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Kathleen

Definitely a Small World

Like all genealogists, I am always searching things for familiar names. It could be newspapers and obituaries or even my families Facebook pages. When I finally got my Grandpa Moore to clear out his closet in Columbus, I was absolutely ecstatic. I was even happier when he let me confiscate what was in it. Police Chief’s granddaughter humor there. There were boxes of things in that closet. More than I thought I would ever be able to go through. I even thought I would have to weed some of it out. I had heard stories of grandparents saving things that weren’t exactly important. I haven’t thrown anything out though, because apparently my great-grandparents were amateur genealogists. They saved all the right things at all the right times. I have so many amazing records, I could just cry thinking about it. It makes me wish I had known them. Technically I knew Grandma Llewellyn, but I don’t remember her since I was so young when she died. I know I would have loved her though because through these objects she kept, I know that I would have spent a lot of time talking about the past with her. I am just so grateful that my Aunt Lori loves talking about it so much, because it is the next best thing.

Imagine my surprise when I’m going through all these things that have sat in a closet for over 30 years, and I find the most amazing thing. Not even something for my father’s side of the family, but my mothers.

smallworld

You see, my great-grandpa William was an accountant for AT&T in New York City for over 30 years. This man loved to keep records of everything, from bibles to various kinds of account booklets. I can even tell you what my parents telephone number was in 1977 because Great-Grandpa had everyone’s addresses and phone numbers in a book. The pictured book is basically a calendar book with these testimonials on the other page. What you see above is Mrs. R. T. Webb talking about her ailments. My Great-Grandpa didn’t know Mrs. R. T. Webb but I sure do. She’s my 3x Great Aunt on my mother’s side of the tree. She is the sister-in-law of my 3x Great-Grandfather George Washington Webb.

smallworld02It really is a small world folks.

When to Change the Spelling on a Name?

One of the problems I still struggle with is when to change a spelling for one of my families. Usually it’s not an issue. 90% of my families stay pretty consistent. There is that other 10% though. My latest example being the Featherson/Featherston family.

I first became aware of the Feathersons on my great-grandparents marriage certificate.

0284-CliffordHerbertRedford-MR
New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics & Registry, marriage certificate 4422 (1923), Redford-Parkin; New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton

My 2x great-grandmother’s maiden name on this record shows Jennie Featherson. Now in indexes, it usually comes up as Peatherson just like Sutcliffe usually comes up as Putcliffe. I really believe that is an F on this record.

Once I had her maiden name, I tried searching for her in a census. I knew then that Jane Parkin was born in 1896 and since the 1890 census is gone I have to go father back than I would normally like. I tried searching in the 1885 New Jersey State Census and came up with nothing after trying many spellings.  That leaves the 1880 Census. I should also note that I found John Walter Parkin, his wife Jennie, and their 4 children in the 1900 census. That means I have an estimated birth date of Jan/June 1875 in Pennsylvania.

William Featherston, 1880 Census
1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Baltimore County, Maryland. Baltimore city, enumeration district (ED) 33, p. 546-A, dwelling 94, family 106, William Featherston; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 498.

I was a little surprised to find my closest match living in Baltimore, Maryland in 1880. It might seem like a jump, but putting together the evidence, maybe not so much. Jennie Featherston is about 5 years old and born in Pennsylvania. Her mother was born in New Jersey as were her parents. This is a nice fit, but how can I prove this is my Jennie? Featherston and Featherson are close enough. Then I got an idea to check a city directory. I thought maybe if I found William Featherston/Featherson in the city directory and his name was spelled without the T, then that would help my case.

William Featherston, 1882
John W. Woods, Baltimore City Directory, 1882: 289; digital images, Ancestry http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Apr 2016.

Strange enough, I couldn’t find him in 1880, but kept checking and finally found him in an 1882 Baltimore City Directory. It looks like the T is still sticking to his name though. This means I need more records, and more instances to compare. So I sent away for the marriage certificate of Jennie Featherson and John Walter Parkin.

