Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Unexpected Finding of Amanda Swift

In search of my grandmother, Annabelle Swift's grave site in the Tulot Arkansas Grave Index, I learned that the graveyard had been vandalized. Tombstones had been overturned and broken and the area had been overgrown with weeds. Only a few markers had been able to be salvaged by the recovery efforts of a university in Arkansas. My grandmother's was not one of them. Knowing that I would not be able to find any kind of physical marker to represent her resting place was a great disappointment. It meant that my plans to take my mother there as a surprise visit to see one had been ruined. I wanted her to lay her eyes on the tombstone of her mother, who had passed away more than 70 years ago, when she was just two years-old. In my failure to find a grave marker for Annabelle, I came to realize that the all had not been lost. I did not know at the time that Annabelle's grandmother had been buried in the same grave yard, until I unexpectedly found a picture of her broken headstone on a website for the graveyard. The name on it was Amanda Swift. She is my great, great grandmother. I discovered the picture a few months ago. It was an incredible uncovering, but it was only one part of a great, great find, as I found out later there was more to come.

At the time I found the picture of Amanda Swift's headstone, I wasn't completely sure that was even my great, great grandmother's name. Nor did I have any idea of how she looked because I had never seen a picture of her. That is, until a couple of weeks ago. That's when I received two more unexpected pictures from a newly introduced relative. One was a picture of her grandfather Henry Brown's obituary. The name Amanda Brown was listed on it as his mother. The relative confirmed that Amanda Brown had later married Joe Swift and became Amanda Swift. The other picture she sent put an image with the name. It was a picture of Amanda.

The opportunity to find my grandmother's grave may be lost forever, but at least in my search for it I verified another branch of our family tree. I also found out
how my great, great grandmother looked and I, along with other family members are pleasantly amazed to see how much she and my mother resemble.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing story of hope! And what wonderful photographs. The problem of cemetery vandalism among African-American cemeteries is a national disgrace, and I am sorry that it affected your family as it has so many others. But the surprise of Amanda Swift - what a gift. Keep telling us what's happening!!!