!

  3. What a huge cemetery, so you were indeed lucky, or somebody was watching over you. Very glad you found the stones. I also like how you captured the cemetery photo to your blog, I'd like to do that, when I learn (so I might be writing you again).