11 July 2015

Reclaiming Lost Relatives Gravesites

As I begin to wind down my projects at Albany Rural Cemetery with rehabbing my ancestors gravesites that have fallen into disrepair; today I had ambitions of reclaiming 5 gravestones of my ancestors in Section 100. Today, my father and I retrieved 2 out of 5 stones. My relatives and their accompanying gravestones were previously located in the old Gibbonsville Cemetery in Watervliet on what is now property of the Watervliet arsenal. In 1918, the cemetery property was sold to the United States government. The cemetery was overgrown and not taken care of and at the same time the arsenal wished to expand its grounds. It would appear to be a win - win situation for the city of Watervliet and for the arsenal. After the cemetery property was sold, the interments and gravestones were removed to a section of Albany Rural Cemetery for re-burial. Over the past 97 years gravity has worked its wonders and the gravestones have sunken into the ground upwards of almost 10 inches.

Below are a series of photos of the work in progress. The first stone that I recovered was of Amanda Hitchcock, daughter of Capt. John Hitchcock and Harriet Palmer. John was an older brother of Samuel Hitchcock, my gggggg grandfather. The photo of Amanda's stone was after the project was completed.

Amanda Hitchcock 

The next few photos are from the recovering efforts of Louisa Martel Hitchcock's gravestone. Louisa was an adopted daughter of Alexander Hitchcock and Abigail Irena Hanks. Alexander was a younger brother to my gggg grandfather, Aistroppe Robinson Hitchcock.

Below is a photo of excavating the stone. It was almost 10 inches deep.

The next two photos are of my father cleaning the mud off the stones after they were removed from the ground.

The ground, refilled, tamped down, and leveled; awaiting placement of the gravestone in the exact spot where it was previously located; only now raised to the surface.

Louisa's gravestone placed, leveled, and surrounding area re-graded.

Project done! Three more gravestones to reclaim.

Irish Parish Records Online

The hottest topic on the genealogical circuit today is about Irish parish records going online for free. Yes, the National Library of Ireland has digitized almost 400K images from its Catholic parish records holdings. The dates of their Catholic parish registers are from 1740-1880s and cover almost 1100 parishes. This is a very significant event. The registers have been available for viewing since the 1970s; but you had to visit the library in Dublin. Now they are available for free and searchable anytime. To get to the registers directly, they are online at http://registers.nli.ie/

Before using the site be prepared by knowing your ancestors parish. Without that information you will trudge through thousands of images and still possibly not find your ancestor. I have used the site with limited success. As of today, my search for a particular gg grandmother has turned up empty but I did find one of her brother's marriage records and another brother's baptism record.

Some of the images are very grainy and some very very faded making for an extremely difficult translation of the records. All images in this collection are not created equal, some are pristine while others are un-readable. Check them out and good luck hunting!

Below are images of a marriage record for my gg granduncle, Thomas Cummins and a baptism record for his brother, Martin Cummins. The records were found in the pages for the parish of Aughrim in County Roscommon.

Thomas Cummins & Anna Cox marriage record

Martin Cummins baptism record