Tombstone Tuesday – Lessons Learned from a Cemetery Visit

I stumbled upon this post from 5 years ago on my first blog … still good advice!

I was in Pittsburgh over Memorial Day weekend with my family and we decided to make a few cemetery visits. My oldest son had been on “cemetery hunts” with me before, but my husband and younger son were on their very first trip. We took a ride out to Prospect Cemetery in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania to look for a few collateral family members from my BURD family that I had found on Find A Grave.

We found the first two headstones fairly easily, but were having trouble finding the last couple of names. I guess I should also mention that even though it was the end of May, it was about 50 degrees, overcast and windy, and we had not packed for lengthy time outside (oops!). My sons and I ran back up to the entrance and found a map of the cemetery and confirmed that we were searching in the correct section. We went back, but could still not find anything.

My oldest son suggested that we go back to Find A Grave (thanks to smart phones!!) and search for the name of a neighboring stone that should be in the same section to make sure we have the right area … or that maybe there was a typo on the website. We confirmed a few names around where we should be, and still nothing. We took another step, and finally found two tiny stones in the grass — we could only see first names!! I wish I had taken a few more “before” pictures because the story continues!


Find A Grave lists a Margaret, Helen and “Annie?” Burd as being in this section. Well, we had found two of the three, so we were happy. I snapped the above picture and then started clearing out the grass along the edges to get a better picture. My younger son noticed some letters above Helen’s name, so we kept pulling away the grass. Guess what we found?? The two stones were actually one broken stone (or two pieced together) with all three names on it!


When we originally found the two little stones, all we could see were the whiter areas on the picture above – just the names and dates. We also found that the center name was not “Annie”, but “R. J. Jr.” These are the children of Robert J. Burd and Minnie Roenick, descendants of my third great-grandfather, Alex Burd.

By the time I went back to Find A Grave in June, a new photo had been posted with the full tombstone. So what did we learn on our cemetery visit?? Besides bringing lists of names, double checking online data, finding cemetery maps, and dressing warmly??  We learned that we should bring a small shovel and some gloves … you may need to dig out a stone or two along the way!