52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Same Name

Until about twenty years ago the gravel roads in Burton had simple names. The Jaegers lived on County Road 12. The Mayers lived on County Road 12. The Dubes did as well. But everyone knew where everyone else lived. My mother Jeanette Zemanek shared how she and a friend would write letters during the summer and each had the same mailing address: Route 2, Burton, Texas. Despite everyone having the same mailing address, the mailman, school bus, delivery truck, and so on always arrived at the correct physical address.

As society became more interconnected and people living on Route 2 began relying more on people unfamiliar with country roads, it became necessary to give the roads names. In general, road names were taken from the surname of the family who owned the land bordered by the road. That’s how we ended up with roads named Jaeger, Klatt, and Eckermann.  What I find interesting is that some of the roads are named after the closest cemetery, such as Mayer Cemetery Rd and Latium Cemetery Rd.

Rural cemeteries serve as a sort of “phone book,” detailing who lived in that area at a certain period. Similarly, the country roads provide a reference as to which families live or have lived in an area. Like the names etched into the tombstones, these road names will remain long after the rest of us are gone.

cemetery screenshot

Leave a Reply