Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
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
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
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.)
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.