Okay it’s time for another lesson learned by me! Actually I think it’s two lessons learned in the grand scheme of learning.
I started off on The Evergreens Cemetery website. I wanted to see if their database was updated enough to include some of my Moores.
I’m using the information that was handwritten on the back of this cemetery deed. I actually have two deeds to this cemetery lot. One is the original from 1896 when William H Moore‘s wife passed away. The next is when ownership of the deed transferred to Mary J Moore, William’s daughter in 1928. The handwritten notes are on Mary’s copy of the deed.
It was when I finally found Mary’s record, that I came to my first lesson learned. I had assumed that whoever wrote the notes on the back of the deed, had written the dates down as death dates. That was where I went wrong. What I think is that whoever wrote the notes (my great grandparents most likely), went to the cemetery, and got the information from them. Now I know, that the cemetery lists Mary Jane Moore‘s (first mention of her middle name too!) burial date as May 21, 1940. This happens to be the same date written on the back of the deed.
Lesson 1: Don’t assume anything about dates written down by another person.
Lesson 2: Cemeteries are in the market of knowing BURIAL dates, not death dates.
Okay, so I learned three lessons. After realizing my mistake today, I had an epiphany. I was always blessed when other localities would look for my records in the whole month. Obviously, they knew subconsciously that I’m not good with dates.
Lesson 3: Repositories are not required (rightly so), to do your research for you. Therefore, if you give them an exact date. They’re only going to look for that exact date. If they are nice enough to search the whole month, then you’re very lucky. If you’re not sure about the date your are requesting for your record and you’re not doing the searching yourself; then I would say it’s okay to go ahead and be vague about the date of the record. Not every place requires an exact date. Most just require a month and year.
If I had learned these lessons when sending away to New Jersey for my vital records, I might have actually gotten records in return for my money. Instead, my William H Moore request came back to me, unfound, because unbeknownst to me, I sent away for the date of his burial, and not his death. Oops!