Albert Sabin, Har Jehuda

His stone reads “beloved husband and father”. He was only 27 years old, and died as a result of an injury sustained at work at the Sun Ship Yard.

Advertisements

Friends Southwestern Burial Ground – Upper Darby, PA

Today I visited the Friends Southwestern Burial Ground in Upper Darby, PA. I’d been there once before, years ago, but I don’t recall taking many photos. Today I tried to take as many as possible, and managed around 1,000 images in an hour. The high volume was largely do to the very orderly rows and similarly sized/shaped stones that are common at Quaker cemeteries.

I was intrigued to learn that Friends Southwestern began allowing Muslim burials around 2013, two years after Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia & Yeadon closed. Mount Moriah was the only place in Southeastern Pennsylvania which allowed Muslim burials, so it’s nice to know there’s another local cemetery filling this need. The nice caretaker I spoke with today indicated they’ve had about 800 Muslim burials in the last 5 years.

 

Of all the photos I took, this one for Abigail Scull, who died in 1867 struck me the most. It has been nearly consumed by this large tree that was likely just a small sapling when she died.

Lillian, in Porcelain

31495329_882195745566_4662631584757710848_nLillian was just 17 years old when she died in 1925. I love finding stones with these old porcelain portraits, and the Jewish cemetery I visited last weekend had a bunch of them. This one stood out to me – both her pose and her outfit. I’m not related, just came across it while fulfilling request for findagrave.

Greenwood Cemetery – Philadelphia

Earlier this year, my husband and I visited a cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia so I could fulfill some findagrave.com photo requests. It was a beautiful, mid-sized cemetery that is still in active use. The place was filled with more azaleas than I’ve ever seen in one place—it was absolutely beautiful.

As we left, we drove past the entrance to another NE Philly cemetery called Greenwood. I didn’t know much about it, so I spent some time researching and then planned a visit with a friend to check it out.

img_8947

Greenwood, also known as Knights of Pythias, opened in 1869. In more recent years, the cemetery became quite overgrown—a plight many of Philadelphia’s historic cemeteries have faced. Despite this, burials were still happening and the cemetery was bought in the early 2000s by a company wishing to build a crematorium on the grounds. A Friends group of concerned citizens was formed around this time.

Fast forwarding to 2008, a majority share of the cemetery was bought by a holding company of the hospital which is situated past the back end of the property.  This entity has worked to restore the cemetery—removing trash and debris, righting fallen headstones, refinishing metal markers, etc. However, they also relocated well over 2,000 burials from the back of the cemetery to the front in a mass grave. There is now a large memorial featuring granite slabs carved with the names of those moved.

img_8296

Most of the names are preserved, but most of the original headstones are gone. There are some lined up behind the memorial and still others left lined up in the overgrowth at the back of the cemetery. For genealogists and others seeking information on their ancestors, the lack of stones is a detriment—gone are full birth dates, place of birth or death, and familial connections. I understand what a burden it can be to try and care for a cemetery that has been neglected, but I still fill the sting for those with family buried here.

There are still many stones covered with bamboo, small trees, and vines. Perhaps a second visit in winter is in order.

Lyndon Center Cemtery – Vermont

This week I visited Lyndon Center Cemetery in Lyndon, Vermont. From findagrave.com, I knew there were at least several thousand burials here (likely more).

I made a quick visit to get an idea of the scope and figure out how much I might be able to photograph on subsequent visits. I brought my dog with me as the cemetery rules allow leashed dogs. I struggled to take many pictures with an excited dog in tow, but I took a few snaps that gave the general lay of the land.

Lydon Center Cemetery begins at the bottom of a hill and gently slopes upward before reaching a small plateau. From there, the cemetery landscape rises at a sharper angle, with small terraced plots. I have no idea how they keep it mowed, but it’s a beautiful place.

Fernwood Cemetery: The Importance of Research

IMG_5149

I’ve talked before about how to research burials at Fernwood Cemetery in Lansdowne, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. One of the things I always stress to people researching burials there is to take the time to contact the cemetery office—via phone or mail—to inquire about burials and to hopefully receive valuable genealogical information.

The office staff is very helpful and will give you the location of a burial within the cemetery (section and plot) and will provide a cemetery and section map via mail. If you ask nicely, they will likely also send you a photocopy of the burial ledger which indicates:

  • The first and last name of each individual buried in the plot, with middle initial if known
  • Age at death
  • Burial date
  • Location of the grave within the plot
  • Name of the lot owner
  • And sometimes, extra details such as whether there is a stone, size or shape of the lot, etc.

The image above is a cropped version of one of these burial ledger sheets. You can often discover new ancestors—or at least new mysteries to research—by obtaining these records. Many cemeteries will provide this information, sometimes for free and sometimes for a small fee, if you’re willing to make the call or spend the spare change on a stamp.