I had a great time interviewing my grandfather over the 4th of July weekend. He didn't open up about his life as much as I hoped he would, but he did share some things with me I'd never heard before (which wasn't hard to do because I haven't heard much).
One of the things I asked him was about my heritage on his side. He's 50 percent German and 50 percent English mutt. :) He laughed at me when I asked him if he remembered his parents names and how to spell them. (In hindsight, it probably was a silly question to ask, but he is 90 after all.) His dad's name was George Henry Butts and his mom's was Matilda Franciska Riemenschneider. What a mouthful!
I started snooping around on the internet after he left to see if I could come up with some more family history - a long shot, but why not give it a try. I searched for his parents' names and then town where he was born - Litchfield, Illinois - and low and behold, I got some hits!
The most fascinating to me was what I found on findagrave.com (hence the 'Somewhat Morbid' title). Not only did I find pictures of his parents' (my great-grandparents') headstones, but ones for my great-great grandparents and my great-great-great grandparents! How cool is that?!? Hours before I hadn't even known who they were really and all of a sudden I was looking at their graves in Illinois! Here's a link to my great-great-great Grandpa Riemenscheider's grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=23723633 His name was John Riemenschneider and, according to family stories, he used to split logs with Abraham Lincoln!
Apparently someone bought a family plot in the cemetery years ago and that's why they're all buried there together. Grandpa's little sister Helen Elaine is buried there too. She died when she was just 6 days old according to her headstone (Grandpa said she was 6 weeks old, but memory fades with age right?). I still wonder why she died or if the family even knew why. Grandpa didn't know or remember.
I was so excited to find the graves of my "great" family members I went looking for some from the other side of my family. Sadly, I couldn't find any. My dad says he knows where his grandmother is buried just down the road in Los Altos, but her headstone didn't show up. Perhaps I should go visit and take a picture to submit to findagrave.com.
I apologize for the somewhat morbid topic, but maybe it will inspire you to do a little searching of your own.