January 30, 2012

The Hunt for Ancestors in Bluegrass Country

Tim and I arrived in Kentucky yesterday and drove through mile after mile of beautiful countryside on our way to Versailles.  Here we visited with Angela, Jane’s sister, and the last of the Caporelli clan that we would meet up with on this trip.  I never would have guessed that we would have the opportunity to catch up with the entire family.  Seeing Angela and her friends Liz and Lisa was so much fun, and we talked and laughed over drinks and dinner.  

Angela and Tim
Versailles is a historic town just west of Lexington, Kentucky, in the heart of Bluegrass country.  This morning, Tim and I explored two-lane scenic byways lined with incredibly beautiful thoroughbred horse farms.  There is no place like this anywhere, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful regions in the country.  The horse farms are lined with picturesque, dry stone walls and mile after mile of black wooden fences.  Huge barns set in manicured fields are visible in the distance. 

Expansive Horse Farms
Barns to House the Thoroughbreds
Scenic Byways Lined With Stone Walls and Fences
Beautiful Stone Walls
Miles and Miles of Fences
I could have wandered around Lexington all day, but we had things to do, namely, search for some of Tim’s ancestors.  Thomas Hill was one of Tim’s ancestors on his mother’s side.  Hill settled in central Kentucky in the eighteenth century, and he and many of his descendants are buried near Springfield.  We couldn’t start our search on an empty stomach, so we had a great lunch in Springfield.  The chicken and dumplings and the pie were simply divine!

Chicken and Dumplings, Stewed Tomatoes and Green Beans
Coal Miner's Pie
We visited St. Rose Catholic Church hoping to find family headstones in the church cemetery.  Unfortunately, St. Rose never kept records of where individuals were buried, nor did the church ever map the graves.  So, we just started wandering through the cemetery in search of the name “Hill.”  We did find several members of the Hill family, although not necessarily the earlier generations.  The older headstones throughout the cemetery were beautiful, but it was sad to see the condition of many of them.  Too many are broken, and the names on others are illegible.

St. Rose Catholic Church
Three Hill Family Headstones
We then went in search of the house built by Thomas Hill’s youngest son.  Although Tim had a good description and what seemed to be good directions, we were unsuccessful in our search.  A search for another cemetery at St. Ann’s Church was also a bust.  It was pretty discouraging to come up short.  Maybe we’ll have better luck tomorrow.


  1. Thanks for looking. I will probably never get a chance to go there. I will be able to get more patriot by studying my geneogy some more. Love A

    1. A, We really enjoyed looking through the cemetery. We'll show you the photos of the headstones we did find when we see you in California. Sarah

  2. I have a good friend from Versailles- I had no idea there was a Caporelli there! You are getting awfully close to Nashville...

    1. Jenny, You never know where you might find a Caporelli! Yes, we are getting close to Nashville and can't wait to see you. Sarah

  3. You know, Tim and I have cousins living in the Vesailles/Lexington area (Greenman side). Hope you find something today. Anyway, I've driven those beautiful roads through the horse farms too. Picture postcard perfect! :-) LV

    1. LV, It seems like there are Greenmans everywhere! I'm so glad that you've had the opportunity to drive through horse country. It's hard to describe how beautiful it really is. Sarah