Woman finds answers to family puzzle from the air

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 5, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A small plane eased into the Sunday sky carrying passengers hoping to collect another piece of the scattered puzzle of their family tree.

Thompson, currently living in Dallas is an only child and was born into a family that is no longer around. Now Thompson studies genealogy hoping to fill the unanswered void of exactly who the people who contributed to her makeup actually were. Taking pictures of the cemetery grounds holding most of her relatives was their destination.

&8220;When I was born my parents were old enough to be grandparents,&8221; Thompson said. &8220;I was a surprise, I guess, and now my parents are dead and that&8217;s the reason I like studying my ancestors so much.&8221;

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Tim Cupit, Thompson&8217;s uncle is the only living relative closely related to her mother&8217;s side of the family who is still living, making him a valuable source of insight and love, Thompson said.

&8220;When she started with genealogy, she just fell in love with it,&8221; Cupit said. &8220;We have found people in the archives we didn&8217;t even know were there. I just wish we had started thinking about this 30 or so years ago.&8221;

Thompson and Cupit have worked hard to improve Oak Grove Cemetery in Bude, she said.

Hoping to enable themselves and others like them to have an easier way to find relatives buried there, was their goal. Cupit recently constructed a 10-by-10 grid with fishing line on the one-acre plus cemetery to help in creating a map detailing the names of people buried there and their locations.

&8220;We recently drew the grid telling where every marker was, but that wasn&8217;t detailed enough,&8221; Thompson said. &8220;A large percentage of my family is buried out there and I want to know where every marker is and allow other people to without having to walk the whole thing.&8221;

Currently, people visiting the cemetery have a map showing locations of the markers, an alphabetical list of names of those buried in its grounds and soon will have an aerial photograph showing the exact layout of the cemetery, which is viewable in a wooden display case at the cemetery.

Thompson&8217;s envisioned finished product has already been done on the other side of her family spurring the idea to complete the task for her side. Information such as when her relatives were born, married and what happened to them are what Thompson&8217;s genealogy work has expectations of uncovering.

&8220;I&8217;ve been interested in genealogy ever since I was small. I think of myself as an amateur genealogist,&8221; Thompson said. &8220;You have to be sort of a genealogist to like cemeteries and now with the Internet it&8217;s not hard at all.&8221;