Sunday, October 7, 2012

Speaking of Memorial Cards...

This is the oldest memorial card I own; Ann Gray died April 14, 1904. Two or three years ago my paternal grandmother, who everyone calls Nanny, gave a bunch of memorial cards to me. This was among them.

Now my Nanny was born in 1929. Her mother was only a very small child in 1904; great-grandma was born in 1899. Therefore this memorial card had to have come from my grandmother's grandmother, Agnes Gray-Sauer (my father's mother's mother's mother - for those of you drawing charts). Agnes Gray-Sauer was born in 1871 and died in 1941. I believe this to me the memorial card for Agnes Gray-Sauer's mother; Anna Hughes-Gray.

Note that these women never really hyphenated their last names. This is a modern day convention that I use to keep track of my female ancestors.

According to Ann's memorial card she was 68 years old when she died in 1904 placing her birth in about 1836. According to her death certificate though, Ann was 60 years old at the time of her death. I am not sure which date is correct but for my records I use the later, 1844, as her year of birth. 

I do not own a copy of Ann's death certificate; #14429 Manhattan 1904 from the City of New York. I have, however, observed the document at the New York City Municipal Archives at 31 Chamber's St. in Manhattan. 

The New York City Municipal Archives is a treasure for anyone who had ancestors who lived in New York City; and not just Manhattan but all of the boroughs; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. My next entry will be on how to use this research facility; for now though, more on Ann Gray.

From her death certificate I have noted many facts. Ann died after having suffered from pneumonia for about a week. Her parents names were Terrence and Eleanor Hughes; no maiden name was given for her mother. Ann lived at 542 East 11th St. in Manhattan but was born in Ireland. According to the death certificate she had lived in the U.S. for 54 years placing her date of immigration at about 1850. She is interned at Calvary Cemetery which I have visited many time but have not yet seen her grave-site. I will soon...I promise.


  1. My grandfather HOARDED memorial cards, but many of them pre-date him by easily 20 years, so I think his mother was the real hoarder...while many of them belong to family friends, neighbors, and of course, parish priests, a few have been obscure relatives and extremely helpful in extending the family tree branches.

  2. What a gift! I still have a few that I am trying to figure out how they are connected to the family. I'm grateful for the ones I have.