Thursday, January 29, 2009

Etched in Stone

Just because something is etched in stone, doesn’t mean that it is, well, “etched in stone.”

Take for example the case of the Good Family Marker. On August 15 1979, the marker was unveiled at the Flat Rock Church of the Brethren’s Homecoming Sunday service. The church, located in Forestville, Virginia, included the unveiling ceremony in its program that Sunday morning. The marker read:

In Loving Memory of
William Good 1737 – 1806
And Wife Maria Snavely 1740 -1831
Early Pioneers of the Tunker
Brethren in Virginia And Descendents.
Erected by William Conrad Good
And Other Descendents

A lovely sentiment to be sure, but unfortunately the death date for Maria was wrong. Maria’s grave marker, which was located on the original family farm, was still legible when it was read by D. Saylor Good, a descendent, on December 29, 1903

The marker was in inscribed in German.

Hier Ruht Marie Guth. in Sie ist Gestorben Augst den 10, 1822. Ald 82 Jahr 1 Monat 6 Tag.

Roughly translated it said, “Here lies Marie Guth, Died August 10, 1822. Age 82 Years, 1 Month and 6 Days.”

The death date is confirmed by a will that was proved October 7, 1822 for Mary Good, which can be found in the Shenandoah County Will Book M, Page 94.

The story, which was told by June Hulvey in her book, “The William Good Family,” does not say how the error came to be, but clearly a descendent reading the marker and going no further, would come away with an incorrect death date for Maria.

That incorrect death date might lead someone to overlook Maria’s will. It might lead to confusion on just who Maria’s children were, and in effect, it might change the history of a family. Mistakes happen on markers. They happen in obituaries. And they even happen on death records. Whenever possible, it is always good to keep digging, even after you have found your prize, just to confirm the accuracy of your find.

The marker, which originally rested on the property of the Flat Rock Church, was moved to the Flat Rock Cemetery about a half mile away.

Flat Rock Church of the Brethren

Flat Rock Cemetery

That is where the fifth Great Granddaughter of William and Maria Good found it, when she went looking for it in 2005. Incorrectly inscribed or not, it was still a thrill to find this monument of my family’s heritage.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

Hulvey, Velma June Good. The William Good Family, Revised Edition (Stephens City, Va., Commercial Press Inc.), 1996.


Scribbler said...

Can you tell me anything about the children of William and Maria? I am particularly interested in daughter Mary. Some information I found said she married Jacob Beery and moved to Ohio. Do you know anything about her?


Sorry, I haven't done anything with William and Maria's children. I do know that there was a daughter named Mary mentioned in his will. No spouse for Mary is mentioned at that time. However, it could just be that she was not married yet. Good luck in your search.

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