Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meet Jeannie Miyama, Author of "The Northern California Graveyard Rabbit"



The seventy ninth in a series
featuring a member of the 
Graveyard Rabbit Association



JEANNIE  MIYAMA



I’ve always been history buff.  It was my favorite subject when I was a kid in school.  But it wasn’t until my dad casually mentioned that my aunt has visited their birth father’s grave that I became interested in my own history.   I’ve heard this man’s name only a handful of times in my life.  But who was he?  What was his life like?  What began as a simple curiosity has now turned into one of my greatest passions in life: genealogy.

And so I began researching my dad’s paternal side.  A few months into my research, I received a picture of my grandfather’s gravestone; it is a simple flat stone on which is carved:

WILLIAM R. VAN SICKLE
IDAHO
PVT INFANTRY
WORLD WAR II
JUNE 19 1916
DEC 5 1948


I didn’t know that my grandfather had been in the Second World War.  It turned out that dad was also unaware of this fact.  It was in that moment that I realized there is a lot to be learned from cemetery research. 

My own family research has dried up over the years, but unwilling to give up my passion, I’ve turned it into a way of helping others.  I’ve seen a lot of gravestones over the years and I’ve discovered that cemeteries often provide a bit of personal information about an individual or a family that often does not exist in other genealogical records.  I’ve found out information like whether or not a person was religious, had a sense of humor (I’ve seen some, dare I say, fun gravestones), if a family had experienced a great deal of loss, and the relative wealth of a person or family compared to others in the area.  This kind of information helps paint a picture of a person and their family.  More than just providing a name and a couple of dates, gravestones are a way of saying, “I was here and my life mattered.”

I want to take this opportunity to thank Sheri for welcoming me and kindly offering to feature my blog.  I hope I do you and the other Rabbits proud.






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