What can be done with the treasure trove of information dug from the cemetery records regarding an ancestor’s family plot?
Now that the entire listing of the cemetery of my focus is open for all to view online, you can look over my shoulder as I peruse the names and dates and see if we can discover anything. It takes a little work, but by looking at the page from the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center that lists all the Kelly burials at the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne, we can glean a short list of everyone buried in Lot 232.
As I mentioned yesterday, there were nine burials in the Kelly family plot. Following the Genealogy Center’s alphabetic listing, let’s just lay out that listing, including any other information attached.
Here were the nine Kellys:
- Andrew J., died December 2, 1940; aged 73 years, 1 month, 1 day; born Fort Wayne, divorced
- Ellen, died September 27, 1875; aged 37 years, 3 months; born 1838 in Ireland
- Johanna, died May 1, 1903; born 1828
- John J., died March 14, 1925; born 1876
- John T., died 1892; born 1808
- Timothy, died January 20, 1876; born Ireland
- Timothy, died September 22, 1901; born 1829
- Timothy, died January 4, 1909; born 1869
- William, died July 29, 1874; aged one year
Now that we’ve aggregated that data, I want to try one more thing. Remember I mentioned that this time, I wanted to see a timeline of when burials occurred in this cemetery plot? I wanted to check out the order in which the family members died and how close these occurrences might have been to each other.
So let’s rearrange the above list to see the order and timing:
- John T.—1892
- John J.—1925
- Andrew J.—1940
What emerges from this is a timeline showing a couple clusters—and then some outliers. The earliest deaths—perhaps reflective of a time ridden with tragedies taken as a more “everyday” occurrence—clustered around 1875. A baby, a young wife, and an injured teen make up that era’s scenarios. The next cluster circles around the turn of the century, seeming to have as its hallmark the passing of an older generation, rather than the demise of the unfortunate young. Those deaths following later seem to trickle in, over the years, as the unattached sons of the next generation grapple with what might be seen as tragic mid-life crises or unexpected later-life disappointments.
Each of these names represents a story, of course, which will take form for us as we begin to assemble the puzzle of a shadow family tree—a tree whose roots may or may not intertwine with that of the Kelly family from which our family descends.