Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: A Grave in Beard Cemetery

The photo above was taken a couple years ago when I visited Beard Cemetery. I visited the cemetery with my grandparents and brother because we were looking for Oswalt tombstones in Saint Joseph county. One of the books of cemetery transcriptions had a transcription of Beard Cemetery, and the last name of Oswalt was mentioned. So, before we left Saint Joseph county (at the end of our second trip), we stopped at the cemetery, and I took pictures of the Oswalt tombstones. This tombstone is of Albert Oswalt, but I have not uncovered a connection. Thus, I do not believe he is related to my Oswalt family.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Searching For My Ancestor's Grave: A Wild Goose Chase, Part Two

As you may remember, I started to post about the search for my ancestor's grave before Thanksgiving. Well, I have finally gotten around to looking up my notes and to finishing my story.

When I left off, my grandfather and I were planning on making a trip down to Three Rivers, Michigan. We decided to go make a trip in July, and stay at a hotel there for about two nights. After checking into the hotel, we went to the county courthouse in Centreville, - a village about five miles from Three Rivers and a 5-10 minute car drive between the two places- and did a little research into the vital records held in the county clerk's office. After ordering a marriage certificate, I asked one of the assistant clerks about local funeral homes that might have existed back in the 1940s, and the clerk wrote down two funeral homes in Three Rivers where I could ask about my ancestor's possible burial. After I received the information, my grandma asked about a good place to eat dinner, and the clerk suggested a place.

At dinner, I discussed with my grandparents and brother our plan of action for the next day to find my grandpa' grandfather. After dinner we went back to our hotel, and relaxed before going to bed. ...

At the moment I have to stop with my story since I am behind in posting this article, but hopefully, I will be able to finish it in part three. Stay tuned for the next part. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

7th Meet A Rabbit Column Posted!

The seventh Meet A Rabbit column has been posted! The author of this week's column is Kathryn Lake Hogan, and you can read it here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: Another View of Prairie River Cemetery's Graves

The picture above is another view of some of the graves in Prairie River Cemetery, and I took this photograph when I stood behind my Stout ancestors' graves. I took the picture because I wanted to have a few photographs to help me figure out the location of my ancestors' graves in case I ever forgot where in the cemetery they were located. I especially took the picture because of the two columns in the background. Those two columns had been a part of my grandfather's story about a visit he made to the cemetery with his aunt many years before, and he claimed that they were connected to our ancestors. (I will explain this in another post, later.) The columns are a part of the Major family plot, and indeed there is a connection as Peter Stout's sister, Sarah, married a John M. Major. She is buried in the same cemetery as well. (I suspect it is in the Major family plot, but I haven't confirmed my suspicions yet because I did not look the last time I was at the cemetery.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Update on Part Two of Searching For My Ancestor's Grave

As I mentioned last week, I was not be able to post part two for awhile because of my school work. Well, I am now home, so hopefully within the next few days I'll have part two posted! Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

6th Meet A Rabbit Column Posted!

The sixth Meet A Rabbit Column has been posted! The author of this week's column is William Morgan, and you can read the article here. Enjoy!

(As a side note, I just want to mention that I was originally supposed to write the column for this week, but since I have finals this week, I haven't had any time to write very many posts. Therefore, I want to thank William Morgan for taking my spot. I am extremely grateful. Thank you.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: Another Detwiler Family Grave

Although I'm not done posting the rest of the pictures I have of Prairie River Cemetery, I've decided to post another photograph from Riverside Cemetery in Three Rivers. (I have yet to scan the other photos for Prairie River Cemetery, so that is why I am posting this photograph.) The picture above is the grave of James Detwiler, whom I believe was the son of John Detwiler. (I'll have to check his death record, but I believe that is who his father is him from studying the Detwiler families in Saint Joseph.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Note About Part Two of "Searching For My Ancestor's Grave"

I just want to let everyone know that I will post the second part of this story sometime in December, but I will not be able to do so until after the 12th or 13th because I am busy finishing up this semester at my school. In addition, I will have to look back at some of my research notes as I have realized that some of my memories from that trip and previous research trips to Three Rivers are getting mixed up at the moment. (Since I started to do research in 2003, I have made about three trips to Three Rivers.) So, I'll have to think about the trips when I am less stressed, and hopefully, I'll be able to sort all of my memories of the trips out. Anyway, I just want to let everyone know. I will eventually finish the story, so stay tuned for the next part. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

5th Meet A Rabbit Column Posted!