0310-JohnWParkin-MR
New Jersey State Archives, marriage certificate (1891), Parkin-Featherson; New Jersey Division of Archives & Records Management.

Well, this 1891 marriage certificate just confuses me more. Here I have Jennie Featherson, born in Philadelphia, USA (NEW CLUE!), her father is listed as William Featherson and her mother as Jennie with no maiden name. That doesn’t exactly help my case either, since the 1880 Census of William Featherston has a wife named Anna. I just have more questions. Are these the same families? Are they different families? Is Anna a second wife and Jennie a first wife? There is a gap between William Featherston’s second and third child, plus a change in location. That could be a gap where his wife died. It was about this time where I remembered that I had Jennie and John Parkin in 1900 with their four children and it should list the birthplaces of her parents.

John Parkin, 1900
1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Essex County, New Jersey. Newark Ward 11, enumeration district (ED) 113, sheet 12-A, p. 12-A, dwelling 172, family 248, John Walter; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 966.

Please forgive the surname on this record, the family is listed as having a surname of Walter, which is John’s middle name. If I pay attention to just Jennie though, I notice her father was born in England and her mother in New Jersey. Okay, so my 1880 Census couple the Featherston’s might still be a fit. Also notice that Jennie named her first-born daughter Anna.

It’s at this point that I realized I’m going to need more records than what I now have. Really, I could always use more records. Before I could decide to add this couple into my tree as Jennie’s parents, I just needed a little more. I went to FamilySearch.org and checked their catalog. They’ve had so much added recently, I thought I might try to see what they have.

Anne Featherston, 1875It turns out they have a Philadelphia City Births collection! Just what I needed… I guess. There is a perfect fit for Featherston, if my 2x great grandmother’s name was Anne. However, if you look over my previous records, they could use Anne or Jennie as a nickname of the other name. Or maybe they are still 2 different families.

It also doesn’t help that between 1900 and the 1905 New Jersey State Census, I lose my 2x great grandmother Jennie. I am assuming she died because John is living with his mother and their children are living in what looks like a children’s home. By 1910, John is also gone and the kids bounce around a lot. The Featherstons and Feathersons both disappear as well. It is obvious more research is needed.

If this turns out to be the right family it is surely enough evidence to change the name in my database from Featherson to Featherston. The question I have though, is how much evidence do you wait for before changing the spelling of a name in your database? Except for the two marriage records, all other spellings of the family name is Featherston. Yet, the more solid resources, vital records, give the name as Featherson.

William Richard Parkin

October 9, 1841

William Richard Parkin was born in Sheffield, England to parents, John and Mary Parkin.

December 19, 1841

William was baptized at St. Peter & St. Paul Cathedral in Sheffield, England.

Note: I know this only from a parish index, so I need to see the actual record for more information.

March 30, 1851

John Parkin‘s household was recorded in the 1851 England census. The family is living in Ashton Under Lyne. John Parkin is record as being a brushmaker and  33 years old. His birthplace is listed as Sheffield. John’s wife Mary is recorded as being 34 years old and her birthplace it Retford, Nottinghamshire, England.  William Richard Parkin is recorded as being 9 years old and going to school. This census also lists his birth place as Sheffield.

Note: It is a little funny that William Richard Parkin’s mother might be born in Retford, England and then his grand-daughter will marry a man with the last name Redford.

about 1860

William Richard Parkin joins the British Army. I counted back from his discharge papers. It listed his time of service as 11 years and 70 days at least.

April 24, 1864

William Richard Parkin marries Ann Maltis in Hampton parish, Middlesex county, England. W. Ballard and Ellen Geary are witnesses. William lists his residence as Hampton Court and Ann lists hers as Surbiton. His father is listed as John Parkins, brushmaker and hers is listed as William Maltis, carter. Marriage Record

0318-WilliamRParkin-MR

between 1863 and 1865

My 2nd great grandfather, John Walter Parkin, is born in Cheshire, England. I am still tracking down his birth registration. The only reason I know it might be in Cheshire is because of the 1871 England Census. I will just have to pony up and get each record that is close until I find the right one. 😉

April 1870

William‘s second child and only daughter, Mary Ann Parkin, is born in Kingston, Surrey, England.

