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Family History is Hard, Hang in There

It can be quite frustrating not to find physical proof or documentation of an ancestor. Sometimes you feel like you are trudging among the leftover rubble. I have certainly had my share of missing details about where several of my ancestors are buried. It took me over ten years to find this marker of my 2nd great grandmother, and I had help along the way.

According to oral history, the grave marker of Jane Smith Johnson was supposed to be in Fairview Cemetery. My family had a reunion in Greenwood many years ago where they remembered seeing it. No evidence of this marker existed in the cemetery at first.

No one in the family has been able to produce a photograph taken on their visit to the cemetery. All I had to go on was their oral account from the reunion. I decided the best step to take was to search to see if she had a death certificate. I searched using the name Jane Johnson (Andrew). I could not find a death certificate.

I did find her on the 1920 or 1930 Census' which led me to believe she had passed away sometime before 1920. I did not know she had remarried after her husband, Andrew died. After I discovered the name of her new husband, James McCoy, I did discover a death certificate for Jane McCoy.

I learned that she died on May 28. 1919 in Greenville, South Carolina. What perplexed me though is the fact that the death certificate shows that she was buried in a cemetery in Greenville, not Fairview Cemetery in Greenwood.

So, what was I to make of the account of my family seeing her grave marker in Fairview Cemetery in the Johnson family plot? It was not until the history of another descendant of Jane was shared with me. He surmised that Jane had two identical markers in two different cemeteries. He concluded that she is not really buried in Fairview but that the marker there was just a memorial to her.

At any rate, the first actual physical evidence to me that she existed was found the third week of June by Greenwood County Library Volunteer, Jim Ravencraft. It was lying on the ground in the Johnson family plot like so many other damaged headstones that hopefully we will repair after we tackle all the overgrowth.

Learn more about Fairview Cemetery.

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