Saturday, January 7, 2012

The search for a gravestone - Edward A. Hanson & Sarah J. Randall

I’ve been delving into my Hanson line again lately after several months of putting it on the back burner due to a brick wall I’ve run into regarding my 5th great grandfather Andrew Hanson. As I’ve started to look at the information again, I’ve been reminded of a discovery made a number of years ago regarding my 2nd great grandparents Edward Hanson & Sarah J. Randall which always puts a smile on my face.

In 2008 I decided to take a genealogical road trip to Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts to locate the grave of Edward & Sarah. For those who have never been to Pine Grove, I cannot recommend a visit enough. Not only is it a large, old cemetery, but it also has the most beautiful trees lining its roadways and paths. While there, I became accustomed to seeing people strolling throughout the cemetery recreating and just enjoying the lovely landscape.

I quickly located Barberry Path where Edward & Sarah along with their daughter Harriett Kenyon are buried. The burial information I had received from the cemetery said their grave was at 23 Barberry Path so I slowly started walking down the path looking for their names on headstones

Before I knew it I was clearly at the end of the path and had not seen the headstone. So, I walked back to my starting point, thinking I may have missed it. No dice. I must have walked the entire path back and forth at least six times. What was further throwing me off was I didn’t see any clear open spaces that would signify a missing stone. The only space in between stones was a large shrub, however as it was right next to another stone I initially didn’t think much of it.

Finally after walking by the shrub several more times and not being able to locate the stone, I decided to peer into the shrub as a last ditch effort before calling off my search in frustration.
Much to my pleasant surprise, tucked deep within the cedar shrub was the headstone!

I was torn between seriously clipping back the shrub (and yes, I was lucky to have clippers in my car from stewardship activities earlier in the week) or just leaving it the way it was. In a way I felt the shrub represented my ancestors having perhaps having grown from their remains. In the end I compromised and opened it up just enough so other relatives could find the site, but left it overall intact out of respect for Edward, Sarah and Harriett.


  1. Good for you! Keep telling those stories!

    Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  2. Hi Michael - genealogical road trips - love 'em. And yes, trawling through cemeteries looking for the elusive headstone - what fun. You have some really interesting surnames there. Have fun blogging.

  3. Nice to meet you Michael. Welcome to the world of blogging.

  4. Thanks Dr. Bill! I do hope to start some of the daily blogging themes - they look quite interesting.

  5. Alex - thanks for the comment. Yeah, genealogical road trips are a passion of mine. Having most of my ancestors in the northeast makes it easy to do short(ish) trips to Canada and such which are lots of fun. Although on my list are trips to my ancestral Auger home in France and to my wife's ancestral home of Cigelka, Slovakia.

  6. Kathryn - pleasure meeting you as well. Thanks for the kind words!

  7. Your end result of clearing away the shrub to reveal the headstone looks very nice. Well done. You would not want it 'lost' in the middle of the growth.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  8. Theresa - thanks! I really tried to strike a balance, leaning towards doing as little as needed, so I'm glad it looked good to others as well. I need to make another trip there soon to do more trimming.