April 2, 1871

The 1871 England Census is taken. Ann Maltis-Parkin is recorded living with her parents and her twin sister Elizabeth in Kingston, Surrey, England.  Her children John Walter Parkin and Mary Ann Parkin are also living there. William is not listed in the household.

3846-WilliamMaltis-1871

May 16, 1872

William is discharged from the 12th Lancers. I don’t quite understand the record I found in the Chelsea Pensioner Discharge book, but I know he was a private, and most likely in the 244th Regiment. His date of application was May 6, 1872, and date of authority May 9, 1872. His character is listed as Fair. His amount of service towards G.C. Pay and Pension is 6 years, 9 days. His amount of service towards completion of limited engagement was 11 years, 70 days. I will be researching what all this means in the future.

October 4, 1872

William‘s third child, William Maltis Parkin, is born. His birth is registered in Chorlton district, Lancashire, England. John and Mary Parkin were living in Chorlton at the time.

December 29, 1872

William and Ann’s son William is baptized in the Cathedral and Parish Church of Manchester, England.

0321-WilliamMParkin-BR

October 6, 1874

William, aboard The Republic, arrives in New York City at Castle Garden. He lists his age as 33 and his occupation as laborer. Passenger List

December 1874

William‘s fourth child, Joseph B. Parkin, is born in England. There are too many Joseph Parkin birth registrations for me to know which one is his. For this purpose, I used his estimated birth from the 1900 United States Census.

July 26, 1875

Ann Maltis-Parkin, John Walter Parkin, Mary Ann Parkin, William Maltis Parkin, and Joseph Parkin arrive in New York City at Castle Garden. They arrived on The Republic, the same ship William arrived on the previous year..

June 14, 1880

William R Parkin and his wife Ann are counted in the 1880 United States Census. They are living in East Orange, Essex County, New Jersey on Sterling Street. William is working in a sand paper factory. Living in the house are 4 children, John Walter Parkin, Mary A Parkin, William M Parkin, and Joseph Parkin. All kids are listed as being born in England.

August 2, 1881

William Richard Parkin dies in Bloomfield, New Jersey at the age of 39. According to his death certificate he was sick for about a year. He was also sick with bronchitis, but his cause of death is listed as phthisis pulmonalis or Tuberculosis. He was buried in Rosedale Cemetery.

1885

In 1885 New Jersey took a state census. This is the first census of any kind since William’s death. In Newark’s 11th Ward, we find Ann and the four children with a bit of a surprise.

1885njstatecensus

In this record we have Ann and the four children I am sure about. The surprise though is the two girls at the bottom. Mary Parkin and Jane Parkin. When I click on them it gives their age as four and under. I think I’m going to have to take some serious time to analyze this record, maybe even see if I can order it from the Archives. Ann always gave her number of children as 4 living, 4 born, so these two girls are a mystery to me, especially since it didn’t seem that William Richard Parkin had any siblings.

Records to Find:

  • William Richard Parkin‘s birth and baptismal records. Sheffield has an index online, but I need to see the real record.
  • John Walter Parkin‘s birth record, maybe baptismal too.
  • William in 1861 and 1871. He could have traveled with the military, so I will have to look deeper into those records.
  • Joseph Parkin birth record.
  • Any birth, marriage or death records for Mary and Jane Parkin to see who their parents are.

Records to Order:

  • Mary Ann Parkin‘s birth record. Kingston, Surrey, England.
  • William Maltis Parkin‘s birth record. Chorlton, Lancashire, England.
  • The 1885 New Jersey State Census record for Ann Parkin.

