roadblocked, cemetery relocated, left unmarked graves, some records destroyed, others do not match up. Suggestions?

+4 votes
139 views
in Genealogy Help by Carla Vollenweider G2G Crew (440 points)
Look for obituary or death notce in local newspapers, check for obits  for other family members which often mention the deaths of spouses and chidren.
Thank you for reply. I have done all above as mentioned.  The cemetery records are destroyed, and section is left with unmarked remaining members.  Only those relocated are marked.  It’s the unmarked left behind nothing exists for. None of these people got relocated & no records exist. The church/cemetery is leaving undocumented.  This is my frustration. My family is somewhere in the shuffle of missing-moving-unmarked.

The cemetery where one of my great-greats and her children were buried was erased decades ago and became a railroad station.  Remains that were claimed within two months were relocated, the rest were simply removed elsewhere.  I have no official notification of their final resting place, but even where the reburials took place no longer exists as it was at the time of the removals.  Most of the graves are now beneath a low maintenance lawn, with a select few gravestones being given a place in concrete strips totally unrelated to any grave.  My family are not among those chosen few, so I have no idea where they lie.

All you can do is record what is known.  If the records are gone, or the cemetery is gone, make a note of that.  If there was a relocation, note it.  If, after the relocation, things changed again, not it.  If, in the end, you don't know where they lie (as with my folk), note it.  You can do it as part of the burial statement, if you have one, or under == Research Notes == (above the Sources header) to show others just what you have done, and where you have looked, to get information that is as accurate as possible.

Thank you Melanie, I had no idea how to use research notes! I am going to add what I have with sources! Very valuable TIP!

This isn't related to your burial/cemetery problem, but does illustrate just ONE way == Research Notes == can be used : https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Beer-1522

(He is a work in progress - and I still need to add sources to my research statements.)

4 Answers

+4 votes
Go with what you have.  How did you find out your family is buried there?  Record, Bible, family?  Use what you have to document their gravesites, just no plot location .
by Sandra Vines G2G6 Mach 6 (66.5k points)
Thank you for reply, my living mother recalls directly, and I have found some incorrect records, online, of dates and names that associate the family at the cemetery, but the trying to verify here and now has been very unsuccessful. This is what I want to validate and correct.
+6 votes
If you haven't checked with local and state Historical Societies, do.  Sometimes they have copies of old records that have been lost, missing, fires, etc.  They usually also have monthly journals that may have genealogically done some of these families in the past and they maybe within the journals.

Also Check with local History museums, and County /State level museums and Historians.  Check with local colleges within their history depts, genealogy dept, etc each of these places maybe a stretch but if this was an old cemetery there is bound to be someone or someplace that documented it, and its first inhabitants.  Also check with local mortuaries, someone at one of them, may have info on the cemetery, who owns it, or owned it etc.

If all of this brings nothing and you know there are unmarked graves, this needs to be brought to the attention of Historical Societies for 1. protection from destruction, and 2. Attention to National Historic Register w/questions about why some graves were moved that had names but others were just left unmarked and uncared about and what can be done to find out who these grave sites belong to and protection by fed level Historical Register

Starting an online platform to bring this to the attention of local ppl whose families may also be buried there in unmarked graves, and requesting exhumations for dna testing to match the dead to the local living is extreme, but might work if there is enough interest and pressure put on the local/county & state.  just some thoughts hope some of it helps

what is the name of the cemetary, and where was it originally located, please & thank you

oh and check with the local clerk of courts. you'd be surprised what they have in paper and on microfilm in some locations
by Arora Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (112k points)
edited by Arora Anonymous
Thank you very much for the additional information. I have confirmation there is unmarked graves, and the relocation took place, and have done personal searches. Proviso Cemetery, located in Hillside (Cook, County) Illinois is the original, est. 1880. They moved most to Immanuel Lutheran Ev. Cemetery in close proximity.  The School office administrator told me she had no knowledge there was any unmarked graves out front of the school building, and I told her it was all on the internet.  She had been a long time employee.  I could never get confirmation on my family members location, and was told records were destroyed in a church fire.  Even by google maps, it appears as a grass area, and does not appear that a public memorial designates any remains are in the area.
Carla, I'll do some basic searching that I seem to do pretty well, give me a few names as well please.  Also I think you should contact this office as I think these are the experts that will most likely be needed to get this situation corrected and protected.

https://experts.illinois.edu/en/publications/archaeological-resource-management-in-the-forest-preserves-of-coo

