Monday, February 14, 2011

Meet Jennifer Bawden, Author of "Dancing in the Gardens of Those Gone Before"

The seventy sixth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association


I'm so honored to be asked by Sheri Fenley to have my blog featured here.

My interest in cemeteries began very young.  My parents and I would go for drives on Sunday in the nearby Land Between the Lakes.  What cemeteries hadn't been moved with the building of the dams on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers remained a remind of life during a long forgotten time.  We'd pack a lunch and visit these old cemeteries as well as the abandoned homesites in the area.  My interest was further sparked when visiting old family cemeteries in Iowa and Illinois.

I started working on my adoptive family's genealogy in 1990. This seed was planted by the family story that one branch was descended from John Howland on the Mayflower.  That wasn't true, it was his brother, but I digress.... Two years later, I was reunited with my birth family.  When I drove to East Kentucky to meet them, it was like "coming home".  I'd had a pull to the Appalachian Mountains all my life and suddenly, it all made sense.  As I worked on my birth family's genealogy, I found even more reasons why it made sense.  My family was woven in and out of the counties there since before Kentucky even was a state.  They'd come in from Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

I was on the bandwagon in the early days of KYGenWeb.  I originally hosted several counties, eventually settling down on a few.  Offline issues had to take me away from hosting them, but genealogy and cemeteries always held my heart.  I am now working with the Estill County Genealogical and Historical Society on their website. I'm also working on my own, which is a constant pain as I keep changing how I want to do things!

My favorite place in the world is the Hoover Cemetery, located on Barnes Mountain in Estill County, Kentucky.  This old family cemetery has at least 200 graves, quite a few of them unmarked.  Located on a ridge behind the old family home place, it holds the remains of 5 generations of my family as well as their friends.  Sitting under one of the few trees on a warm summer's day, it doesn't take much imagination to hear the ancestors speaking to you.

I've had several occurrences of "genealogy serendipity" in that area and can't help but wonder if the Old Ones are helping me with my journey.

Come visit my blog and learn more about the cemeteries in that part of the country.