The fifth Meet A Rabbit column has been posted! The author of this week's article is Denise Olson, and you can read the article here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: A Photograph of Some Other Prairie River Cemetery's Graves

This photograph is of the tombstones to the right of my Stout ancestors' graves, and I took this photo at the time I took the other photos. (You can read more about my tip on taking pictures of other nearby tombstones here.) The surname on these stones are Stuby. As far as I know, there is no connection between that family and my ancestors.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

4th Meet A Rabbit Column Posted!

The fourth Meet A Rabbit Column has been posted! This week's column is on Wendy Littrell, and you can read the article here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: An Overview of the Stout Graves

The photograph above is an overview of my Stout ancestors' graves, and believe it or not, the header of this blog comes from this photograph. When I took individual pictures of Peter, Laura and Claudia's graves, I also took pictures of the area surrounding their graves so that I would be able to remember where these stones were located in case I forgot. This picture is one of the photos I took of the graves surrounding my ancestors' graves. Personally, I believe it is a good idea to take pictures of the surrounding graves in case one later learns that a neighboring grave happens to be of a relative of an ancestor. Plus, if I happen to forget where in the cemetery a grave is located, I can look back to the pictures of graves I took around my ancestor's grave to find it. (I should also mention that one of my grandpa's stories involved grave makers that were near my Stout ancestors' graves, and I took a picture of those graves since it was a landmark that my grandpa remembered from a previous visit. I'll explain what I mean in another post.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Searching For My Ancestor's Grave: A Wild Goose Chase, Part One

As I promised a little while ago, I have finally decided to share the story of how I found my ancestor's grave. And the search for this ancestor's grave was quite an adventure. Well, sort of ...

Until a few years ago, no one in my family knew where our ancestor (whom I will call John) was buried. Or at least those of my family members who were still alive who remembered him. The only person who knew was my great-grandfather, and he died several years before I was born. Plus, he did not like talking about his family history, so it almost seemed as though the secret of the location of John's burial was buried with my great-grandfather when he died. Or so it could have turned out that way, if it were not for my grandfather. My grandfather had the desire to find out where John, his grandfather, was buried, and he expressed that wish to me several times since I had taken over the research into our family's history. So, one of my earliest research goals was to help my grandpa find John.

So, what did we know before we began searching for John's grave? Well, we knew John had either died in 1940 or 1942 in Detroit since my grandfather remember John passing away and remembered attending his funeral. Unfortunately, we did not have an exact date of death for John, and since we did not have that date of death, we couldn't order his death certificate. (You have to have an exact date of death in order to obtain a death certificate from Detroit, and since we did not have that date, we obviously could not get the certificate. Obtaining a death certificate through Detroit is cheaper than obtaining it through Lansing.) Of course, that death certificate would not have helped us if we had been able to obtain it. (I'll explain why, later.)

Since John died fairly close towards the end of the Great Depression, my grandpa's family did not have a lot of money, and in consequence, the funeral they had was small. (My grandfather is unsure if there was a funeral notice in the newspapers since the funeral was held within a couple days of John's death.) The day after the funeral, my great-grandfather arranged to have himself and John's body transported to Three Rivers by train. Once my great-grandfather arrived in Three Rivers, we know he was picked up a local undertaker since he told my grandpa about being picked up. What we did not know was where my great-grandfather had John buried. My great-grandfather apparently only had a limited amount of time before he had to catch the train back to Detroit, so he did not accompany the undertaker to the burial site. All we know is that my great-grandfather later received a letter informing him about where John was buried, and of course, my grandfather was of the opinion that the letter was eventually thrown away. So, in short, we did not have a clue as to where John was buried.

