Monday, July 23, 2012

Brick Wall Falls With the Help of Strangers

Last week as I was scanning and inputting vital records into my genealogy program, I noticed I didn’t have the details of my Grandma Bonita’s interment in a cemetery.  I need to clarify who exactly Bonita was and wasn’t.  She was my Grandpa Henry’s (Hank) second wife, and Henry was Bonita’s second husband.  Since they were married long before I was born, I considered Bonita as “always my grandma.”

I keep a spreadsheet of my ancestors with the name and address of the cemetery; their birth, death, and interment dates; the Section, Lot, Block and/or Grave No. of where they’re buried.  Bonita’s death certificate had the name Saxon Cemetery, Saxon Wisconsin as to where she was buried.  Since my grandma’s section of the spreadsheet wasn’t filled out, I did a Google search of the cemetery name so I could call and ask for the interment date along with the Section, Lot, Block and Grave No.  Results: there wasn’t a cemetery by that name anywhere.

I then searched for any cemeteries near Saxon, Wisconsin.  Up popped about a dozen names.  I called the one that was closest to Saxon.  The cemetery doesn’t have an office but there was a Sexton that could take calls.  The Sexton wasn’t there but a very nice lady named Carol answered.  I told her my grandma’s name, Bonita Raminger, and death date.  She said she’d have to call me back after checking some books.  I continued to call some of the other cemeteries; no luck with any of them.

Carol called me back and said, “Yes, your grandmother was buried in the Lake View cemetery in Saxon.”  She read me the names and death dates that were in the same plot.  (Happy dance!)  I read her the name of the informant on the death certificate, which was Bonita’s daughter Loretta.  Carol knew Loretta’s daughters Sandra and Allison; in fact she contacted them for answers to questions so she could help me.  I couldn’t believe my luck!  This doesn’t happen to me, it happens to other people!

Carol gave Sandra my phone number and said I might be calling her.  When Carol called me back with the news, she gave me Sandra’s phone number.  I thanked her very much and turned around and dialed Sandra.  We talked a long time and reminisced about “our” grandma Bonita and grandpa Hank.  She used to spend some weeks during the summer with them and so did I, just not at the same time.

When I first began researching my family I would read about other people’s brick walls falling down with help of strangers.  I didn’t know I had a brick wall with Grandma Bonita but I’m sure glad it’s no longer blocking my path.

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