Geocaching Reveals Lost Ancestors

Danny and Laura "Cachn'Zoom"

A race to find a newly published geocache uncovers a century-old piece of family history. Laura and Danny geocache under the name Cachn’Zoom. The experience helped the husband and wife team from North Carolina connect family ties back to earliest days of the United States of America.

Laura and Danny know geocaching introduces them to new sights, experiences and friends.

Laura says, “I have met some wonderful new adventurous friends since I started caching. I’ve been rappelling, rock climbing, hiked for miles and miles, gone on ‘geo-road trips’, and seen more waterfalls in the past year than I have in the past ten years!”

But nothing could prepared them for a recent cache run on a newly published historical series of geocaches. Laura says it all started with a competitive flair. Laura writes, “I am notified when new caches are published. I don’t always make a mad dash for the FTF (First to Find), however on this day Danny and I were able to head out to try and beat a few of the ‘FTF hounds’ in our area. Gotta keep them on their toes!”

She says they had already claimed a couple FTF’s when they arrived at a cache in the series called, “Adam Cooper – Long Ago But not Far Away – Fairview.” The team wouldn’t claim an FTF on that geocache.

According to Laura, “Upon our arrival, we noticed our good buddy RobinMohawk already there.  He had just signed the log and re-hid the cache and enjoyed watching us finish the search. Just as I was replacing the cache, I heard ‘Mr Cachn’Zoom’ say ‘I don’t believe it.'”

Danny by headstone of his ancestor

The geocache is hidden with permission near the burial site of a pioneer settler, Adam Cooper. Danny was exploring other tombstones when Laura says, “Danny proceeded to inform us that he had found the grave of a distant ancestor, John Lanning – a pioneer.” Lanning had died more than 170 years ago. Danny also found the marker for Lanning’s wife,  Sarah Whitaker.

Laura says, “When we returned home he verified the discovery with the genealogy report of his family.  John Lanning is my husbands ‘great, great, great, great, great grandfather’ and Sarah Whitaker is his ‘great, great, great, great, great grandmother’, on his mother’s side of the family.”

Ruth, Dare2Geocache, placed that geocache. She says she discovered some local heritage as well, “I had a blast researching our local history to create both the Fairview and the Spring Mountain historical series.  We have so many “local treasures,” as I’m sure most communities do.  [They are] places that people pass by daily and never know exist, or they never know the details that make these places so interesting.”

The story of Danny and Laura’s family discovery spread fast. She says, “Most folks are amazed and are surprised to learn we located this while ‘geocaching’.  We would have never located this without geocaching.”

The couple just returned from vacation and are already playing catchup with local geocaches. Laura says, “Thanks to all the geocachers who keep this adventure going and growing!  There were at least ten new caches published in my area while I was away for a week!”

Laura and Danny do not expect the discoveries to stop any time soon. She says they’re looking forward to, “hours and hours of more fun and adventure!”