St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

There She Lies- Right Under Our Nose

From time to time, I venture into the cemetery office to check on who is buried there. I've been to a particular cemetery in Pittsburgh not once, but close to a half dozen times over the last few years. I've asked for help from the staff. Please allow me to share some of those experiences with you.

1st visit in 1988: My cousins took me to see my grandfather's grave. It was the first time I had been back to the grave since my childhood. We stopped in to get the location and to see who was buried there. The folks guardedly told me he was there and then refused to let me see the book. I did catch a glimpse of an unknown name. The staff whisked the book away.

2nd visit in 2003: I asked the staff for a map of the cemetery so I could find my grandfather's grave. The lady told me how to find it. It was pouring rain. We couldn't find the grave using her instructions. Apparently, she read the map wrong. We finally located the grave in a different area of the cemetery. I noticed my great grandparents were there just behind my grandfather.

3rd visit in 2004: I didn't bother with the staff as I now knew where to look. I took photos of the headstones. I did call the staff later to ask how much it would cost to get a new headstone. They were thrilled to be of assistance.

4th visit in 2005: I asked the staff who was buried in the plot. They gave me three names, while yet again, refusing me access to the book. This time, I had done enough research to know who the third name. He was a cousin of my grandmother's who she buried there as he had no place to go. Funny, how they still haven't told me my great grandparents are in the same plot.

Over the last few years, I have trying in vain to find the location of my great aunt's grave. I found her parents buried with my grandparents. I found her sisters in the same cemetery. Her husband was buried in a single grave in a different cemetery in town. Of course, I didn't know when she died, but I had narrowed down the dates to between 1919-1924.

Hattie was living in Erie, PA, at the time of her sister's death. I found Hattie in 1910 in Erie, but there was no sign of her there in 1920. Hattie's great grandson has also been looking for her in vain. He tried a death search for a 10 year time span with no success. He found her living in a nursing home in Erie, PA, in 1918-1919. Then, poof-- she disappeared.

Fast forward to last week:
Ring. Ring.

My cousin told me to sit down as I wouldn't believe what he had to say.

Hattie's been under our noses all this time. When he called the cemetery and started asking questions, he was told she was there. Not only is she there, but she died in November 1920 and is buried with her son.

Get this. Her son is the cousin who my grandmother buried in 1935!

The nice informative gent at the cemetery went on to say that she died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What? How? Why?

I checked the census and found her living in a nursing home in Milwaukee in 1920. We have sent for her death cert. Hopefully, that will provide the name of the person providing the information.

At this time, we have no clue as to who moved her or why she was in Milwaukee in 1920. Her son was in Jacksonville, FL at the time and her daughter moved there as well in 1922. There is no evidence to support the daughter being in Milwaukee.

So, we continue to search to see if we can solve this mystery.

My advice is to keep looking. In this case, it took years of asking the same location the same question before we could get an answer.

And to think- she's been there the whole time.

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