Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tombstoneless Tuesday

     Like many of my ancestors, the White family didn’t believe in placing tombstones.  James White is the one Irish immigrant I have been unable to locate a townland, or even county of origin for.  His wife Anna Ryan was from Goldengarden Tipperary and I suspect James was from that area or Limerick, but I’m beginning to fear the Catholic records of whatever parish he may have been baptized in simply don’t extend far back enough to include him. 

      I have the names of James’ parents from the record of his 1856 marriage to Anna at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Palmyra, New York and also his death certificate, but I still have no solid leads on where he may have come from.  I was also stymied in my search for his tombstone until one day I found myself in the rectory of St. Anne’s browsing through cemetery records.  There were several James Whites in Palmyra and the surrounding area, but I knew I had found the right one when I saw who else was buried in that plot.  There was Anna, their grown daughters Margaret and Mary, along with their adult son Thomas and his twin brother Cornelius, who died as an infant.
     I was discussing my trouble finding the burial plot with a lovely woman who worked at the rectory and she offered to drive out to the cemetery with me and point it out.  After thanking her profusely and making a modest donation to the church building fund, we drove to St. Anne’s Cemetery.  She had written down the particulars of which row and so forth, and she soon found the graves, but no markers.  I looked around and noticed a familiar name on a large monument the next plot over—Bushnell.  James and Anne’s daughter Alice had married a Bushnell, and sure enough, her name was on their monument. 

    I ran into the same problem in a cemetery in Clifton Springs, NY and the caretaker who just happened to live next door ran home, found the records, came back and located the O’Hora graves for me, again sans markers. 

    Last summer I found James and Anna's daughter Julia was buried in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Rochester, NY with her husband's family the Sullivans.  (You guessed it, no marker.) I knew Holy Sepulcher records include a cause of death, but the records I had seen in the local library stopped a few years short of Julia's death in 1917.  I called the cemetery office and asked where I could view the more recent records?  The answer, "you can't", but the clerk immediately offered to do it for me and return my call in a few hours.  Within 20 minutes I learned Julia died of pulmonary consumption, now called tuberculosis.  It’s been my experience that cemetery and church employees are very helpful and generous with their time, so don’t be afraid to ask.


No comments:

Post a Comment