Michigan woman devoted to family’s Illinois burial ground

Marta Hepler Drahos has written an article (mLive.com/Associated Press) about a woman, Lauri Gartner, who is from Michigan, and how her genealogy research led her to taking care of a cemetery in Illinois where members of her family are buried.

Located in rural Drury Township in Rock Island County, Ill., the cemetery was overgrown with weeds and long abandoned when Gartner first saw it. Much of its original 2 2/3 acres had been plowed under.

Still, “it was the most peaceful place,” she recalled. “I just vowed right then that somehow I was going back to fix it up.”

In 2001, Gartner returned to the area to work. After hacking her way through 6-foot weeds, she scrubbed tombstones with water and a brush, made a crude map of the cemetery and researched records at the state library.

Good article on folks doing what needs to be done. Somebody needs to set something up on a national scale – identifying cemeteries “at risk” that need to be cleaned up and preserved. There are a lot of people like Lauri, but not enough. Local genealogy societies are the perfect place to raise these issues…..

Leave a Reply