GEORGETOWN, Ill. (WCIA) — Years of hard work paid off in an historic way for one family, thanks to the descendants of Daniel and Anna Kyger.
The couple came to Vermilion County just five years after it was settled. It’s a fact their distant relatives recently celebrated.
Usually, when people gather in cemeteries, it’s to honor someone who just died, not someone who died more than 160 years ago. But, that’s exactly what they Kyger family did.
It’s been more than 160 years in the making. The descendants of Daniel and Anna Kyger honored their ancestors with a new headstone in McKendree Cemetery.
“We figured it wouldn’t be too many more years you could identify them.”
The couple moved to Vermilion County in 1831. It’s a fact Nancy Michael discovered in her years of research. She brought the fruits of her labor to the family reunion afterward.
“John Kyger, the son of Daniel Kyger, is my direct ancestor.”
She’s been nailing down the branches of her family tree for about 40-years.
“My kids used to love it because we’d go out to the cemeteries all the time.”
“I think it’s good to know your past. It’s what we are today.”
Meanwhile, replacing the headstone was a priority for Frank Kyger.
“Well, probably ten years ago, I would have said it wasn’t important, it wasn’t worth spending a couple thousand dollars to get done.”
But, for the last five years, he’s been collecting donations from family to make it happen.
“We wanted to mark the place that they settled so we could remember and, centuries after we’re gone, people come back and say, ‘There is our family.'”
Nancy Michael says it’s important because you can learn a lot from your past. It can even tell you about your future.
“It tells you where you’re going today. I think it’s wonderful and you meet so many nice people.”
Many descendants still live locally, but the Kyger family is all over the country. Some came to the reunion from Missouri.
Daniel and Anna Kyger moved to Vermilion County in 1831. The family started the old Kyger Mill. It was used for grinding flour and sawing wood until about 1900. The Kygers got married in 1796 and had 13 children.