April 6, 2013

Serendipity Strikes and a Tombstone is Found

Serendipity Strikes and a Tombstone is Found
Photo I took in 2009 of Elizabeth Bell's Tombstone
My brother's DNA results on 23andMe.com had many suggested "cousins" but after writing to two of them, one came up a winner! It turns out we share a 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Bell, who came from Cheshire England to Arkell Ontario Canada around 1831.

We have been happily sharing information and pictures for the last few days. Chris, the wife of Gerald who shares Peter Bell with my brother and I, has an amazing story which I want to share. In 2007 Chris and Gerald took a trip from the USA to Ontario, specifically to Arkell to look for the graves of Peter Bell and his wife Elizabeth.

Peter's tombstone is near the front entrance of Farnham Cemetery and was easy to spot. But there was no sign of a grave marker for Elizabeth Higginson Bell. As Gerald walked across the lawns, he stumbled on a rock buried in the ground. He was struck by the shape of this rock so bent down to have a good look.

You know what's coming - it was one corner of a tombstone that lay buried. So Gerald got out his pocket knife and began digging. Lo and behold it was the tombstone for Elizabeth, wife of Peter Bell.

She obviously wanted to be found. And because Gerald dug around that tombstone and uncovered it, it was there for me to see when I went to Farnham Cemetery for the first time in 2009. I had no idea that I had Gerald to thank for being able to view my 3rd great grandmother's headstone from 1855.


5 comments:

Celia Lewis said...

What wonderful serendipity, Lorene! Meant to be, indeed.

Cory said...

Love the story!!!

CallieK said...

Amazing! I have a similar story- I went to Scotland last summer and met up with some distant relatives whom I'd connected with via Ancestry. They took me to the kirk where our ancestor was supposedly buried but they had never been able to find the gravemarker. I wandered away and spotted a gravestone deep under a tree and as luck would have it, it was the missing ancestor's! When my relatives puzzled why they'd never noticed it before I told them our ancestor was waiting for me to be there with them to reveal himself!

Mariann Regan said...

My goodness, look at what DNA results did! Connecting you with a relative from a 3rd GG is fairly awesome, and it sound as if DNA was the only way you could have done that. It's almost scary.

I like the way you say that Elizabeth "wanted to be found" -- she wants to join this emerging family with all these connections. That's kind of a scary thought, too. But also exhilarating. Congratulations on your find. Lorine!!!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Celia, Callie & Mariann - I do believe in Serendipity. There are some things that just can't be explained any other way.

Cory & Mariann - it's been lots of fun finding out new info from each other! Chris has a photo of a sampler done by my 2nd great grandmother's sister in 1829! That opened up a whole new avenue of thinking for me - picturing the sisters sitting and doing their embroidery at ages 13 or so. And of course me longing to see what my direct ancestor did!

Callie did you get shivers in the cemetery when you spotted the tombstone? I would! Great story