mirabilia

[mee-rah-bil-i-ah; English mir-uh–bil-ee-uh]
plural noun, Latin.
1. marvels; miracles. 1)

Every once in a while in your genealogy research, you run across something that surprises you, or almost astonishes you. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it makes you sit up and take notice.

What I’m talking about is when you find something, and you didn’t really have much to do with finding that something. For example, a few months ago I visited a cemetery to take a photo of a tombstone. The baby was born and died the same day. I had researched it on Find-A-Grave, but what I didn’t check was the size of the cemetery. She was buried in that cemetery according to her death certificate, but she wasn’t listed on Find-A-Grave.

When I arrived it was much bigger than I thought it would be, even tho it was way out in the middle of nowhere. The weather wasn’t very suitable for tromping around in a cemetery for a couple hours trying to find her. There was heavy rain and I had no umbrella. So without even thinking about it, these whispered words came out of my mouth as I turned into the cemetery, “Marie, if you want me to find your burial spot, you’re going to have to help me.”

I turned into the first drive (there was more than one), and slowly drove along as I studied the tombstones for their age. She died almost 20 years ago, so I knew it had to be in a newer section of the cemetery. Where I turned in appeared quite old, so I headed towards the back. I kept going until I came to the end of that drive, and choose to turn left (I could have turned right as well, or turned at any of the other drives I passed). Now I’m driving slowly, looking left and right, trying to read names, but not being able to focus on them very well due to all the rain on the car windows.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a stone on the right, and somehow, even tho it was it flat on the ground and 4 rows away, I thought I saw a Precious Moments baby angel on the memorial. I stopped the car, jumped out and ran over to check. Sure enough. It was her! I was ecstatic to think in less than a minute I had found her.

After I had taken a few pictures of the tombstone, I realized no one had decorated her grave. I had thought about this possibility a few days beforehand, but in my rush to get there, I’d forgotten to get some flowers. The fact that this little baby girl had no decorations on her grave saddened me. It almost seemed like that fact meant her life didn’t matter. And her life DID matter.

I glanced around, trying to think what I could do. I noticed a ways back, there were little purple flowers blooming under a fence by a corn field. I ran over to see how easy it would be to dig one up and place it in front of her grave. It really was just a wild flower, which I was sure would continue to grow if it was mowed down. Many of the other tombstones had them blooming around them. I checked in my car, and sure enough, I still had the little shovel I had used on my g-grandfather’s grave a few days previous. So I grabbed the mini-shovel, dug up a plant, and planted it in front of her grave. I was sure with all the rain we were getting, the little plant wouldn’t have any trouble growing. Then I grabbed a quick pic of her tombstone with the flowering plant in front of it.

baby-tombstone 2)

My feet were drenched, my shirt was soaked, and I squished when I sat down in my car! But my small accomplishment gave me such happiness to know that there was something by her grave to let her know that someone was there, and cared about her brief life.

Call it serendipitous, a miracle, or an accident, things like this happen every once in a while. What confirmed it for me was the next day, the word mirabilia, appeared in my word of the day app.

Coincidental? Perhaps not!


1)mirabilia. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mirabilia (accessed: October 19, 2016).

2) info blurred to protect her living family members

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