A Delayed Burial
Just want to let others know what I learned out of thirty years of research! My great-grandfather died and was cremated in 1948. No one in the family ever talked about him as it was years before I was born. As I got involved in genealogy, I decided to ask where he was buried. No one seemed to remember. I started checking around where I knew some of the family had been buried, but his name never showed up in any records.
One night as I was looking at his death certificate and his wifeâ€™s, I did notice the same mortuary handled both of them. But no mention of what happened to his ashes. After years of writing to different cemeteries, why hadnâ€™t I noticed this bit of information sooner? I tried to contact the mortuary; theyâ€™d gone out of business. Where or who would have their records? I checked a little further and found a wonderful lady who took the time to check with another company. She was referred back to the cemetery.
As it turned out, right there in the cemetery records they found a goldmine for me. Seems Grandpa Roy was cremated in 1948, but his ashes were not buried until 1962 when his wife died! Sheâ€™d had the ashes all those years. They were buried in her casket to be â€œlaid to rest together.â€ The love they must have shared.
You would have thought Iâ€™d won the lottery! It was no wonder I couldnâ€™t find him buried anywhere. I was so insistent that the event took place in 1948 (according to his death certificate), that it took me thirty years to find him! My point is to NEVER give up hope; they will let you know where to look to find them.
More on Ancestral Addresses
I enjoyed the article on ancestorsâ€™ addresses. When I visited the places where my parents grew up in England, Canada, and the Netherlands, I made a point of looking for the houses in which they and their ancestors had lived and taking photos of the buildings that were still standing. Two tips on making sure you have the right places: Find out whether the streets have been re-numbered since your ancestors lived there, and make sure the building standing there now is old enough to have been there when your ancestors were alive. For example, my cousin (who speaks Dutch) was able to get the re-numbering information from an Amsterdam city housing official, and I have searched the Amsterdam Archives for period photos to compare with mine.
Libraries and archives in general are great places to look for photographs–and donâ€™t hesitate to ask librarians or archivists for help. A librarian at the Onondaga County Public Library in Syracuse, New York, found me a wonderful old album of clippings about a neighborhood in which I found a photo of the house in which my mother served as live-in maid. The house no longer exists, but the newspaper clipping about it was almost as good as seeing the real thing.
Finding Family in Whitepages.com
I am African American, and my grandfather’s mother and siblings, with whom he was raised, were white. Steve, my great-grandfather, was born in 1890 in North Carolina. This past November I decided to look up information on one of the brothers whose name was less common. I found that he had died in Hagerstown, Maryland. Then I looked up this brother’s son’s name, again one that was an unusual name. This son had died fairly recently in Hagerstown also. Next I did a Whitepages.comÂ search for anyone with the surname I was searching and found four households in Hagerstown. I made a call to one of the families in Hagerstown, and it was the correct household. The eighty-four-year-old widow of my great-grandfather’s nephew was able to share much information with me, including the married names of my great-grandfather’s only sister (she had married twice). Her only son and I have been communicating and sharing photos.
I searched one of Steve’s sister’s children whose name was unusual and found his obituary in Ancestry. He had died fairly recently in Skagit Co., Washington. Again, I did a Whitepages search and located the family there. My two newly found cousins, both white, and I have been corresponding by e-mail and phone and have exchanged information as well as photos. The Washington cousin and I, along with my mother, met in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, in December, where I met the last living children of Steve’s sister, and his last living niece and nephew. The cousin from Washington brought me several letters dating from 1968 to 1972, that her grandmother and received from my great-grandfather. The obituary and Whitepages searches have led me to other relatives as well. Try it.
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