William R Parkin and Ann Maltis marriage

William R Parkin, Ann Maltis marriage

Since I will be posting a timeline of William Richard Parkin on Friday, I thought I should post his marriage certificate on here as a little teaser. I recently got this in the mail from England and was very excited to jump back another generation. This record taught me a couple of things I didn’t know and confirmed some things I suspected.

  1. I had suspected that a John Parkin, brushmaker, from Sheffield, England was his father and I think this helps sway me in that direction.
  2. I was absolutely surprised when the certificate came in and it was for Middlesex county, Hampton parish. As you can tell it was registered in Kingston, Surrey, England where Ann’s family lived.
  3. William’s occupation of being a private in the 12th Lancers was another surprise. Where I know him from in America, he was a stone cutter and worked in a sand paper factory.

That’s all for now! I don’t want to give too much away before Friday. 😉 Plus I need to update my database website with the new info.

Brief Website Makeover

Hello all, just dropping in quickly this morning to say I’ve refreshed my database website with a new look. I am recovering from a 3 day migraine and just could not take the bright colors I used to love.

websitescreenshotI made sure to leave in links to everything that had links before. Now I just need to keep updating it so it has more current research on it. The only major re-design that would happen to either this section or the database section is when I learn more coding. 🙂 That’s going to take a little time though, so this design will probably be around a while.

I will hopefully be back later today with an actual genealogy update or record at least. Then Friday, I will be posting another time. This time for William Richard Parkin.

SNGF: My 2nd Great Grandparents

Randy Seaver has a new Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post up! Since all my housework is done for the day and the house is settling down, I decided to jump in on this one and see how it went.

The mission is to list my 16 great-great grandparents with their birth year, their death year, and their lifespan. It should be interesting to see how they vary or if they vary at all. I’m going to list them as they go right down my pedigree, in fact, for fun here is my pedigree. 🙂

Kathleen's Pedigree

You can see their dates up there but I am going to type them anyway.

  1. Robert James Moore Sr. (1871-1925) 54 years old.
  2. Mary E. Johnson (1873-?) She died between 1910 and 1915, so between 37 and 42 years old.
  3. Lewis Thorward (1875-1946) 71 years old.
  4. Jennie Viola Love (1876-1960) 84 years old.
  5. Herbert Redford (1872-1940) 67 years old.
  6. Sarah Ann Sutcliffe (1873-1924) 51 years old. I found her headstone but not her death certificate.
  7. John Walter Parkin (1863-?) I think he died between 1905 and 1910, so between 42 and 47 years old.
  8. Jennie Featherson (1875-?) I think she died between 1900 and 1905, so between 25 and 30 years old.
  9. John Harmon Mays (1842-1927) 84 years old.
  10. Celia Slusher (1844-1914) 70 years old.
  11. Charles Moyer (1861-1940) 78 years old.
  12. Ada May Evans (1873-1925) 52 years old.
  13. George Thomas Taylor (1863-1913) 50 years old.
  14. Mollie Jane Webb (1867-1931) 64 years old.
  15. James William Applegate (1862-1951) 88 years old.
  16. Elizabeth West (1870-1938) 68 years old.

The average lifespan is 62 years. The average birth year is 1866 and the average death year is 1933. Very interesting and I see where I need to do a little more work at too!

 

Isaiah West and the Z-ladies

For years, there has been a mystery surrounding my 3x great grandparents, Isaiah West and Zemiah/Zerurah/Zeniah/Rura Black. Thanks to a new 5th cousin connection, I have a much clearer timeline in my head for what really happened. Not to mention I want to get my greedy hands on the Barton papers in Pendleton County! My brand new 5th cousin Christy wrote up a timeline that I think makes perfect sense. That inspired me dig up some of the records to back up that theory. Great teamwork if you ask me! I want her to have the credit for the theory, because once I started reading what she wrote it made a lot of sense to me! Christy is descended through Isaiah’s sister Sallie Ann West-McClanahan, who will come into play later in the timeline. 😉

April 30, 1853

Isaiah West and Samuel McClanahan swear out a marriage bond for Isaiah and Samuel’s daughter, Zerelda Jane McClanahan.

