CLICK HERE FOR THE FAMILY TREE!

 

I first became interested in genealogy a few years ago. It started when I found a letter from my grandmother that I thought I had lost years before. In the letter, she named  numerous relatives. Out of curiosity, I did a couple internet searches and turned up a few hits - mostly stuff like obituaries - but I was surprised to find anything at all.

Over the next couple months, I kept searching - expanding my search to include names found in those obituaries. I looked for familiar names in online cemetery listings and genealogy message boards. Before long I had an account at Ancestry.com and was spending countless hours adding names to my family tree and emailing other researchers.

During a visit to Alabama in 2003, I discovered my grandmother's scrapbooks which had been left in her house and forgotten after her death. Full of photos, newspaper clippings and miscellaneous papers spanning the 20th century, her memorabilia provided a wealth of answers as well as new questions.

But her original letter, while short on details, had clues I never would've found anywhere else. Without that letter, none of this would've happened.

One of the most delicious mysteries of the letter was the mention of a family cemetery that had been lost for decades. My grandmother remembered visiting it as a child in the 1920s, but upon returning in the 1950s she found the area overgrown with trees and was unable to locate any grave markers.

She left enough clues in the letter that I was able to locate the old family homestead in eastern Alabama - land the Meachams had lived on for almost 100 years before losing it during the Depression.. The house is long gone, but there are still traces of the old homestead visible in aerial photographs.

One of the oldest graves in the Meacham cemetery is that of my  gggg-grandfather, Andrew R. Meacham, who died in the late 1850s. His wife, Disey (Britt) Meacham, was buried there in 1900. In fact, Disey's death certificate is the only record I've ever found of the Meacham Cemetery outside of my grandmother's letter.

I believe their son, James Shadrack "Shade" Meacham, was buried there in 1901 . Shade was my ggg-grandfather. His little brother, William, was also my ggg-grandfather...but we'll get into that later.

In August,  2005, I made a trip to Alabama to get a first hand look at the property. I was able to find remnants of the house, ghosts of old roads, century-old oaks that had swallowed barbed wire fence and a small number of graves.

I'll be moving to Alabama in late 2006 and hope to start an in-depth survey of the land in early 2007. I figure it would be best to wait until deer season is over before I go wandering around in the woods again. (I look terrible in orange.)

I am currently in the process of adding more stuff to this site - especially photos. If you have any questions, corrections or information of your own to contribute, feel free to contact me at Jackie at RanchoSpenardo.com.


Jacob McDonald "Mack" Overton & Isabelle (Bowen) Overton with their grandson Jacob Vernon "JV" Carr

William Oliver Carr in uniform during World War I

Andrew Columbus "Lum" Mitchum
John Karr
Vesco, Marie & Ozora Mitchum