10/14/2006

Cowsill Geneaology

This is the headstone of my great great great great grandfather, Daniel Igou (dad's side of the family). My dad's cousin found it in Missouri and took this shot. My grandma left Missouri as an infant, when her family moved to Stockton, California. Daniel Igou (who by coincidence shares my birthday) was born in 1795 and lived to a ripe age of 75. The location of the site is in Hopewell Baptist Church Cemetery, north of Tipton, Missouri.
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In Taiwan, people observe a one-day holiday in the spring called "Tomb Sweeping Day." Taiwanese do so by visiting the tomb of their ancestors to tidy it up, burn some ghost money, ghost cars, ghost sofas, ghost TVs and any other ghost goodie they can think of (which can all be used in the ghost world). Last year, we got up at dawn and went up to Beitou in the mountains north of Taipei to pay respects at the tomb of my wife's grandpa and great aunt. It wasn't what I had imagined the tomb would look like. Their ashes were held in a locker inside a mausoleum. My father-in-law climbed up a sliding ladder (like they have in old personal libraries) and opened the locker so we could see the urns for a couple of minutes. They had photos on them so we knew which one was which. It was very early in the morning, but the mountainside was still thronging with filial Taiwanese. Now that I think about it, I realize it was really "a first" for me, as I have never visited the tomb, grave, etc. of a relative.

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