Genealogy Field Trip - Day 1

At 8 o'clock on Thursday morning I set off for some much needed "me" time. I wanted to arrive at about 10:00 in Bath, NY and get right to work in the county historian's office.

The drive was fabulous as always - not that the weather was that great, it was actually snowing as I began to drive through the rolling hills of the souther tier. But I love this part of my state. If it weren't for the fact that it's so far.....out there...away from civilization as I know it, I'd consider living there. But such as it is...it's my place to get away and try to "get in touch" with family roots.

The day was productive. The county historian had records that I had not had access to before, so new information was found - things I had no idea about. So it was an exciting day, even if it (like always) led me to an entire new set of questions.

After an early dinner, I decided to check out the Bath National Cemetery. After all, I was done with my scheduled plan for the day, so why not? I knew that I had no ancestors buried there, but I'm always up for a drive through a cemetery. Just ask my kids - all 3 of them have been "trained" well to point out each & every cemetery that we may come across in our day-to-day travels.

I followed the signs and the road curved to the left until I came upon a brick gateway. Crossing a small stream via an old iron bridge, before me loomed the entire VA complex - hospital, admin, nursing care facility, etc...all brick buildings, all of them very reminiscent of Civil War era architecture.

Following the signs for the cemetery, I drove through the one-way streets, noting one particular gentleman as he crossed the street in front of me. Dressed simply in sweats, no coat to cover him on this chilly April day, and on his head, a camouflage Army cap. I wondered about this man as I drove along. I wanted to know his story and what had brought him here. Regrettably, that story will be left untold.

Eventually I turned a corner and found the brick pillar announcing that I had found the entrance to the cemetery -

My "normal" tradition upon traveling through a cemetery is to just go where I'm led. Sometimes I'm drawn to the small graves of infants. Sometimes I'm drawn to the large, ornate headstones. Today, I just drove...

How could I narrow down to a few select stones to photograph and transcribe? Here were thousands of men and women that had done more, fought more, and braved more than I probably ever would in my own life. Every single one of them deserved to be remembered and preserved. So I continued to drive along in silence, a bit taken back by the rows and rows of stones surrounding me.

As I left, I knew I'd return here again - maybe even before I leave this area to return home.

Yes, Day 1 of my field trip was a very good day.

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