Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: William Faris

Here you see two photos I took of my earliest born ancestor whose burial place I know. William Faris was my 5th great grandfather. Since he was 84 when he died in 1818, he would have been born about 1734. He and his wife are buried at Stone Church Cemetery in Elm Grove, WV.

When I first started working on my genealogy in 1996, I started out with some printed trees and reports that my cousin Russell had sent to my dad. They included information Russell had collected from our aunts, uncles and cousins about their living families, and some information that Russell had added to a genealogy program that came from a family genealogy created by our grandfather's cousin back in the 40s & 50s. I entered everything into Family Tree Maker (version 3, I think) and started searching the internet. I soon found Genweb, and scoured the postings on the Ohio County, WV site looking for family connections! One of the first cousins I met online was Jane Carson Topoly. She is related to me by blood through our Brown ancestors, and also connected by marriage through the second marriage of our ancestors, William Faris (son of the man whose gravestone you see here) and his second wife, Elizabeth (Irwin) Carson. Elizabeth and her deceased first husband were Jane's 3rd great-grandparents.

Jane was a huge help to me in learning how to research my ancestors and she pointed me towards where I could find out more about them. I was soon able to find out more about William Faris' parents and located their burial place. Another distant cousin sent me photographs of the graves. It wasn't long after that when I was able to visit their burial place. I used a film camera to take pictures in 1998, and when I visited again in 2005, I used a digital camera. Just this summer, I went back again and got the newest view that you see to the left. I do not know who provided the new bronze marker for William Faris, but I am very grateful, especially since it's obvious that his original sandstone marker will eventually disintegrate. I noticed new markers on many Revolutionary War graves there.

You can see the entry I created for William Faris on Find a Grave here.

Another great resource I have found is a book called Eight Generations of the Virginia Branch of the Faris Family in the United States of America. It is a compilation of information about the descendants of William and his wife, Dorratha (Johnson) Faris that was collected by my distant cousin, Nellie L. Flack. She published her book sometime before 1919. While I was warned that there are some errors, I found it to be very accurate in showing my particular family line. And when it comes to looking for ancestors, aren't we all just looking for a nudge in the right direction so that find original sources and make our own conclusions?

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