I had requested photos of the graves of my 5x Great-Grandparents, Thomas and Rachel Albea, some time ago on FindAGrave.com. I very quickly received a photo of what was left of Rachel's stone. It consisted of the top portion of her stone, which contained only her name, encased in cement. There was no response regarding Thomas' grave. After more than a year, I deleted the initial request and re-posted it, which sent out new emails to volunteers. I was very excited to receive an email announcing that the stone had been photographed, only to be disappointed when the photo was of another Thomas Albea (a hundred years too young!). It seemed that my Thomas Albea did not have a headstone. But I wanted to find out for sure.
So what's a genealogist to do? Plan a vacation around visiting the cemetery of course.
With my mom, I drove 268 miles to the Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Harmony, Iredell, North Carolina. There I found this picturesque church and cemetery:
The cemetery wasn't large, but of course the stone for Rachel Albea was in the last corner of the cemetery that I looked in. The photo that I had previously received on FindAGrave.com made it much easier to find the correct grave. I was then able to take my own photo of Rachel's grave:
I then looked around for Thomas' grave, which apparently two volunteers had already been unable to find. Don't know why... it was the stone to the left of Rachel. It was hard to read, but it was the most likely choice. It took a minute to decipher, but there he was. And it had a strange yellow moss on it which, when gently brushed away, made the stone easy to read (maybe not as much in this photo, but in the closeup photo it's great).
Sometimes you just have to do it yourself. And to commemorate the effort: a photo of me and my ancestor's grave.