May 4, 1853

Isaiah West and Zerelda Jane McClanahan were married in Pendleton County, Kentucky. Marriage Certificate, Marriage Register

March 5, 1856

Isaiah West and Zerelda McClanahan have a son named Henry A. West in Pendleton County, Kentucky. Birth Record

Sometime after Henry’s birth Zerelda dies (allegedly). I haven’t found her death record yet.

August 11, 1860

In Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky, the US Federal census is taken. Samuel McClanahan is recorded first. Sallie West-McClanahan is recorded right after. Living with her is a Zacariah West, age 35 and Henry West, age 5.  Right after that, John Black is recorded with his family, which includes Rachael Black, age 23.

October 30, 1861

Izah West and John F. Black swear out a marriage bond between Izah and Zemiah Black. The marriage is to take place on November 4, 1861 at John F. Black‘s residence. The marriage bond lists Izah as 30 years old, but lists this is his second marriage. Zemiah is listed as 24 years old and this is her first marriage.

November 4, 1861

Izah West and Zemiah Black are married at “her father’s house” in the presence of J. Willson, F. McClanahan and Walter Macketee. Marriage License and Certificate.

August 6, 1870

In Berlin, Bracken County, Kentucky, the US Federal census is taken. Isiah West and his wife Zeruah are counted with two children Jackson and Susan. Another child, Lafayette West seems to not be there. Also living in the household is 14 year old Henry West.

September 1, 1877

Henry A. West and Martha (McClanahan) Thornberry are selling off a piece of Samuel P. McClanahan’s land to a James B. McClanahan. Further cementing Henry A. West as Samuel McClanahan’s grandson. This is the final reference I have to Henry.

June 1880

Isaiah West and Zernie West are counted in the 1880 United States Census with 5 children. None of them are Henry. The sad part about this being that if Henry was still in their household, it might have said son listed as his relationship.

February 28, 1899

Jack West marries Laura McClanahan in Bracken County, Kentucky. His father is listed as being born in Bracken County, Kentucky. His mother is listed as being born in Pendleton County, Kentucky. This is Jack’s first marriage and Laura’s second. Marriage Record Page 1, Marriage Record Page 2

June 1900

The 1900 United States Census is the last time I see Isaiah or Zemiah. Though I don’t know what to really call her because she is something different on every record. In this census Zemiah says she has given birth to 10 children, with only 5 living. Elizabeth, Michael, Edith are living with her. Jackson and Lafayette are married with families. A child, Isaiah M. West who was months old in 1880, is not listed in this census. I already have 5 children found, so I am assuming Isaiah M. West has died. That leaves 4 more children I need to see if there are birth and death records for.

Zemiah Black's Name Variations

June 1900

Jack and Laura West are living in Falmouth, Kentucky with her son Burg and their child together Ester. Also living in the house is Sallie McClanahan. She is listed as Jack’s Aunt. According to my new cousin, Sallie wills Jack her land as a repayment for him taking care of her in her later years. I really want to get my hand on these E. E. Barton papers. 😉

December 10, 1908

Edith West marries Anderson Curtis at the residence of James William Applegate (husband of Elizabeth West). Her father is listed as Isaiah West and mother as Ruie Black. Both are listed as being born in Bracken County, Kentucky. Marriage Record Page 1, Marriage Record Page 2

Aug 4, 1912

Isaiah and Zemiah’s son, Michael West passes away at the age of 35. His father is listed as Isaia West and his mother is listed as Rura Black. Both are listed as being born in Bracken County, Kentucky. The informant on the record is Elizabeth West‘s husband, James William Applegate. Death Record

July 30, 1938

On July 30, 1938, my 2nd great grandmother, Elizabeth West-Applegate passed away. On her death certificate her mother is listed as Zeroah Black and father as Isaiah West. Both are listed as being born in Bracken County, Kentucky. The informant for the record was Elizabeth’s husband, James William Applegate.

