Researching Burials at Montrose Cemetery in Upper Darby, PA

Montrose Cemetery is a small place, tucked away behind a funeral home. It’s the kind of place you can drive by without noticing, which I did for many years before visiting the first time.

The cemetery isn’t large—just a single road down the middle with sections on either side. The sections seem to be all designated by a letter, but only B and G seem to have visible signs denoting their location. There does not seem to be a cemetery map publicly available that lists the sections.

Montrose does offer an online burial records search to locate your ancestors’ section and plot number. Once you’ve found the information, make sure the person has a findagrave memorial and request a photo.

As a photo volunteer with more than 50,000 images uploaded, giving the section adn lot number makes it possible and therefore more attractive for others to potentially take a photo for you.

Researching Your Ancestors at West Laurel Hill Cemetery

West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania makes locating a plot within its expansive grounds about at easy as possible.

First, you’ll want to search the cemetery’s online records for your ancestor. The simple search only allows for first and last name, but once you view the results page you can select “view entire lot” (see an example here) to get a list of everyone in the same plot.

While the records are often missing birth or death dates—often its just names—you can often narrow down your search by seeing who else is interred in the same lot.  Women are often listed with their maiden name, such as Mary Jones Hamilton, which is also helpful.

Once you’ve found your ancestor, take a look at findagrave.com to see if a memorial already exists and whether or not there is already a photo. If not, request one and make sure you put the section and lot number in the notes of your request so a volunteer can try and fulfill your request.

If you’ll be visiting the cemetery in person, download the West Laurel Hill Cemetery app from iTunes or Google Play. The app will allow you to search for a burial and pinpoint the lot within the cemetery, which is quite helpful due to both the size of the cemetery and the fact that most sections don’t seem to have the lots numbered side by side. Lot 120 might be on the extreme opposite side of a section from Lots 119 and 121. If you make sure to turn on location services for the app, you’ll be able to pinpoint not just the lot, but yourself (two different color dots). The app will get you very close to the person you’re seeking, at least within 15-20 feet as some lots are quite large. It’s also helpful to arm yourself with the last of names of others in the lot, just in case there’s a large noticeable stone with only one surname or, unfortunately, the person you’re seeking isn’t listed on a stone but others are.

Happy hunting!

New Book Search from MyHeritage

It may be old news to some, but it the MyHeritage “Compilation of Published Sources” search tool was new to me. Similar to Google books, this search includes a variety of printed material including yearbooks, city directories, and more.

The search interface is easy to use. Try different combinations to get different, and sometimes better, results:

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The search results screen gives you the title of the source, the publication place, and an excerpt from the materials with your search terms highlighted:

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Selecting an item takes you to a detail page where you can see the full text. Zoom toggles are available and you can also opt to view full screen. Once on an individual page you can move back and forth through the pages of the book.

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Happy hunting!

Washington, NJ Newspaper Excerpts

Belvedere Apollo, Sept. 7, 1900

Belvedere Apollo, Sept. 7, 1900

I recently wrote to the Warren County (NJ) Library to ask for copies of two obituaries that I hoped would shed some light on family connections. Unfortunately, the obituaries didn’t include any of the information I had hoped.

The obit for Jonathan Petty fro 1875 just read “Petty – At Washington, on Wednesday, Oct. 20th”. The obit for Benjamin Felver from 1900 was informative—indicating he was one of the oldest members of the Mansfield lodge of Odd Fellows and that he was injured in the Civil War and had subsequently been on the “sick list” for the past 30 years—but it didn’t make mention of any survivors, like I had hoped.

There is some good stuff for anyone doing genealogy research in Warren County, NJ.

1875 deaths reported October 29 also included: Catharine A. Teel, wife of Robert G. Teal, aged 30 years; Charley Woodruff, son of John and Bernice Woodruff, aged 3 years; and Catharine Vannatta, wife of Edward Vannatta.

In early September 1900 newspaper mixed obituaries with other Washington, NJ news:

– “Elmer Pronty has returned from Ohio and will spend the winter with his grandmother Mrs. John Gaston”

“Mrs John Folkner, who died some few days ago with brain fever, aged 23 years, was a highly respected person of Balesville. She was raised in that locality. She leaves a kind husband and a very young child to mourn her untimely death.”

“Josiah, better known as ‘Shorty’ Lewis of Broadway was in town Labor Day with a heavy load of ‘red eye’. While in this condition he cut the harness on John Hays’ horse and struck at several persons with a large penknife.”

Finding a New Record…Again

I’ve found myself “finding” a new record and experiencing that little thrill of potential new information before being crestfallen as I realize I already have that “new” record. This has happened more than a few times. I’ve blamed it on my dual data approach – offline database for verified information and online (ancestry.com) database for research purposes.

But then I almost ordered a death certificate from the New Jersey archives—for the second time—and realized a much better method of keeping track of vital records and other sources was in order. My offline database does include source details, but I clearly have been lazy about proper citation so that I know *exactly* where a detail came from.

I’ve also been thinking about using a checklist, like this one from Family Tree Magazine or one that I create myself, to allow a quick run down of what I have so that I can then enter the details into my offline database properly.

How do you keep track of vital records and other documents?