Friday, November 7, 2014

Episode 473 of "I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good!"

I posted 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 45: #52 Ranslow Smith (1805-1873) today, and noticed that I knew where Ranslow Smith was buried, but that I didn't have a gravestone photograph.  I did have a source from a cemetery inscriptions book I found at the Family History Library for Empire Presbyterian Cemetery in Andrew County, Missouri.

So I thought to myself - "maybe I can request a photograph of the gravestone!"  Of course, I should have thought of that years ago after I found the cemetery inscriptions book.

Then I thought "hmmm, I wonder if there already is a memorial for Ranslow Smith?  I'll check Find A Grave!"

Of course there is!  Here is a screen capture of it:

The gravestone itself is magnificent.  It is a true monument to Ranslow, the father of my second great-grandfather, Devier J. Smith.  There is an iconographic hand with the index finger pointing upwards. The inscription reads:

Farewell My Father
Ranslow Smith
Feb. 16, 1873
67 yrs 7 ms
& 5 dys

This truly tells me something about Devier J. Smith.  I believe that he was very devoted to his father, and appreciative of him.  Ranslow and his wife, Mary Bell, adopted Devier at an early age in Jefferson County, New York between 1839 and 1842, and Devier grew up in the Four Mile Inn in Burnett, Dodge County, Wisconsin.  Devier ran the livery stable of the Inn as a teenager and that led to his career as a livery man, a horse trader, a land speculator, and snake oil salesman.

 The Find A Grave memorial for Ranslow Smith was added in July 2014 by volunteer Gary Hurst, and credits the Andrew County Historical Society for the photographs.  I found that there is an Andrew County cemetery website, with links to photographs of gravestones, at  That is a wonderful help for researchers in this county.

I looked for a memorial in this cemetery for Amos S. Vaux (1854-1876) and found it in the same cemetery:

Like I always say, "I'd rather be lucky than good!"  This happens to me often, it seems.

Someone more famous said "Luck is the residue of design..." and I agree with that too.

The lesson learned here is:  Check your favorite genealogy data providers on a regular basis for new records of your ancestral families.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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