Monday, November 19, 2012

Some good luck in the graveyard

I took a trip home to Pennsylvania last month (and got trapped by Hurricane Sandy!). My extended stay was the perfect opportunity for my mom and I to go on the hunt for some family graves.

Earlier in the month, my mom had gifted to me a genealogy treasure--a battered metal box containing the Mass cards, flower list, and guest book from my great grandfather's funeral. Finding any information about this particular branch of the family tree is rare. The oldest living person is my maternal grandmother, who seems neither interested in, nor particularly knowledgeable about, our family history. This funeral box was from her father, Martin Hannigan's, funeral. It also contained the deed to the burial plot, and dates of interment for both of Martin's parents1. Jackpot.

Armed with the knowledge that these three family members were buried together at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham, PA, I told Mom we were going visiting. (Sidebar--how the hell do you say Sepulchre? I have no idea, so I'm going with Holy Sep, as the cemetery staff referred to it). This cemetery is still in use, and the woman working in the office was kind enough to copy the information on our family for us.

This is the headstone for my second great grandmother, Mary Gilbride Hannigan. Her husband, John, and son, Martin, are buried in this plot along with her. Martin evidently chose not to have his father's name added to the tombstone. My grandmother did not add Martin's name either, for reasons unknown to me. She speaks very highly of her father, and he died unfortunately young. Graves without headstones are incredibly sad to me. We have quite a few in our family. I am thinking perhaps I will add Martin's name to the stone. I would like him to be properly remembered.
1Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham, PA, Burial record (1961), Martin Hannigan.

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