Family Story Friday – John Hendrickson & the Cemetery Search

This blog post is one in the series, Family Story Friday. I hope it inspires you to begin saving family stories one-at-a-time. If you don’t save the stories, who will?


Oldphoto of man with a beard

John Hendrickson, my gg-grandfather was born in Kentucky on July 16, 1822 and passed away on July 19, 1906. He is buried in the Reed Cemetery, near Harrisonville, Missouri.  On December 31, 1843, he married Lydia Ann Hatton in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Indiana.

My Aunt Helen Hjetland owned this photo or photocopy, which was in an album originally owned by my grandmother. She made me this copy, just wish it were a little clearer. I remember, as a kid, looking through the album and thinking that John looked really scary! I think it was the eyes!

The Cemetery Search

I had read on an old microfilm that John was buried in the Reed Cemetery near Harrisonville, Missouri. I had no idea where the cemetery might be. But thanks to the wonderful genealogy folks in Harrisonville, John’s grave was located in the Reed Cemetery, which is on farm property. The cemetery was terribly overgrown with tombstones knocked over and waist-high weeds.

John’s tombstone had fallen into a furrow, which was found and uncovered.


This is me, brushing off the dirt.

Woman in red jacket and red cap at a tombstone

His wife and infant child’s tombstone were overturned nearby.

tombstone fallen on the ground

Finding this cemetery and the tombstones was one of my best genealogy days ever.

Have you had days like this?

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