Posted by: downtothesea | February 19, 2009

Another joyful family reunion, cemetery-style.

On Sunday last, on my way home to visit my folks in Massachusetts, I drove through Niagara Falls again.  Of course, I had to stop and poke around St. Mary’s/ Sacred Heart Cemetery again to see if I could reproduce the fantastic luck I’d had a few days before finding the grave of my great-great-great grandparents, Michael and Elizabeth Gavin!

It was a lovely sunny but chilly day, just a smidge below freezing–perfect, really, for a nice walk through a graveyard.  Though the mud from the thaw had almost frozen entirely, I played it safe and parked my car faaaaaaaaar away from the muddy carriage tracks in the center of the cemetery that almost trapped me on Thursday.

I hiked all the way down the northern side of the graveyard, with no success locating any more Gavins or a single McCabe.  So I switched to the southern side and began trudging back up to my car.  One quarter of the way back I found my great-great grandparents, Michael Gavin Jr. and his wife Ellen, along with assorted children and Michael’s second wife, Annie.

gavinsjr

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“Great!”  I said to myself, “Now all I have to do is find the McCabes!”

And not 300 feet later, I did.

mcccabes

I had indeed found my other set of Irish great-great-great grandparents Thomas and Ellen McCabe and my great-great grandfather Owen McCabe, but I discovered to my horror that I could just barely make out their epitaphs!  The gravestone was sandstone and 120 years of Western New York winters had taken a hard toll on the inscriptions.

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It was only by tracing my finger along the shallow letters that I was able to “read” the inscriptions and learn that the McCabes were natives of County Sligo, Ireland.  I am so intensely grateful that I happened upon the stone now and not twenty years from now–the sandstone epitaphs will not last much longer, I’m sure.

And that’s what I’d call a fine week’s work in genealogy.  Not only have I discovered the counties of origin of the Gavins (Clare) and the McCabes (Sligo), I’ve also found their graves.

I feel a great sense of peace having found them.  I know that even if I never uncover another piece of genealogical information about them, I always know where they are and where to visit them, and this is, in a way, the ultimate goal for me.  I can stand in the graveyard grass beside my ancestors and be together with them at long last.

Such a hopeless romantic, me!

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Responses

  1. This must have been an exciting day for you, Amy! To walk amidst the graves of your ancestors – and in such beautiful sunshine this time. No less memorable than the rain and mud, and certainly easier to navigate away from in your car. :)

    Thanks for sharing your joy and your great photos.

    Lisa
    100 Years in America
    Small-leaved Shamrock
    A light that shines again
    Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture

  2. Hi, I have awarded you the Kreativ Blogger badge, you can come by http:/AncestralNotes.blogspot.com and pick it up. Great blog!
    Earline

    • Oh my gosh! Thank you Earline!!

  3. ive just read your blog on finding you ancestors graves. Lucky lucky you. I also have my grandmother from sligo Mary mckeown, but can i find anything about her family NO. All i know is word of mouth from my dad. She never left Ireland and her 5 sons only Dad got wed but boys dont ask the noisy questions girl ask. girls want to know, boys have no inquisitive gene. maybe one day someone will tell me something. .Maria

    • Haha! I know just what you mean about boys having no inquisitive gene! Every time I show my father some new bit of family information I’ve dug up, he says “You know, Amy, I’ve learned more about our family in two years with your research than I did the whole 60 years before!” Geez Dad, that’s because you didn’t ask any questions!

      Thanks for reading and for your comment!
      -Amy


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