One of the best experiences I had while I was in Michigan was to visit the family cemetery with my dad. I had done all this family history in the fall, and I also shared that with my dad. Apparently, my dad's great-great grandfather moved from the New York area and settled in this little farming area of Southwest Michigan in the late early 1800s. Others of his family came also - enough to warrant a cemetery named after them (The Austin Cemetery). I think it was also on part of their land. There were more of my dad's family in the cemetery than he knew about. It was great just wandering around the headstones looking at dates and names and making connections.
There is a huge pine tree in the cemetery - at least a hundred years old - and all kinds of pine cones scattered on the ground. I wanted very badly to gather some graveyard dirt, but I didn't have the time to create the relationship necessary. I didn't want to rush it. I can only imagine that graveyard dirt from a cemetery that holds the remains of your ancestors is powerful indeed. I didn't get that opportunity. But I did pick up a couple of the pine cones. It feels like a respectable compromise. The tree grew there with the spirits of my (albeit adopted) ancestors, and I am the fruit of their lives. So, I have graveyard pine cones instead of dirt. But they will be a welcome and powerful addition to my altar.