Now I Know Who Is Dorothy Banta

Smith Family Plot, Section 46 Lot 79 in Green Lawn Cemetery Photo by Devon Lee

A few years ago, I asked the question, “Who is Dorothy Banta?” This large monument appeared to be a family but I wasn’t sure. Previously I stated this:

I’ve been able to identify Helen G Smith as the daughter of Perry W and Minnie E Smith. So Perry and Minnie are the parents on this stone and are flanked by their daughter Helen. I haven’t confirmed whether Harold is the son of Perry and Minnie Smith. But it seems likely given the ages.

The Smiths and Bantas are a part of a service project I did while on a research trip for my family members. As such, the urgency to flesh out the mystery was not a top priority. Recently, I have dabbled with this photography project again and I wanted to see if I could make headway on ‘who is Dorothy Banta?’.

The first trigger was that Dorothy’s FamilySearch profile had a hint to a GenealogyBank obituary. To see the obituary, I need a GenealogyBank account. I haven’t purchased a subscription to the site, but I remembered that one of my readers had previously provided information she had discovered on GenealogyBank. I wasn’t sure if the hint on FamilySearch was the same information that my reader had discovered, so I asked a Google+ community if someone would double check to see if there was anything new. There wasn’t. On one hand, I felt bad for wasting time but on the other, I like having a second pair of eyes double check rather than make assumptions. So, I knew I could attach the GenealogyBank hint to Dorothy’s FamilySearch Person Page because of this confirmation by others. And I also confirmed the obituary was really just a brief death notice and no information was added from the newspaper entry.

There is a Green Lawn Cemetery Burials index available as a free service provided by Joe Fleshman. What’s great about this site is that it has searchable text files linking many of the burials in Green Lawn Cemetery. This index will often have names that are not found on FindAGrave, as well as the intered individual’s father’s name. So, I checked that record set once more. There is no Dorothy Banta listed. Once again, I couldn’t determine the relationship of Dorothy to the people on the stone.

In the past, I found the Green Lawn Cemetery office staff less than thrilled to answer questions and solve mysteries. Yet, it has been several years. Perhaps they have someone new in the office who’d be happy to answer my query.

Sure enough! A lovely lady who loved that I opened my email request with “Howdy!” responded. She told me who Dorothy was. I’ll share that information with you.

“You are correct in that Dorothy is Perry and Minnie’s daughter.  Her death date is on her interment card, of which I’m sending you a copy.  Unfortunately, it shows her birth date is unknown.  She was the last to be buried in the lot, so those who made the arrangements may not have known it.

Dorothy’s spouse is named Henry, and he is buried in the lot with her.  Not sure why he isn’t shown on the memorial.  Perhaps she just couldn’t afford it.  Both Dorothy and Henry were cremated.”

Look at that! She answered my question and gave me more information (a husband named Henry). Not only that, she’s cremated. Something new to add to the story. Then, she went one step further and told me about Harold!

“Harrold (how it’s spelled on the interment card) is Perry and Minnie’s son who died when he was 2 3/4 of brain congestion.   

Dorothy and Perry are shown as part owners of the lot.  I believe Perry purchased the four spaces first, then Dorothy purchased the remaining two spaces in 1957, a couple of weeks after Helen was buried. 

I’ve attached a copy of everyone’s interment card – there may be useful info on them.”

As the employee said, she attached the interment cards for everyone. I attached these records to the profiles I was finally and confidently able to link on I have also linked these individuals on

What a treat to have someone who loves digging through the details working at Green Lawn Cemetery! I’m glad I was able to determine who Dorothy is. Though she’s not a direct relative, I hope some day one of her relatives will stumble upon her and feel a small sense of gratitude for this crazy genealogist who wanted to piece together this mystery. And even if that never happens, I like to think Dorothy is grateful I took the time to learn more about her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *