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.