Saturday, September 17, 2011

Surname Saturday: Finding Frews

As I have gotten older I tend to procrastinate but when I get started I can go 'full tilt boogie'.
We have only been able to look for family grave monuments on weekends. I took the phone number of a much visited cemetery with me one day this week and made a personal call on the road. We have been unable to find one of my direct ancestors graves. I was somewhat certain she was in  this cemetery but after finding so many of my family here but not her or her married name we began to question if my memory of my trips here with my grandmother as a child had been correct.
In speaking with a lovely lady at the office I was verified that she was in the cemetery and given her exact lot number. Luckily  we were able to visit within a day or two. I went to the office, spoke to the same lovey lady and obtained a map with a star at her general spot and the names on the stones surrounding her. We drove to the section as I eagerly anticipated this discovery. When we arrived there wasn't a second row of stones immediately behind the first but a long row of beautiful rhododendrons in all their adult and healthy splendor. We pulled the car over to an appropriate spot and started to walk to the first row.
Yes, we found the name of the stone directly in front of my Eliza. But no second row! We walked over toward the beautiful bushes. Gently pulling apart the branches we saw several stones inside the surrounding bushes and surrounded by several branches were large jewel weeds one could not see from the road, they blended in so well.  I had to walk around to the less dense side of the bush to sneak into the group of bushes. It felt like being a kid again playing making a cabin under a bush just under a group of trees. My husband being much taller was able to bend around some branches and see into the greenery. He hollered, " it's Eliza."
We gently removed all the dead branches and moved the branches we were able to without any kind of tools or hurting the plants. We, also, removed the 'passed their prime' and dying jewel weeds so you could see the one facet of the monolith without trimming the rhododendrons.

Her stone was larger than I thought it would be. A nice monolith. She had died before her husband and this was a lovely choice. He was a tailor and must have done well to purchase such a lovely stone.

Her inscription was not on the face or the back of the stone but on the side  facet. It indicated she was the wife of J.G. (I have his info as James G.) but his inscription is missing. The office had his name as being in this lot grave # 2.

No wonder we hadn't found her after so many attempts to find her! 

She was near the original entrance in one of the first areas of the cemetery. When I began to plot all my many relatives on the map I found Eliza was in the section next to her daughter and son-in-law who are with his parents. More relatives. As I continued I found for over 120 years my family has been burying members here  all in sections in a line from front to back of the cemetery. You could walk a straight line through these sections of this huge cemetery without getting worn out.

First of all it's so lovely to be able to get info from the office.
Second I told the lovely lady in the office this is a lovely very well taken care of cemetery. A very pleasant one to visit.
And last but not least I want to mention how great this staff member was at helping me.
This wonderful, beautifully maintained for over 160 years, cemetery is the West Newton cemetery and my experiences here have made me want to sale my plots and stones and buy ones in this one.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Doing the 'Happy Dance'

We kept hitting a brick wall on my husband's fathers side of the family. Even with the internet and all the sites for family trees and document sites we just couldn't find his Dad's family to verify or disprove all the 'word of mouth' info we had..
His grandmother had several children with different 'husbands'. We found info on her family because she came from a large prominent family but her relationship with my husband's grandfather was not verified. We had documents of two of her children that noted him as the father using his last name but couldn't find him anywhere.
Rumor was he was 'from' Canada. Another barrier.
Finally we had a chance to travel near the area a marriage between them may be documented. We found a place to park very close to the courthouse, everyone was open and friendly to us. The registrars office was homey and welcome. Most of the computers were being used. Just a very good experience compared to others we've had.
Then we found his grandmother's name and started pulling up the documents. Whoa! We found a marriage application and marriage between his grand parents. So it did happen! We almost did the 'Genealogy Happy Dance' right there in that office.
We had heard vague good and bad things about his Dad's family. But now we know it wasn't because of an illegitimacy stigma.
When we got started looking at the application document we were in shock. Not only had they applied but the names of his grandfathers parents, their birthplace and that they were deceased at the time were noted. His grandfathers place of residence and his occupation were marked. Were these items fact? We would have to verify.
There were multiple 'eye openers' in the first few lines. The document was filled in by hand and being a copy was in places hard to decipher. They did not give access to the originals so we had to rely on the computer copies and the enlargement on screen.
Immediately we noted that three things on the left side of the document , the male applicant's side,  were not at all what we had heard. The surnames were not what we expected. His grandfather's name was either misunderstood by the person doing the documentation or just not what we had been told for years. Did his grandfather have an accent or was not fluent in English? Maybe French Canadian? Then in scrolling down we found my husband's surname was listed as his great-grandmother's maiden name. We were told at one time his father had a falling out with his dad and changed the spelling of his last name. The problem being the grandfather's name on the document is the last half of his mother's maiden name, the confusion gets more complicated and our happy dance moment is a whole new set of info to search for and verify.

My husband's surname is Kayhart. We were told his grandfathers name was Earl Kahart and that Earl's son added a y to his surname. What we think is  found is Earl K. Hart on this document.  J.K. Hart listed as Earl's father and possibly Mollie or Millie Kayhart on the mother site. Earl's place of birth is hard to read. But looking at the father's place of birth it  looks similar to it and more like Ontario!?  But are those words after each of these places  shorthand for Canada? The only possible C on the document to compare it to is on the females Dad's occupation. It  appears as though he was a carpenter. And what was Earl's occupation? Only more mysteries to unravel.
        What does it look like to you? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The destruction of Old Brush Creek Cemetery.

We were checking out old cemeteries that had a common family name, that occurred often in my family's past, listed as being interred there. We visited an old cemetery with many old stones.

At least 50% of the monuments in the cemetery were purposely knocked down.  
 The quote on this stone indicates it no longer matters to these departed souls. How apropos!

 This pile was at the back of the cemetery and an all too often site these days.
 The large clumps seen here are where one or more monument(s) are knocked down and strewn about making mowing and 'weed whacking' hard to do without causing equiptment and monument damage. Toward the front of the cemetery a  section of multiple rows are all strewn about making upkeep unsafe for equipment and the caretaker's walking. We'll return in the late winter, early spring when no plants are grown up to attempt to at least read some of those stones.

At the end of the cemetery I started to walk toward the front entrance and spotted these two old slate stones still upright with a white substance applied in a manner as to read the carvings. At first I thought some one wanted to record the info and that rain had caused the dripping patterns. But as I walked closer I realized it was not either of the two methods we've seen on occasion used for this purpose. I thought, 'No, that can't be spray paint..." but realized when I touched it that was exactly what it was. I should have understood because of the violent destruction we saw upon entering the site that spray painting wasn't out of the question. I just hadn't excepted the depth of the other destruction, so wasn't ready for another form.

Why? What pleasure or feelings of achievement could these two types of destruction give someone to do such a thing? And because some of the dislocated monoliths were quite large it must have been done by a group of people or someone armed with motorized equipment to do the destruction.
I know many people feel cemeteries are not where the deceased are and so are really useless to them but many family members honor their loved ones at these last resting sites. (I being one of the latter) The cemetery will most likely never be repaired and will become another discarded site because of the difficulty to maintain it with such recklessness strewn about. It saddens me that this kind of destruction is pleasant to someone.
Can someone help me understand this blatant disrespect? It has no redeeming value. It's not art, not me serves no purpose.