Finding Graves on Vacation

At the end of September I spent a week in Vermont. Before the trip, I took a look at local cemeteries on and picked a few to visit in between days spent mountain biking and enjoying the local scenery.

My first visit was to Woodmont Cemetery in East Burke, VT. I spent an hour or two there taking photos and getting a feel for the place and then returned again a few days later to finish as much as I could. When I started the cemetery was 54% photographed. After uploading all of my photos including new memorials the final tally was 74% photographed.


I spent one afternoon at Hillside Cemetery in West Burke, VT. This lovely cemetery was smaller than Woodmont and is uniquely situated at the top of a steep road on a high plateau. Although close to the road it felt completely isolated. The starting number was 54% photographed, ending number is currently 70% although I still have many photos to upload.

My final cemetery excursion was to Saint Elizabeth Cemetery in Lyndonville, VT. I rarely visit catholic cemeteries, but this one was small and I didn’t have much time so I figured I could make a decent dent. The starting number was 14% photographed and the ending number was 37% photographed.



Reburials at Mount Moriah Cemetery

In late October I had the privilege of joining members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, local university students, and other volunteers in reclaiming section 112 of Mount Moriah Cemetery on the Yeadon side.

This section was purchased by the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia and the church moved its burial ground from the area of 2nd and Arch Streets to Mount Moriah in early 1860. The center of the section contains a large monument to the churches pastors and the rest of the section contains a criss-cross of sidewalks with burials in between.

It appears a number of stones were moved when the bodies were reinterred, but perhaps most interesting is the portion of sidewalk made up of flat headstones used as sidewalk ‘pavers’.

In October 2015, may of these stones saw the light of day for the first time in many years.


“A Stranger Whose Name is Unknown”

While searching the wonderful, I came across this obituary:

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We all know our ancestors can be elusive…that obituaries weren’t always printed and documents didn’t always exist. And even when records exist, they can be extremely hard to find, to confirm, to cross-reference…it can take years of research and many of us will be unsuccessful in ever finding the right connections.

So this newspaper clipping gives me mixed feelings. This stranger whose name is unknown is likely forever lost to history, but someone found the man’s death—or at least his anonymity—worthy of coverage.

Where They Lived

Many records give the address where our ancestors were living. Census records are a great source of addresses (check the left margin), as are some military records. I’m always interested in seeing whether the property still exists and what it looks like today.

Thanks to google maps and street view, you can often get a close look at a property.

Find a street address and then visit

Type in the address and you’ll see a box like this, top left of your screen:

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Click on the photo where it says “street view” in white to get a look at the street:

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Now us the + sign (bottom right) to zoom in, if necessary. You can often see the house number on or near the front door. In this case, my ancestors lived in the house on the far right:

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You may not always find street view available – it depends on what Google has imaged. You’ll have the most luck in larger cities and towns, as opposed to rural areas.

You may also find that addresses have changed and the exact house number may no longer exist, even though the street does. The same is true of streets – names can change over the years. It’s also possible the building has been demolished in the decades or centuries since your ancestors lived in the area.

Happy hunting!

From the Poor House to the Soldiers’ Rest Home



Admission to the Greene County Poor House

My 3x-great-grandfather William Justice Warner had an interesting journey the last 15 years of his life. In 1870 he is living in Athens, Greene County, NY with his wife Mary and two sons, William and Walter.

According to William’s military pension records, Mary died in 1871 in Athens. In late May 1883 William is admitted to the Greene County poor house. The document includes some interesting info, including his place of birth and that of his mother and father.

In the remarks section it indicates:

He has no home, says he has come here for that reason to live and die here. He has no other other home, is a very nice old man deserving of a great amount of sympathy and care.

In 1887 William shows up in Bath, Steuben County, NY at the New York State Soldiers and Sailors Home. Oddly enough he is listed as married in the admission record, but widowed in the previous record. He lists his son, William, as next of kin and gives William’s address in Brooklyn, NY. That building looks like this now:

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In 1892, William Justice Warner moved to this address to live with his son William and his family – wife Minnie, daughters Alice and Florence, and son George.

Finally, in 1897, William Justice winds up at the Soldiers Home in Hampton, Virginia where he dies the following year.



Family Recipe Friday

Mount Vernon NY Daily Argus 1942 - 3840Ok, so this isn’t my family recipe. I’ve never made this dish nor do I know of anyone in my family specifically making this dish.

However, I was intrigued by this circa 1942 “Victory Recipe” found in a New York state newspaper. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of fish and not at all likely to ever try this out, but I this advertisement caught my eye because it was a wartime recipe advertised by McCormick that incorporates the company’s spices.

Although the ingredient list is fairly long, the only items that are not spices are rice, canned peas, tomato consomme, evaporated milk, and the codfish. Sounds like it would have been an easy, economical dish—as promised by the ad.


So You Sold the Farm…

I’ve been looking for my ancestor’s farm by scouring old maps and looking through old texts for clues. As usual, I turned to to search through hundreds of pages of old newspapers. After searches for “Josiah Warner” didn’t turn up much, I started looking for Warner with a combination of place names such as Catskill, Athens, Coxsackie, and Greene County. These searches turned up a few articles pertaining to “Jofiah Warner”.

Then I found this:

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The description of the farm’s location matches previous texts. Josiah didn’t arrive in the area until right around 1800, so why is he trying to sell his farm only 5 years later, and where did the family live if this land indeed sold? Census records show Josiah Warner stayed in the local area—perhaps on this land or perhaps somewhere else. The mystery continues!