It also happens that the second wife (Catharine Moyer Brane) of my great-great-great grandfather is buried in the cemetery in this small town. I knew my day would be full with planned events at the college but I really hoped to find time to slip away to visit the cemetery and grab a photo. The temptation to do so was incredibly overwhelming (as I'm sure all of you can understand!)
My opportunity came just after lunch when my youngest would be sitting in on a class. If I skipped the Admissions Panel meeting I would have 70 minutes to locate the cemetery, find Catharine in the cemetery and take that photo. Having attended a similar panel discussion at the same college a little more than 1 year ago was my justification for skipping out. And when my oldest told me he knew just where the cemetery was because he ran there and back everyday (3 miles) that sealed the deal!
I had no trouble locating the cemetery from the directions my oldest gave me but when I first saw it, my heart sank. I don't know what I was thinking! I guess I thought, small town, small cemetery. But that was not the case. It may be that this is the only cemetery in town because it is large. And the only information I had in my head was her name and an approximate date of death. There was no way I could walk this cemetery in the time allotted.
I did a quick drive through and determined where the oldest part of the cemetery was, section 1, parked the van and began walking the rows. After about 15 minutes of this the sexton pulled in and asked me if he could help me find a stone. Hallelujah! I thought I had been saved! Not so fast. His records showed that she was not buried there. Now I got the information that she was buried there from a volunteer on Find A Grave. I had total trust in this volunteers information and, besides, my gut told me she was there.
I continued walking section 1 and when time ran out, headed back to the college to pick up my youngest. Thank goodness both of my sons are used to their mom visiting cemeteries because when Andy got in the car I asked him if he would mined if I stopped into the town library to have a look at any records they had for the cemetery. He agreed and even offered to help! Again, being a small town, we had no trouble locating the library or finding the book we needed. On page 6 there she was, Catharine Brane. She was definitly buried there and now I had a section, 2B, and row number, 3, to work with. Our total time spent in the library was less than 15 minutes.
Back at the cemetery Andy quickly located section 2B and began calling off names. I looked on the photo copies I made for the section and none of those names appeared. I began to get frustrated and nearly gave up when Andy yelled out from section 3 that he had found one of the names. And then he found another and another until he located this one:
Next to her was her son Jesse, daughter Mary, son William and one row over, daughter Sarah and her husband! Andy's good eyes had saved the day and got me the photo I came for.
So what did I learn from this case?
1. Do your research before heading to the cemetery. If I had made that stop into the library before heading directly to the cemetery I would have saved myself a second trip. It only took 15 minutes to find the record but I spent over 70 minutes walking the cemetry.
2. Listen to your gut instinct. Even though the sexton said she wasn't buried there and the library records had her in a different section, I "felt" like she was there. Following that instinct and searching out other records was crucial.
And I guess it also doesn't hurt to have a younger pair of eyes with you! Thank you, Andy, for finding her stone and thank you Catharine Moyer Brane for another lesson learned.