The Last to Die

As you may already know, I visit a lot of cemeteries and I read a lot of grave markers.

I try not to make assumptions about the deceased based on the information on their headstones.

For example, sometimes the memorial lists more than one person.

I never assume a relationship between the people listed unless the marker clearly states “husband” and “wife” or “father” and “son”.

But sometimes everyone listed was born so long ago I can’t help but assume they couldn’t possibly still be living.


Forest Hill Cemetery Madison Wisconsin

And when just one person is missing a date of death I can’t help but wonder, were they the last person in their family to die?

6 thoughts on “The Last to Die

    • An easy assumption to make for sure! But as genealogists, we must seek to prove or disprove our theories.

      One example in a tree close to home; a much loved great-aunt was the last of her direct line to die. Her niece by marriage took it upon herself to clean out said aunt’s home, destroying all the documents/photos she found. As the great-aunt was hers only by marriage to her late husband, said niece didn’t contract with the cemetery to inscribe a date of death on the headstone. Unless someone less related pays for the inscription, the headstone will remain as is.

      One of my daydreams is to win the lottery and update/repair all the headstones that weigh on my mind. The list grows every time I visit a cemetery.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now that I have been graving for a while, the thing that amazes me is how many people have no tombstone of any kind – their graves are unmarked. Was there no money left? Was this the last person in the family? Didn’t anyone care? At the very least I think everyone deserves to have their grave marked. With my lottery winnings I have a long list of tombstones I want to buy.


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