& here is another State Level Agency to contact-

https://www2.illinois.gov/dnrhistoric/Preserve/Pages/Archaeology.aspx

believe this the appearance of google maps as grassed over is not unusual in the US where old cemeteries and unmarked graves are concerned. it happens more than ppl realize.  In Europe thru a video I found the remains of a king had been found under a parking lot! and it was dna testing that confirmed the bones connected to a living descendant in Canada! the descendant was flown over for the proper reburial of a King. ( I just mean I was able to locate the original burial place and then the new burial that was not yet on wikitree, just by thumbing thru online videos randomly.).  now this situation is a little different since noone seems to be looking into this..but this may not be true either, you may not be the first to question this, so again, maybe create a letter, or a website or place on multiple platforms "seeking those whose relatives of the 1800s may have been buried in old Proviso cemetery, BUT were not relocated Because of No Headstones"..." please contact me"  this may bring you some other infos that you don't have and the more noise the more attention the state and county and historical are likely to be.  A local college with Archaeology Dept maybe interest if they have the hand or machine scanners that can scan for possible bones /graves below the surface, and they maybe willing to take a look at this as a learning exercise for their students at no cost to you or others.

if you get no answers from all of this, I would actually try the Time Team Archeaological group. They are in Europe but have flown to the US with their equiptment multiple times to determine if some historical location is below the surface of a "field". https://www.youtube.com/user/timeteamdigital?app=desktop

if you get no answers from all of this, I would actually try the Time Team Archeaological group. They are in Europe but have flown to the US with their equiptment multiple times to determine if some historical location is below the surface of a "field". https://www.youtube.com/user/timeteamdigital?app=desktop

-

Time Team also had an American setup - I'm not sure if they are still active, as I have only seen two series broadcast.

Time Team Britain stopped broadcasting after 20 years of shows, but some members are active on stalkbook (fb), or have websites of their own, or are mentioned on the websites of their associated universities, so may know how to advise, or help.  An excellent suggestion!  The website : https://timeteamdigital.com/

(Strange thing, as I am posting this I am listening to series five (for about the 30th time) on youtube.)

great link, I was unaware of this one! thank u Melanie!  I love their shows, I've collected a lot of historical and genealogical data thru what they've done.

I became a better researcher (still a LONG way to go) from watching Robin Bush, and also how thorough the archaeologists were on those shows.  I would love a one-to-one with Francis Pryor, or Phil Harding (preferably in jeans, not those teeny tiny shorts!), or Helen Geake.  Another historian I have watched is Lucy Worsley.  (It is amazing how much you can learn from these folk, that can be applied to family research).

I would love to have someone, anyone, tell me where my family were relocated, but I fear the records from then are gone, much as Carla is experiencing with her search.  The best I could do is note where they were originally buried, and let anyone else who cares (if anyone) look up the cemetery/cemeteries and chase it down. 

I agree on each of these ppl that you mentioned picking their brains is probably a ton of historical documentation perfect for genealogical profiles.  & shorts.. ewwh I kno right, lol

As for what you just said about your family final resting places, I'm thinking you and Carla should start a project ..for the Unmarked Graves and lost Burial Site Location(probably include in /as a subproject of Cemeteries if they don't already have something like this.)  Ive seen lots of videos on ytb of ppl walking hidden forgotten cemeteries all thru forests and mountain regions, maybe some of these ppl and their videos can help bring closure on some of the missing burial locations, if someone within "such a subproject Unmarked/Lost Burial Sites" existed.  just another thought.   I imagine that there are a lot of profiles in need of this sort of help.  And it might help to have free pages, catagories of these within wikitree because ppl doing searches off of wikitree may see a name or a cemetery listing thru a simple g-b-y-m or other search engines and click links to what you two have & be able to bring in more insite
Fred L Gath (AKA Fritz) b 1858 d 3/8/1935  

married 1881/82

immigrated 1883 Germany

Louisa Schulz Gath  b 1854 d 4/10/1917

immigrated 1883 Germany

Children: Paul F. 1883, Amanda 1886, Carl F. 1889  all records online including census are Illinois residence.

As for what you just said about your family final resting places, I'm thinking you and Carla should start a project ..for the Unmarked Graves and lost Burial Site Location(probably include in /as a subproject of Cemeteries if they don't already have something like this.)  Ive seen lots of videos on ytb of ppl walking hidden forgotten cemeteries all thru forests and mountain regions, maybe some of these ppl and their videos can help bring closure on some of the missing burial locations, if someone within "such a subproject Unmarked/Lost Burial Sites" existed.  just another thought.   I imagine that there are a lot of profiles in need of this sort of help.  And it might help to have free pages, catagories of these within wikitree because ppl doing searches off of wikitree may see a name or a cemetery listing thru a simple g-b-y-m or other search engines and click links to what you two have & be able to bring in more insite

-

It would need to be global, and under Cemeteries Project would be the place (if such a sub-project does not already exist) - as Carla's people are in Illinois, and mine were in Sydney (New South Wales).  I still have to discover the burial place - even if later removed - for my 3-greats-grandfather, as none of the records I currently have hold that information.  (I presume he was buried with his wife and their two babies, but I don't KNOW it.) 