1930s and 1940s

The E. E. Barton papers. A very prominent lawyer in Pendleton County was very interested in Northern Kentucky genealogy. He spent over 50 years researching but in the 1930s and 1940s he interviewed residents and transcribed records from the courthouse. These family notes should be treated the same way family bibles are, as secondary sources, but they are still so valuable. Also, I don’t know the copyright on these papers so I’m not going to post them here. I know there are volunteer groups working to transcribe them to the web, and I believe the “originals” are in possession of the Pendleton County Historical and Genealogical Society in Frankfort. To find out more, read this great article by Cheri Daniels. I’m going to be looking more into that soon!

Christy sent me a couple of examples that back up her theory about Isaiah’s marriage. In the examples it mentioned that Henry West m. in Pendleton County, went west. It also says Lafayette went west with Henry. Now I’ve been looking and I found Lafayette out “west” but no sign of Henry yet. Lafayette was in Missouri in 1900 before reaching Colorado and settling. I haven’t entered all that into the website or my program yet, or this entry would never get finished! Maybe I will do a Lafayette entry on his own someday. 😉

My next step is to search out some more records. I have two goals I want to accomplish. This first one is to document the variations in Zemiah‘s name to try and have an idea of what her actual name is. The second goal is to have as much evidence as possible that there is one Isaiah West, who married two different Z-ladies, as I call them. 😉

These are the records I will be searching for in the future:

  1. Zerelda McClanahan‘s death record. It should be sometime between 1856 and 1861.
  2. Birth records, if they exist, for all of Zemiah and Isaiah’s children.
  3. Death records for all the other children of Zemiah and Isaiah.
  4. Find Edith West-Curtis‘ death certificate. I know where she is buried, so I just have to find out where she died.
  5. Lafayette West in the 1870 Census. Maybe he is living with a family member? Or maybe his estimated age was off in 1880.
  6. Marriage record for Henry West in Pendleton County, Kentucky.
  7. Marriage record for Lafayette West and Mattie O’Neal. I have them in the census until 1940, but haven’t found their marriage record yet.
  8. Marriage record for James William Applegate and Elizabeth Susan West.
  9. Death Record for Henry that will hopefully show his mother’s maiden name. He was young when she died so it could go either way on that one.

I really enjoyed making this timeline and I think I will do at least one a week! It really helped me have to gather all my records and re-examine them.

Isaiah West and Zemiah Black Marriage Record

I will be writing up a timeline post for Isaiah West, hopefully this week. Right now I am working on updating his section of my database website. That way I can point to the exact records I will be talking about. I am just so excited to finally see proof of this marriage.

Isaiah West, Zemiah Black
Isaiah West, Zemiah Black marriage bond

Pendleton County, Kentucky, Marriage Bonds, 1851-1864, v. 6: 139, West-Black, 1861; digital images, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKJ9-SX8X : accessed 23 Apr 2016).

What is a Genealogist to Do? Part 3

If you aren’t caught up on this saga, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.

Things went quiet again for a few years. Then in 2012 my Aunt went to the cemetery to visit Grandpa and to check on the graves. Unfortunately, it looks like in 2011 another baby was buried in our family lot. This one not by my 2nd cousin, but her ex-husband’s sister.

gravesites

Where do you even go from there? What do you do? The second baby had been there at least a year before we were aware of it. I don’t even know the circumstances surrounding the second burial because this time, they stayed silent and didn’t come to us to “brag”. I hesitate to say the word, but that is what it felt like to our family at the time.

Again we called the cemetery, and this time they told us our information was in there, but there was no note. Then they told us they don’t require proof of ownership, that the funeral home tells them where they need to go and they open the grave. When we called the funeral home, they at first didn’t want to talk to us. Finally after we were persistent to have some kind of answers, we were told that grieving parents weren’t asked those kinds of questions.

The cemetery assured us that the middle plot is still able to hold my Grandma and that the babies were buried with the father of my 2nd cousin. Do we believe that though? I don’t know that we do. Every time we go to the cemetery now, we just can’t help but wonder. Every single family member who goes to visit now always analyzes the graves. There is a paranoia that exists with this now.

