Terry Mount of Wellsburg, IA, and his mother, Janice Tesch Mount of St. Louis, MO, were in Britton last week to research their family tree and took pictures of all the gravestones at the Britton Cemetery.
Mother, Son Trace Britton Connection
His mom says his interest in genealogy started in preschool, and Terry Mount spends nearly every vacation researching his family history.
Mount’s latest stop was in Britton last week where he spent four days photographing every tombstone in the Britton Cemetery. His mother, Janice Tesch Mount, who spent the first 14 years of her life in Waubay, accompanied her son on the trip and is also a genealogist.
“I think his interest started in preschool when he went to the libraries to look at censuses when they were on microfilm,” said Janice, who now resides in St. Louis, MO.
Terry, who lives in Wellsburg, IA, about 30 miles west of Waterloo, has two siblings but admits that he’s the only one that has really been bitten by the genealogy bug.
“They semi-like to hear about it, but they don’t get too in-depth or their eyes glaze over and they zone out. But my wife is very into genealogy and has taken just under 20,000 photographs of gravestones in Grundy County, IA.”
The photographs of the Britton grave markers will be posted on a web site called, “Find A Grave.” There will also soon be an index of the Britton Cemetery online that is being compiled by the City.
“We put the pictures out there so other genealogists can see their ancestors,” said Mount. “We’re doing that work for others because a lot of other people have done work for us. If you know where an ancestor is buried, you can also request on the web site that somebody take photographs.”
Terry’s Grandmother Mount began the family’s genealogy research in the 1970’s and 80’s. She compiled information in three-ring binders that she obtained by sending letters to relatives and collecting obituaries. Today, technology has totally changed the way research is done.
“I do software tech support, and when I get off work I sit in front of the television most nights and do genealogy,” said Mount. “For anyone interested in genealogy I would suggest getting a subscription to ancestry. com. It’s $129 per year, but when you use it almost daily it’s not a bad investment. There is also a free site called familysearch. org, and I use Family Tree Maker to keep track of my genealogy records.”
Mount has compiled a list of 4,600 relatives in his data base, tracing one line back to the Mayflower in 1630. His great uncle George Ford, who died on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor in World War II, was just recently identified through DNA testing. One of Mount’s ancestors was the first person to mass produce paper in America in Philadelphia in the 1670’s, and he also discovered that his stepsons and he are very distant cousins.
“A total of 4,600 is not many when you think about it, but I just keep adding to it,” said Mount.
Part of what brought him to Britton was his contact with the late Cindy (Zuehlke) Eikamp, a Britton native, through ancestry.com. The two never met but exchanged information via mails for about two years with information about the Tank branch of the family connected through marriage to the Tesch branch. The couple was married in Germany and later moved to Wisconsin before coming to Britton. Eikamp was a third cousin of Mount’s mother.
The Tesch connection is the only direct line in Mount’s family tree, but he has distant relatives among the Zuehlkes, Bergers, and Buntrocks as well.
“We found the people in Britton to be very helpful,” noted Janice. “We ran into several watering flowers at the cemetery, and at the Memorial Day program we met Norm Mack who introduced us to Kent Zuehlke.”
Connecting with living relatives can sometimes be the most difficult.
“Current people are harder to find because the last census that was released was in 1940,” noted Mount. “They do that because of privacy issues, and other than connecting with Cindy Eikamp we wouldn’t have been able to make a lot of those family connections.”
And nothing replaces making on-site visits, specifically to cemeteries. While taking photographs in Britton Mount discovered four grave markers for Tank children that died over a century ago that would not have been recorded in any census.
Mount has also visited Pearl Harbor; The Boston Library; Plymouth, MA; the largest cemetery in the U.S. in California; and the Mormon Library in Salt Lake City.
“I’ve been to Salt Lake City five or six times and they have records from all over the world. The biggest challenge is jumping across the pond, especially to German ancestors because so many of the records were destroyed in World Wars I and II.”
But it’s that challenge and interest in those that went before that keeps Mount always looking for more branches on that family tree.
“I have a sciatic problem that bothered me a little during the four days of taking pictures at the cemetery,” concluded Mount. “But so far I’ve never come up with a reason to stop.”