Based upon what we did know, we figured that John had to have been buried in a cemetery somewhere around Three Rivers, but we did not know at the time if it was north, south, east or west of the city. After my grandpa spoke to his sister, he thought that maybe we could narrow our search down to cemeteries south of Three Rivers. Of course, we were just speculating as to the location, but we decided to make a research trip to Three Rivers in the summer to see if we could find John's grave.

In my next post, I will continue with the search for John's grave once we reached the Three Rivers area. Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3rd Meet A Rabbit Column Posted!

The third "Meet a Rabbit" column has been posted. The author of this week's column is Randy Seaver, and you can read the column here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday: Claudia's Grave

For this Tombstone Tuesday, I have decided to post another picture of a grave in Prairie River Cemetery. The grave above is of my ancestor, Claudia. She was married to one of my Oswalt ancestors, and her father was Peter Stout. Laura Stout was her step-mother, and Claudia is buried next to her. Claudia's husband is also buried in this cemetery. (I will be writing a separate post on him.)
As for information on her birth, this tombstone and census records are the only proof so far that I have of when she was born. Claudia's birth is not listed in Saint Joseph county's birth records as I suspect she was born just before the vital record keeping in Michigan began. (The 1900 census gives her month of birth as January.)
In the next few days, I plan on writing about how I found her husband's grave, so, please stay tuned ... . Thanks!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Keep Forgetting To Mentioning This ...

For the past two Wednesdays, one of the members of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits has written a post about him or her and his or her work. FootnoteMaven was the first to write a post, and last Wednesday, Bob Franks wrote his post. I'm terribly sorry for not mentioning these posts when they were originally posted. I'll try to remember to mention the next post on Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday Two: A Veteran's Grave

Since today is Veteran's Day, I thought I would honor all those who served by posting photograph of a tombstone today. The tombstone above is of Benjamin F. Oswalt who served in the Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Three Rivers.

I suspect that Benjamin Oswalt is a brother to my ancestor, Adam Oswalt, but I do not have any direct proof to substantiate that belief. All I have is his marriage record, which does not name his parents, that includes the witness, Daniel Black who was the first husband of Margaret Oswalt. (In her second marriage record, she listed her parents as Benjamin Oswalt and Mary Robb. Adam's death certificate gives his parents names as Benjamin Oswalt and Mary Rough, but since the record is a death certificate, his mother's maiden name could be wrong.)

Tombstone Tuesday: Another Stout Grave

For this Tombstone Tuesday, I have decided to post a photograph of another Stout tombstone from Prairie River Cemetery. The grave above is of Laura (Tompkins) Stout, the second wife of my ancestor, Peter Stout. I am not descended from Laura, but from Peter's first wife. As far as I have been able to uncover, Peter and Laura did not have any surviving children, if they had any children at all. I hope you enjoy this photograph.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I've Added a Coming Soon Section!

As you can see, I've added a coming soon section to this page to give my readers a heads up as to what I will be posting on in the future. At the moment, I have only posted my plans for future articles on the Prairie River Cemetery in Centreville. In the future, I plan to add more cemeteries to the list, but for the next couple of weeks, I do not plan to post on any other cemeteries other than Prairie River Cemetery. I hope you enjoy these future posts!

Tombstone Tuesday: A Grave Of A Stout Ancestor

The photo above is a picture of the grave of Peter Stout, my ancestor. He is buried in Prairie River Cemetery which is located in Centreville, Saint Joseph County, Michigan. Buried in the graves next to him are his second wife, oldest daughter and son-in-law. All, except for the son-in-law, have gravestones. For today, though, I have just decided to only post Peter's grave.
In the photo next to Peter's tombstone is a small marker that has, "perpetual care," written on it. Apparently someone had paid for the graves to be taken care of in the future. At the moment, I do not know who paid for this, but some day, I intend to look for any possible records, that is, if the records still exist. (I'll explain the reason why in another post.) Of course, I am grateful that someone paid for the graves to be cared for, and as one can see from the photo above, the tombstone is in excellent shape.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Photo in the Header of the Blog ...