Let me just say at this point, I understand how we can be seen as the cold-hearted ones. I am sympathetic to the loss of life. It’s not the fault of the babies who are buried there. Drug addiction is a major problem in my family. We’ve dealt with it for a lot of years. I am sympathetic to all that comes with it but at what point do you say enough? My grandfather worked very hard in the short time he was here. He lost his 3 year old son to an illness he couldn’t help. He provided what his son needed to the very end, all the way to his final resting place.

gravesites2

I can’t even say we wouldn’t have let her bury the first baby there in the first place, because we most likely would have with no hesitation. It’s the sneaking around and the maliciousness towards our family. This second baby, I don’t even know where to start with that. The first time, you say it’s just a family argument and they wanted the baby with their family members. The second time, I don’t see any reason for that at all.

We were in contact with the cemetery again last month. Another new person is working there and again, there was no note saying there was a problem with this grave. There was a comment from the new caretaker that this wasn’t an isolated problem, that he was seeing quite a bit of weird things going on.

Is this something I’m just not thinking of in the right way? What would you do if you were faced with this?  Who do you get mad at? The cemetery? The funeral home? The family members? Do you just let it go or do you fight back? Is there even any cause to be mad, or are we just too sensitive?

If you even take the personal aspects out of it. How do I document the second burial in my family tree? Do I just ignore it?

There are so many questions and no answers.

What is a Genealogist to Do? Part 2

I’m sure by now you are curious as to what I was talking about on Friday. I know I said I was going to post the second part on Monday but I’m anxious to just get the story out and see what others might think.

To make a long story as short as possible, my Grandpa bought a 5 plot cemetery lot  in 1953 when his son passed away. When Grandpa died in 1976 he was buried next to his son. Over the years, members of my Grandma’s family had come to her and asked if they could use other spots in the lot. She agreed because it was her family and she was okay with it since there was still a spot there next to Grandpa and Willie for her.

Willie Mays Grave

We never even thought about the cemetery until 2008. We would visit over the years but we didn’t think there was anything to worry about with it. Then in 2008, we received word through my cousin one day that the cemetery deed was needed because someone had lost a baby and needed to bury it. We were a little taken aback because we didn’t even have anyone in the immediate family who was pregnant. When we called the cemetery they told us that the person who was burying the baby told them it was her cemetery lot and the funeral home was already on the way to the cemetery. As we didn’t have all the facts and it was an infant, we just told them to go ahead and bury the baby.

This is where I start to get a little hesitant about the details, but they are important to the story. The woman who lost the baby turned out to be the daughter/grand-daughter of the other two people buried in the family lot from Grandma’s side of the family. This woman was also a heroin addict and lost her baby due to her drug use. None of those details were important at first because at the end of the day, an infant needed a final resting place.

Something still didn’t sit right with my family. Why did my second cousin just walk into a cemetery and claim ownership and they believed her? I guess because her father and grandfather were buried there. However, we physically had the deed in Maryland that said Stanley Mays was the owner and his heirs would inherit it should he die.

My mother called the cemetery. She was just wanting to make sure that no one else tried to bury anyone else in that grave without permission. The man at the cemetery seemed bewildered but after explaining the circumstances to the man he assured us that this would not happen again. He was leaving a note in the computer that this was an issue for this particular site. He updated the contact information for the grave site, which was also part of the problem. We left it at that, despite the continued unrest knowing that it could happen again.

There was definitely drama between my 2nd cousin’s mother and our family after this incident. Basically, my mother let it be known she wasn’t happy with the way the situation unfolded and the way they seemed to brag about the “free stuff” that was donated. They weren’t happy with us and threatened to sue us, among other things.

You would think this is the end of this story. That I would just  tell you to make sure that you update your cemetery contact information because through a series of misunderstandings this happened to us. No, that’s not what happened here and it became very clear to us.

But I’ll get into that in the final part tomorrow.

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