Cemetery Records can lead to many discoveries. With FindAGrave and Billion Graves providing such an invaluable service, we sometimes forget that there might be a few more details in the layout of the family plot than can truly be shown on these websites. I was surprised that my mother left me a terrific clue from her research back in the ‘old days.’
In reviewing mom’s genealogical documents from the 1970s, I discovered one record that outlined the names of persons buried in the family plot where mother’s parents would be laid to rest (in the ‘vacant’ spots on this document). Now, this isn’t the original record from the cemetery but notes that mom created in 1976 after calling the cemetery.
|Mom’s Handwritten note detailing information about Philip Smith’s plot in Green Lawn Cemetery|
Today, I’ll focus on the head of the family and how this record leads to the discovery of his parents. The following details I had gathered for Philip Smith:
b. about 1830
d. 1916 in Ohio, last residence was Columbus
buried in Green Lawn Cemetery (has no stone)
He married Catherine Dague about 1852 in Franklin County, Ohio
The plot record suggested that Philip had additional relatives that the family had forgotten in my grandmother’s generation.
wife: Mary E Smith (1834-1899)
son: Orlando Smith (1865-1928) and his wife Clara (1869-1927).
In reviewing this note, I initially thought Mary E buried in this plot might be Catherine Dague but I soon realized that they were separate individuals. I wasn’t entirely sure if Orlando was the son of Catherine or Mary.
Andrew and Orlando were brothers according to the 1870 US Census with the mother as Mary. I discovered that Catherine Dague Smith lays buried in the Dague family plot in Smith / Union Cemetery. (I’ve written more about this here). Catherine’s death date and a marriage record for Andrew and Mary indicate that Andrew was Catherine’s son and Orlando’s was Mary’s.
Ancesetry.com had a member tree that has Catherine and Philip on their tree. This tree was sourced and had a first name for Philip Smith as Leon. I used this as a clue to flesh out more clues. Guess what! That tree was right but neglected to mention how it was correct.
I searched FamilySearch.org for the actual image for Leon Philip’s death certificate. In examining the Ohio Deaths 1840- 2001 which contains the death certificates in electronic form, I found my clue.
The informant is Mrs. Harry H Long. That is my 2nd great grandmother Lura Maude Smith! Lura and her husband Harry Howard had cared for Andrew Nelson Smith for a time after his second wife died. To see her name on Leon Philip Smiths’s death certificate confirmed that indeed he was my 4th great grandfather and had a different first name than I suspected.
Leon Philips’ death record provided me with two more ancestors for my tree: David Smith and Elizabeth Browning. Now, I may have to stop thinking of this man as Philip and use his first name of Leon.
Or do I? My grandfather Robert Victor Zumstein went by his middle name in his profession as a professor at Ohio State University. Maybe I can still think of this ancestor as Philip since he used that name often in his adult life.