Since today is Halloween, I thought I would post on the photograph of the tombstones in my blog's header. Besides, what is more in spirit of Halloween than tombstones?

The photograph is a section of a picture I took of my ancestors' graves in the Prairie River Cemetery in Centreville, Saint Joseph county, Michigan. (I will be posting a little bit more on my ancestors' graves on Tuesday.) I just cropped out the the tombstones of my ancestors and left the rest of the tombstones in the picture. Nothing says graveyard better than a group of tombstones, right?

Anyhow, have a happy Halloween! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A List of Cemeteries I Hope To Talk About

I am not sure how many posts I will be posting between now and mid-December, but after Christmas, I definitely do plan on writing some posts on some cemeteries in Michigan. Here is just a list of cemeteries that I hope to eventually get around to posting on in the near future:
  • Beard Cemetery, Saint Joseph County
  • Calhoun Cemetery, Saint Joseph County
  • Prairie River Cemetery, Saint Joseph County
  • Placeway/Whitcomb Cemetery, Livingston County
  • and of course many others ...

The cemeteries above are either ones where I have ancestors buried or ones that I am familiar with, and thus, these cemeteries will be among the first I will write about. Please stay tuned for future posts! Thanks.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday ...

For this Tombstone Tuesday, I have decided to post a photograph of my ancestor's grave. This is the tombstone for Adam Oswalt, and since he was a veteran, his tombstone gives the name of the war he served in (which happened to be the Civil War) and the regiment as well. Adam is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Three Rivers, Saint Joseph County, Michigan. I realize Three Rivers is a city, but I decided to post this picture because Three Rivers is a small city and is located in a county that is primarily rural. (I will try to not post photographs of tombstones from urban areas, but every so often, I'll post a photograph from this cemetery when I won't have photographs from other cemeteries available for posting.) Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Looking For A Cemetery in Michigan? Here's A Place To Look

If you happen to be looking for a cemetery in Michigan, and you do not know where it might be, here is a book that might help you: Michigan Cemetery Atlas (Lansing, Michigan, 1991). This book lists the names of cemeteries in Michigan, and gives a location for those cemeteries by county. This is one way a person might be able to determine where a cemetery is located, or if they do not know the name of the cemetery, looking at the map for the county might help a person narrow down the name of the cemetery he or she is looking for. I know that the Library of Michigan has at least one copy of this book in their genealogy section.

Another source one could use to locate the county of a cemetery is the Library of Michigan Michigan Cemetery Sources database on its website. Again, this is a website that will give a list of names of cemeteries in a particular location. It does not contain a map of where the cemeteries are located, and the burial records for the cemeteries are not online. This site, though, is a place to start, if you are looking for the names of cemeteries in a particular area.

Of course, if you are going to go visit one of the cemeteries in Michigan, I would obtain a map of the local county that you plan to visit, so that you are able to find the cemetery. In addition, paying a visit to the local library near the cemetery would be a good idea, especially if you are looking for a specific person buried in that cemetery. The local library might have a transcription of the tombstones in the cemetery, and finding out where a grave is located will save time when you visit the cemetery.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Goals For This Blog ...

As I noted in the header, this blog is part of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits, and since I am a member of this association, I will be using this blog to focus on information upon cemeteries, cemetery research, burial customs and other subjects related to cemeteries or cemetery research. As for my geographical focus, I plan to focus on rural cemeteries in Michigan. The cemetery or cemeteries could be in any part of Michigan, but they must be located in rural areas. I hope, by blogging about rural Michigan cemeteries, that I can bring attention to cemeteries in Michigan and that I can educate others to prevent people from vandalising cemeteries. In addition, I plan to post as much as I can on this blog about Michigan cemeteries, and I hope you will find this information interesting and enlightening. Enjoy!