How common is it to be buried in two cemeteries?

+5 votes

I must admit I was thrown off by this when I encountered it. One of the people in my tree Bjorg Synnove (Nyen) Steinhorst apparently was buried in two cemeteries across Wisconsin, in Dartford Cemetery in Green Lake, Green Lake County, where she grew up after emigrating with her parents from Norway, and Little Sister Cemetery in Sister Bay, Door County, where she last resided. The obituary from The Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI), dated December 8, 2005 states this. So my question is as the title suggests: How common is it to be buried in two cemeteries?

WikiTree profile: Bjorg Steinhorst
in The Tree House by Steven Greenwood G2G6 Mach 6 (69.2k points)
Not uncommon to have the body buried in one cemetery and a memorial stone erected in another cemetery ... sometimes it's a cenotaph or stele or even a bench to sit on (saw one) the reason being that the person is being honored for some contribution to the common weal -- sometimes a family will relocate the remains to a cemetery more favored, where other members of the family have also been placed, to "create" a "family cemetery" ... this latter reason is not often done --

However, it is not common to see this ... just that it is known to have occurred
That's what I usually encounter, like in cases of military deaths where they are buried overseas or the body is not recovered and in the States there exists a cenotaph recognizing them. But this seems different as the article cited said she was to be buried in both (at the same time). Like did they split the body?
If she were cremated, the ashes could be split.

In the case of an actual burial, I doubt very much if the authorities would allow a body to be divided.

I would guess that maybe a service was held at each place, not an actual burial.  It's more likely the "buried at" two cemeteries statement is incorrect, and that a plaque, or headstone, was to be erected at one place.

Without desecrating the body, it just isn't possible for a burial to be in two cemeteries miles apart.  (Exception being a heart separately buried.)
Well, Melanie, Steven, if I didn't have horrors before, you have certainly given me some ... ashes, okay, but a desecrated corpus, not okay
I obtained a copy of a woman's will and in it she instructed that a section of her carotid artery was to be buried with her son, who died many years before. The rest of her body is elsewhere.
Well, Susan, before my husband was cremated, we (my children and I) had been negotiating for his heart to be removed and dealt with separately so it could be taken to Australia for disposal there.  That was not to be, however, as he was subjected to post mortem investigation as the doctor wanted to find out just where the aggressive infection that killed him had its origins.  As a result, his remains were cremated in toto, and his ashes divided up before the larger portion were scattered.

So - it may not be common, but it does happen (just not as "half a body in this coffin, and the other half of the body in that coffin").
Well that was a gross simplification, now given I'm seeing other examples of how to bury separately. I am really curious by this particular instance and would like to find out just *what* was buried if any in each case.
It's not common but it happens. These are two well known examples from my corner of England

Thomas Hardy, the author wanted to be buried at Stinsford in his home village churchyard alongside his family. Powerful friends wanted a far more prestigious ceremony. He had two funerals at the  exactly the same time. His heart was removed and buried with a normal buial service in the Dorset  country churchyard.  His body was cremated and the remains were buried with all the pomp and ceremony of a near state funeral in Westminster Abbey. (that one may become  more puzzling to future  visitors. The memorial plaque at Poet's corner in the Abbey was recently replaced. The old one is now at Stinsford and discussions are ongoing about where to put it. )

The poet Percy Shelley died in 1822 in Italy. He was cremated but his wife Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (author of Frankenstein)  is said to have retrieved his heart and carried  it with her for the rest of her life. At her death in 1851 she requested burial with her parents in St Peters churchyard Bournemouth. They were already dead and buried in London. Their remains  were disinterred and reburied  with their daughter  in Bournemouth. The bag containing the Percy Shelley's heart is also said to be in the grave.
Several of my ancestors, particularly military who served in the civil war, were buried, disinterred, and reburied, some along with spouses. Most often, the original burial and marker were removed completely,. The policy on findagrave, as I was told, is not to distinguish  the memorials, unless managers choose to explain the situation in the bio.  I have one who was interred near the battlefield, disinterred, given a state funeral, buried, disinterred, and buried again.  The first burial has no memorial.   I don't know of a consistent policy.on wikitree.
Here's a thought: She was first-generation Norwegian-American. Is this more of a custom in countries like Norway?
I concur... I have experience this with military personnel who served in Southern Africa during the late 1800s early 1900s

8 Answers

+5 votes

At least in earlier times fairly common among the very upper classes in Europe:

by Living Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.9k points)

Much more extensive listing in the German Wikipedia (you can use Google Translate to render into English):

+5 votes

The left leg of Henry Hughes was buried in Strata Florida, Wales, after amputation.

He later emigrated to the United States, where the rest of him was buried.

Not really an answer to your question but a reminder that burials may occur at multiple locations for individuals.

by Anonymous Jones G2G6 Mach 1 (10.6k points)

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+8 votes
Another case is when a spouse dies and is buried with a double marker and the widower remarries. The original marker may be updated by family members long after the event.

Gravestones are suggestions not really proof of anything. There are fantasy tombstones for people who didn't even exist. Some children's graves, especially on private land, are actually for pets.
by Ron Moore G2G6 Mach 2 (21.4k points)
I'm sure that makes things even more difficult to verify. Oh the fun of being a genealogist.
+3 votes
Sometimes a spouse's name is added to a stone at the time of the first burial, but by the time the second spouse dies they have moved away and are buried in a different place. They were of course not buried in the first grave but it could appear that they were.
This can also happen because they remarry and decide to be buried with the second spouse.
by Christine Frost G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
+2 votes
My great grandmother was buried in one place and later moved to a different location in a family plot so there are accurate records listing both locations. Her remains are all in the latter location but the records would imply that she was buried in two locations.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+3 votes
I have a notorious distant cousin, Dick Broadwell, who rode with the Dalton Gang that robbed banks in Kansas. He died in a big shootout, and was buried in a grave there. A few days later his family came and quietly retrieved his remains, and buried him closer to home, but apparently in an unmarked grave maybe because of his shady past. It is not certain where his remains are today.
by Rob Neff G2G6 Mach 9 (91.2k points)
+1 vote

Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's left arm was buried after amputation.  

The fatal wounding of Gen. Jackson on May 2, 1863, is one of the most infamous cases of "friendly fire" in U.S. military history. The general and a small party were riding along the Old Mountain Road near Chancellorsville to scout the front lines. However, Confederate forces that heard his approach assumed Union troops were trying to attack and fired into the woods. Jackson died 8 days after he was wounded.

by Jo Gill G2G6 Pilot (123k points)
+2 votes
I've only come across this phenomena regarding soldiers, especially African-American Civil War Veterans, who were buried and later reinterred in a National Cemetery.
by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (647k points)

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