Thursday, September 29, 2016

Genealogical Journey: Surprises Kept Me Searching

The ancestors are always teasing me:  pack of napkins I found in a grocery store parking lot.  Photo credit:  Michele Lagoy
Great-great-grandma Elizabeth Sullivan was buried in her son James' ( 1853-1907) family plot.  James was my great-grandfather Charles' brother.  The strategy of researching my ancestor's siblings was paying off in spades.  Not only was I meeting more relatives, I was finding ancestors.  St. Peter's Cemetery in Staten Island, NY had my great-great-grandmother listed as Elizabeth O'Sullivan in their records.  Via the Emigrant Savings Bank records, I had previously learned that her maiden name was O'Regan.  Our ancestors had a bank account but I haven't found the money yet, so calm down family. With the date of the burial information from the cemetery, I could narrow down a search for her death record in the New York City death certificate database.  One result came up for an Elizabeth O'Sullivan who died in November of 1899. The luck of the Irish struck again!  I ordered a copy of her death certificate and impatiently waited for it to arrive.

Relationship Summary
Lagoy, Michele Ann's grandmother's uncle is Sullivan, James S.
Sullivan, Denis
1815 - 1880
Elizabeth Sullivan (1826-1899) was married to Denis Sullivan  and is my great-great-grandmother
Sullivan, Charles Joseph
1856 - 1902
Sullivan, James S.
Sullivan, Mary Bernadette
1896 - 1964
Lagoy, William Paul, Jr
Lagoy, Michele Ann

Details:Lagoy, Michele Ann's father's mother's father's brother is Sullivan, James S.

Names: Lagoy, Michele Ann father Lagoy, William Paul, Jr mother Sullivan, Mary Bernadettefather Sullivan, Charles Joseph brother Sullivan, James S.

In the meantime, I put in a request on the Find A Grave website to have the headstone photographed. I was not impatient about getting this photograph because I knew I would eventually get back to Staten Island myself, or ask my cousins to photograph it during one of their visits to the cemetery.  
( By that time, my second cousin Charles, who goes by Tim, had moved from across the street from the cemetery or I would have asked him to photograph it.)  Find A Grave had an event that they called Community Days. It consisted of asking people to fulfill photo requests made to the site by going to cemeteries and photographing headstones with the information provided by the requester. Christine answered the request that I had posted.  Once again, the kindness of strangers prevailed. Christine lived in the vicinity of the cemetery and regularly walked her dog there.  This was her fist time fulfilling a photo request on Find A Grave and I was glad that she chose mine.  ( The ancestors must like Christine and her dog. )  She initially had some trouble locating the headstone as each section of the cemetery was not clearly marked and the cemetery office that might have been able to help, was closed on the weekend.  A flurry of email exchanges between us finally got her there.  I figured the grave was near Section XX where my great-grandparents were buried, so I advised her to use the Clove Road entrance where the words "Saint Peter's Cemetery 1848" were written on a stone pillar.  I suggested she check near the lake for Section 33, for which there was no signage.  Arliene Sullivan, Jack's wife, was interred there four months earlier so I suggested she look for grass that was not as grown in as much as on the other plots.  That did the trick!  Racing to get back to the cemetery before night fall, Christine took several photographs of the main headstone and the two adjoining ones.  I emailed the photos to Cousin Bill and he sent her a thank you email as well.  I had found a great-great-grandparent's grave that led me to a death certificate that I hoped would provide me with the names of yet another generation of ancestors.

Grave stone of my Great-great-grandmother Elizabeth O'Sullivan and her son James' descendants and their spouses.  Photo credit:  Christine B. as part of Find A Grave's Community Day

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