OK, just to update, I have contacted several of the suggestions, including the ISU Archelolgy departments, and the Preservation Societies, who re directed me to the right channels, who told me to check libraries.  (in a nutshell)  I had already gone through the local Township, Proviso, and been sent to another, VIllage of Maywood, and leaving messages directly on voice mails.  It still leads to we don't know and it is not to our understanding WHO.   I have the exact names and dates, and even though it is posted INCORRECTLY on FindAGave, I can see the correct information on the IlSOS.gov website, and I am trying to get the Church/Cemetery to acknowledge this.  NOPE.  This is not in a little lost patch of grass.  It is pretty easy to verify, ON LINE except WHERE and WHY exactly and the actual project, and WHEN.  Never thought confirming would be so hard, but apparently out of sight out of mind, and when you are out of state... its not a concern.  OH this will get solved... I know there is a way!

I have the exact names and dates, and even though it is posted INCORRECTLY on FindAGave . . .

You can get that fixed - especially if there is no gravestone with different information. 

If all else fails maybe these ppl can help.

https://geomodel.com/applications/cemetery-and-grave-location/
Thank you Melanie, I have edited other family on F.A.G. in the past when I have found inaccurate information, but this I am going to leave, until I can get the church and cemetery to straighten out their records.   I know the state is accurate in death records, so HOW there is someone transcribing the graves on their property this far off, is on them.  I am sure my family isn’t the only one who’s not caught up in this, and sadly I’m afraid the remains have not been shuffled and lost in the moving and mix up.. leading to WHY the records, and placements are all SO WRONG.  I mean 30 years off, (which means there would not have been offspring born) it’s that incorrect.. so who really got relocated! Who is really where!
I am checking the GeoModel.com Inc site now.... thermal imaging is one of my favorite tools...
+4 votes
Depending on the year and the location, the local library may have records or there may be newspaper records available.  Newspapers from 1800 to 1900 may contain nuggets of information.

Click on Gould-2741.  A news clip listed my third great grandfather and his New Hampshire residence, upon the sad occasion when his 17-year-old daughter Ellen visited her older brother James in Vermont and drowned.
by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (180k points)
Janine thank you for bringin up newspapers and Library, I'm searching library possibities now for anything that might help
I have researched since March, made good use of my Covid at home work time. It is how I found out so much info on the Proviso Cemetery and NON relocating of so many interred residents.  I directed many calls to the Office, and no luck with new Cemetery.  Chased Census, Military, Death, Immigration records.  WIth all the common names, and German variations, I have been playing LEGOS instead of putting a puzzle together. Super easy then I am missing a the box to put them in? Who moved the box?
+3 votes
Check with the local county government, if the relocation was legally done there should be records.  There are rules and regulations regarding the relocation of graves. The rules and regulations vary by state and location.  A google search for the requirements for the location of your cemetery will give you an idea of the process and what records should be available.  The process usually involves permits, a court hearing, and some require an archaeologist to do a survey of the cemetery to locate marked and unmarked graves, and may require an undertaker to be there to see that remains are properly handled.  They would have also had to file as part of the permit process where the remains were going to be re-interred.
by Carol Wilder G2G6 Mach 5 (50.5k points)
Thank you Carol, I will call the county tomorrow as well. I did try the township clerks office, who sent me to another clerks office, and suggested the Mayor who is also a Historian, but still nothing confirming WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE or WHY.  Also suggested the Vital Stats Dept, and Funeral Homes. This was most likely LEGAL, because they were moved for County road expansion in the 1940's, to put in the massive I-229 Eisenhower Toll Road from Chicago to the west/northwestern suburbs.  Clearly a lot of construction went into road work and restructuring of many areas.  I am demanding information from the IDOT as well, but so far no return email.  I only want to know WHEN and WHERE and why this is this way and where the records are to who is where. No one has an answer.  Why some got moved and not others, only a few hundred yards.....
Carla, Also, contact the Illinois State Archives as they may have records.  I recently found records in the South Carolina Archives where graves were relocated by the state for the building of a damn across the Savannah River in the 1950's.  Since this was an Illinois state project and possibly federal project the State Archives may have records regarding the project.   Good luck.

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