My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Should Have Looked in my own Backyard First

Imagine working in Washington, DC for twenty years, then moving hundreds of miles away, only to discover that two generations of your ancestors were buried in Washington.  Then imagine finding out that an ancestor is buried 35 miles away, even though he died a thousand miles away.  These amazing discoveries are among my favorite stories, and they are both sentimental to me, I still feel the excitement when I found out.  It just shows events can be solved in the strangest is the good luck way.

Last Sunday, I posted the Longest Obituary I've Ever Seen.  To spare you from reading it, I will say, there is no mention of a burial site in that obituary.  So I assumed the person was buried in the Chicago area, after all, that is where he died.  And, since I was now in the Boston area, I figured I might never find out (not having internet and all, in 2000).  Fortunately, I soon thought to check out the obituary for his wife, and in the smallest of print, it stated she was buried at Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts (maybe 40 miles from me)! Seems, she had moved back to Massachusetts from Illinois, after her husband's death.

The next day, as fast as my fingers could dial the cemetery's phone number, I held my breath and asked if there was a Frances Poole buried there.  "Yes, there was" well as her husband (of the long obituary).  Seems his body was brought back to Massachusetts from Illinois.  It was early enough in the day, that within an hour I was at the cemetery and the office assistant gave me a wonderful detailed map.  Not only were my gg-grandparents buried there, but also his parents.  For years, I still get sentimental about this discovery.  They came home to be buried in the family plot.

I returned to the cemetery several times, once armed with a large box of candy for the assistant, as she had gone way out of her way to give me access to the records. And boy did this cemetery have records.  Turns out I have quite a few other direct ancestors buried there.

About the same time as the discovery above, I found out that my gg-grandfather was buried in Washington, D.C.  Well, this was winter, and I was in Massachusetts, so a trip would have to wait.  During the waiting time, I wrote and obtained a map and records of my two generations buried at Rock Creek. (Copies to be shown on Tuesday.)    This proved to be smart, as it is a huge cemetery, a map was a necessity.  Of course, you know the story, I either didn't have enough film or forgot the camera, either way, I had nothing to show for it.  However, my third cousin lives in Maryland, and in the following winter he went and took photos for me.

For the entire time I worked in DC, and I never knew they were buried nearby and to top it off, my gg-grandfather worked at the Dept. of Interior, right smack across the street from where I was working, at the DAR.  Looking down from above, I think he had a good laugh at my expense.

So in closing, I am going to look in my own backyard to see who is buried there.


mjhellman said...

Barbara. I just love your story about finding where your gg grandparents were buried. It is so thrilling to finally find an ancestor's resting place.

Thanks for sharing this great story.


Carol said...

AHHHH ya, in our back yard. Me too this week! This is a great story.

Michelle Goodrum said...

I love this story.

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

I love your story!!! And I've realized recently that I've not done the 'normal' genealogy work on my family here. The documentation, the paper work, like I should. Why? Because we live here, and we know who these people are, and where they are buried, and what funeral homes they used. but if I get busy, and write it down now, then someone else won't have to 100 years from now, maybe, if I can leave a big enough paper trail.

Loved your story!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you Mary, Carol, Michelle and Sherry for your comments. I'm glad you were able to understand what I was trying to say and what the message is. I did too much assuming, and I was wrong.

Kathy said...

What a wonderful find!

Liz said...

I live in Southern Calif. & haven't thought much about cemeteries out here b/c most of my relatives are in Louisiana. I knew a cousin or two came out here in the 30s, but they're buried a few hours south of here. I was reading about this line recently & found a few of my 3rdish cousin's siblings also lived in the town where I am now! And THEY aren't buried a few hours south, but um, a few MINUTES south of me, as in a few blocks down the street at Forest Lawn. (!!!)
So I think I'll go visit them as I doubt they have other La. relatives out here. Or maybe they do, who knows?
Small world, isn't it? :)

Barbara said...

Thank you Kathy for your comment. Liz, what wonderful news, isn't that close to you. To me, 3rd cousins are a close relationship. I'm very glad for you. Thank you so much for writing.