Thursday, June 07, 2018

Prickly Summer: Vexatious Gravestones

Baby Albert Beattie, photo by Midge Frazel
Prickly Summer: Vexatious Gravestones

Many people are concerned about the accuracy of the gravestones they photograph. We all hope that this last part of an ancestor's timeline is correct. Many times it is not. The stone may not be even "set" at graveside for many months or years. 

My parents and paternal grandparents are buried (with headstones) close to but not in the same plot as Georgina and her baby son. The baby son's headstone is definitively older that the gravestone placed after 1953 to mark her grave. Cemeteries are not necessarily responsible for the names and dates of those stones. They are paid for by estates and family members. With divorce, annulments and multiple marriages no proof is required when purchasing a stone.

In this case, Georgina had children (and now later generations) with her first husband and no children with her second husband. Her family wanted to put Beattie on the stone because that's how she was known to that generation. 

My parents put up their own gravestone and my mother did not bother to put her maiden name on it. 

However, newspapers and funeral homes should offer the correct information. We have to hope that it is correct. 

I can tell you that Georgina's obituary and her death notice are correct.

I have ancestors who were buried with first husbands because that is how their children wished them to be remembered. 

Is this a prickly situation for many researchers? Yes.

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