Saturday, October 13, 2012

Visiting Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

One of the greatest short stories to be born out of New York is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving in 1820; available on Google books []. The story of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow stirs fearful images in the minds of children and adults alike; the ride of the Headless horseman. But the real life Sleep Hollow Cemetery is the resting place for literally thousands of souls that called the area home. Death is scary, cemeteries can be seen as scary or at least sad, but that is not really how I see them...

A few days ago I wrote about the importance of tourism. I believe if you want to be successful in your family history research you must learning about the history of the place in which your ancestors lived. Today I am headed up to Tarrytown, New York where the legendary cemetery is located. My friends and I are off to experience an event known as Blaze; an exhibit of over 5,000 jack-o-lanterns. On the journey, though, we plan to stop at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. There are literally dozens of famous individuals interned there; and many other ordinary individuals. While there I will look for the grave of my great grandmother's 1st cousin; Frances Klementina Calder.

Frances Calder was born on June 27, 1903 to Edward Calder and Fannie Prinz-Calder and died on August 3, 1904; so sad, she was only 13 months old. She is interned in the children's section of the cemetery; Lone Valley, section 43, row R, grave 15, between plots belonging to Galligher and Griffin. Frances died of colitis in Irvington, NY. The undertaker was C. Vanderbilt; which makes me think of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the wealthy railroad tycoon for whom Vanderbilt University in Tennessee is named for; but trust me, it is not him. Vanderbilt is just a good ole New York Dutch name.

I learned all this information through documents shared by a researching cousin I met via is great for that! When I saved a record from Ancestry there was a note that another Ancestry member had saved the same record. It was through that that Carol and I connected. She shared with me the family tree that she had compiled for my great grandmother's line, the Prinz Family and in turn, I shared with her what I had gathered about the same line.

I knew my great grandmother, Mary Prince-Fay; that is to say that I met her once or twice when I was a small child. Mary was born October 15, 1893 in New York, New York and died on July 17, 1983 in Florida at the age of 89; I was 9 at the time of her death. Mary would have been 10 at the time her infant cousin, Frances, died. I am not sure if she would have attended the burial of this child but I am sure she would have known about the child's passing.

As morbid as it may sound, I like to visit the graves of those ancestors of mine that do not have direct descendants; those that did not have children of their own. Often these people were children themselves. I like to go because I feel that through the generations these people tend to be forgotten. Yet, I know that the death, the loss of a child, greatly impacts a family.

...I see cemeteries as the permanent residences of lives gone by. I'm simply going to visit a remind her she was loved.

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