Aug 16, 2012

Unexpected Discovery At the Cemetery

A few weekends ago hubby and I made a trip to Mount Royal Cemetery to visit the graves of my parents and other relatives.  Always wanting to turn a cemetery visit into a genealogy visit I suggested we also stop at Allegheny County Memorial Park Cemetery which is only about 15 minutes from Mount Royal.  I had recently discovered my Uncle Martin Orth was buried there through the PA Veterans Burial Card Database.

I had the location of Martin's burial from the Veteran's card and it appeared he was in a mausoleum.  But it was a Sunday so the cemetery office was closed so we could not get specific directions to his burial. It turns out there are two mausoleums in the cemetery.  The first one is rather small and we were able to check all graves.  No Martin.  The second one located at the entrance of the cemetery is huge.  Some sections had numbers, others did not or were missing.  We quickly got overwhelmed with the size of the building and lost track of which hallways we went down and which we did not.

I finally accepted defeat and told my husband it was like finding a needle in a haystack.  We would come back on another visit AFTER I contacted the office for a explicit location.  He said fine, lets just walk down this last hallway.  As I was walking and looking at numbers at the end of the rows I said to myself "Okay ancestors, a little help would be appreciated".

As I looked to the left to check for a number I stopped dead in my tracks.  There at the end of the row was the name Jageman.  Not the name we were looking for but my husband's mother's maiden name.  It is not a common name either.  I grabbed hubby and we walked over.  It was a Richard and Mary Jageman.

I have not worked on his side of the family recently so I had to study the dates and think awhile.  But I knew they were definitely his ancestors, descendants of his grandfather's brother.  I have been trying to locate a death date and place of burial for this brother, Albert Jageman.  While we did not find Albert, there may be a good chance he is somewhere else in the cemetery.

It was rather a spooky discovery, especially after what I just said in my head to my ancestors.  I guess I didn't specify "which" ancestors I wanted help from!

I checked these names in my database when I got home.  The above are mother and son so I was curious--where is dad?  It turns out I had errors in my database.  The above Richard's father was Richard also.  But I had the marriage date to Mary as 1943--definitely something amiss.  With further research I discovered a second marriage the elder Richard (to a woman 20+ years younger in less than 4 months after his divorce from Mary).  Most likely why he is buried somewhere else.  I never would have found the error in my data if we had not accidentally come across these graves.  I kind of feel like they pointed us in their direction so I could set the record straight in my data (or I like to think so it is more fun!)

So when you visit a cemetery for what ever reason and no matter who you are looking for it pays to wander around a bit and keep your eyes open.  Never know who you will find.


  1. Spooky, in a good way. Lucky that you were a listener. I have always been a "listener" to those strange communications that seem to be beyond this world. Spooky, but good.

  2. Glad to hear I am not alone in being a "listener". I always listen to those "gut feelings" in genealogy. Agree--spooky but good.