We started our adventure meeting our cousins at Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River. It's on Detroit Road and really easy to find. The staff in the office were very helpful - both on the phone ahead of time and in person that morning. Equipped with our maps and instructions, we headed out in search of great uncle Alfred. He was not in the first place we tried (imagine, that, two Alfred W. Andersons in one cemetery!) but we did find him, buried with his wife's family and his daughter and son-in-law.
In terms of aesthetics, Lakewood Park is very austere. All the markers are flush to the ground, making the cemetery feel more like a park than a graveyard. While it doesn't have a lot of character, it is filled with many Cleveland area dignitaries, including Dick Jacobs, former owner of the Cleveland Indians, so Uncle Alfred is in good company.
Alfred's wife, Jane, is buried between her first husband, Alfred, and her second husband, Albert.
In the small world department, Alfred's daughter, Betty (who was adopted by her step-father, Albert) was an Alpha Chi Omega at University of Michigan. She died earlier this year (read her obit here). I took her carnations, our Alpha Chi flower.
Betty is buried next to her mother's parents with her husband on her right.
They are all in the next row down from Alfred, Jane and Albert.
Next we drove over to Riverside Cemetery in Brooklyn Centre. It's right in the city, at the intersection of I-71 and 176. A much more traditional cemetery, it has all sorts of interesting monuments, statues and markers along with beautiful old trees and a massive gate house (photo, right) that is on the National Register of Historical Buildings.
I had spoken to a very nice woman in the office a few days before who had given me detailed instructions for finding great Uncle Victor, Alfred's younger brother, so we headed straight to that area.
It didn't take us long to find him and his wife, Ella:
Finding Ella was a new discovery. We knew they lived in Birmingham, Alabama, when he died in 1939, and that she brought him home to be buried in Cleveland. I had recently found her in the 1940 census living in an apartment in Lakewood but that was where the trail ended.
Victor and Ella are buried with Ella's family:
Ella's father and sister. Lizzie died at age 4.
Detail from Ella's father's stone. Her sister, Minnie, and her first husband are buried in the next row as well. Having Gessners in the family is another small world moment, as one of my first cousins on my Dad's side of the family is a Gessner by marriage. We'll have to see if they are all related.
The biggest surprise at Riverside was the wildlife. We saw a lot of deer, including this whole family. They really were less than 30 feet away from us! Cleveland definitely still is Forest City.
Our last stop on the cemetery tour was Monroe Street in Ohio City. It is the oldest cemetery on the West side of Cleveland with burials dating back to 1818. The gate house, shown on left, is no longer in service (the records are all at another city cemetery (and online)) and is falling down so the main entrance is closed. (It is being repaired.) There is a pedestrian gate to the left, down near the corner of West 30th Street.
Mom had been to visit Theodore, my great great grandfather, before, so we knew just where to look. He is buried in the far back corner from the pedestrian gate.
That's his stone, third to the left of the tree, with the shiny top.
His daughters (my great grandmother and great Aunt Thorence) purchased this marker (it is not the original from 1891, was there an original? We don't know). Grandma died in 1962 so it had to have been prior to that. Update 8/17: Mom says, "Great Grandpa never had stone. They wanted him recognized, so they bought the stone and put it there. I think it was in the 1950ies."
Over lunch at Great Lakes Brewing Company, we shared family stories and discussed all the mysteries we still have to solve. It was a lovely morning!