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Off track

The trip to Illinois was interesting and productive, however quite a bit different than I had planned.  My goal was to further research on the Ash line but as we were on our way to Illinois Mary Lou presented me with a wealth of information on the Fitzjerrell side of the family from Betty Sue.  From that point on most of our time spent in Litchfield, IL was focused on finding the graves and published biographies on the Fitzjerrell’s.

            Our first stop after breakfast on Saturday was the Roberts cemetery in Honey Bend, IL.  The Roberts cemetery is home to many Ash family members in particular Elijah Ash, the earliest documented Ash relative.  Unfortunately for us the Roberts Cemetery has been designated a savanna area and the tombstones are now over grown with brush, thickets and brambles, not indicative of a natural savanna but that is another discussion.  We braved the overgrowth of flora to find Elijah’s tombstone and the tombstones of several children of Tabitha and J.W. Ash.  We left Robert’s cemetery and proceeded to a more maintained cemetery in Honey Bend, we did not find any Ash’s or Fitzjerrell’s there but have since been informed they are there and we must have not seen the tombstones.

            We next spent some time in the genealogy research room of the Litchfield public library.  There we found some biographies of our Fitzjerrell’s in various county histories; these have provided a wealth of information.  We then found a record of Tabitha E. Fitzjerrell’s tombstone in the Cass cemetery.  After a quick lunch we headed out to the farmlands of Montgomery County to find Tabitha.  The map took us right up to the edge of a field surrounded by woods.  Pat hiked a couple of four wheeler trails looking for the cemetery.  After about an hour he found the cemetery and off we went in to the woods!  The hike was an arduous one and the recent rains only complicated the trek.  We arrived at the cemetery to find an even more overgrown cemetery than the Roberts cemetery earlier that day.  After about an hour of taking pictures and trying to decipher well warn tombstones we headed home. 

            In the week since the trip I have poured over the information and added the pictures and data to the website.  As with most genealogy trips I now have more questions than answers.  I am planning a solo trip to Springfield as soon as school is out, my goal is to research several county histories and cemetery records for the Ash, Fitzjerrell and Behen families.  With school being out I can take my time and let the research plan my trip. 

            The Behen side of the family has also yielded new information this week.  I received Nellie Stanton Spence’s death certificate.  Nellie was Elizabeth (Libbie) Stanton Behen’s sister.  Nellie’s death certificate confirms her birth place as Adrian, MI; same as Libbie and her mother’s maiden name as Raycraft.

            That’s it for now, there has been a lot of new information added and I am sure I made some mistakes entering data, please let me know of any errors in spelling or dates.  I will let you know how my solo genealogy “vacation” trip to Illinois goes.


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