Oh, my! Grandpa Oleson why, oh, why, did you not keep records of our family cemetery?
The very first burials, which started in 1886 with one of my Oleson ancestors, were not plotted or recorded. After it became the Norwegian Cemetery, these early burials were called Section 15. Burials continued helter-skelter in Section 15 until almost 1930. Although the Olesons are in a tidy row and some families are surrounded with curbs or cornerstones. But the rest?
After it became the Winnetoon Cemetery, the newer part was broken down into lots and sections. There are many discrepancies…gravestones in alleyways, too close together, so many unmarked graves, stones slipping off their bases. The worst one is recorded on the map as “buried by mistake” with no name, no marker. Unbelievable!
So, I have spent most of my summer stalking graves in the Winnetoon Cemetery. I sneak there several times a week, recording every gravestone, returning again and again to recheck the information against the book and maps.
I called on a friend to “witch” the unmarked graves to see if they checked out with the records as to male or female, adult or child. Many people do not believe in witching. Yet, in each case he would give the correct reading without prior knowledge. He made a believer of me.
I have since put every Winnetoon burial (with the exception of eleven done by their family members) on Find A Grave. This is a small county cemetery with only 255 interred.
I got so involved with each person, their story and their family, as I searched for their obituaries. When I couldn’t find an obit, I went to Family Search and Ancestry to get relationships. For the majority, I did come up with information.
A real plus was finding some descendants via the internet. Not only have they added to the burial information and our Winnetoon Historical Society files, but some have become genealogy friends.
Find A Grave is such a wonderful way to honor our ancestors and help them be remembered, some decades after they died.
I already have my lot right beside my great-great grandparents. Now, I must get my obituary written, but I have a lot more research to do before I move in beside my departed family.
I have neatly recorded myself in the Cemetery book.