Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sharing "Common-Place: Tales from the Vault" about Sylvia Lewis Tyler buried at the Vienna Township Center Cemetery in Trumbull County, Ohio.


To help celebrate the brand new year, I thought I would share an account about a 30 year diary and its author that was the subject of story by Alden O'Brien in her Tales from the Vault

Sylvia Lewis Tyler, the author of the diary, also has a memorial posted for her on "Find A Grave" that lists the names of her children.

If you are up for a good read this last day of the old year that just might hold your interest enough to extend into your new year, may I suggest settling down with this story.  You may be prompted to add your own comments to the others already posted about it when you are finished.    


**Alden O'Brien is the curator of costume, textiles, and toys at the DAR Museum in Washington, D.C. Her exhibits have included "The Stuff of Childhood: Artifacts and Attitudes 1750-1900," "Costume Myths and Mysteries," and "Something Old, Something New: Inventing the American Wedding." She is currently working on "Fashioning the New Woman," an exhibit on women and fashions of the Progressive Era

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sharing a Tranquil Scene at Saint Colmans Cemetery in Washington Court House, Ohio -- And Spotlighting the Fayette County Genealogical Society, a Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society

On this snowy Sunday I'd like to share a peaceful winter cemetery scene at a section near the fence at Saint Colmans Cemetery located in Washington Court House, Fayette County, Ohio.  

This photograph was taken yesterday by Gail Allen who has the good fortune to live next to the cemetery!! 

As Gail pointed out to me, the photograph is in color -- it just looks like it is only dark brown (almost black) and white due to the heavier snow that had fallen overnight that currently covers the landscape.  

Thank you, Gail for taking a moment during your busy day to snap this interesting picture and sharing it with us.

Gail is the new editor of "The Fayette Connection" newsletter which is published by the Fayette County Genealogical Society.  She does a great job with the the content and layout of the publication, which includes in each issue color photographs of unusual gravestones.  They have been wonderful additions to the material featured in the newsletter that I have always found informative as well as entertaining!  

Also, Gail has updated the society's website  this past year so those of you who have been familiar with it but haven't looked at it lately, may wish to re-visit it soon.   Don't forget to browse through the section on the society's website that offers a listing of  FCGS publications to see if there is a book you don't have yet that you just might like to order to add to your genealogical research collection.

If you have ancestors who lived and/or were buried in Fayette County, Ohio, and are not a member of the Fayette County Genealogical Society, which is a chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, please consider joining!!  You'll quickly find that receiving "The Fayette Connection" is a big benefit of membership that will help you learn more about the area where your ancestors lived.  You can contribute with queries or stories of your own Fayette county ancestors.  You just might make your own connection with some new cousins -- 3 times removed of course

Happy New Year Everyone!!   

Presently, on Find A Grave, there are 55 burials at Saint Colmans Cemetery

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Doors Stolen from Mausoleum at Saint Paul's Catholic Cemetery in Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio.

It's happened again....doors stripped away and stolen from a mausoleum.  

The cemetery is located on S. West Street in Norwalk.

Please click on title to link to this Fox8 - WJW TV news story with video interview by the station's news reporter Suzanne Stratford that is posted online today.  

Excerpted below are some of the comments that accompany the video:

"He fears that someone will try to sell the doors for scrap metal but he says they are only worth about $75 or less as scrap.

He said, “It’s just foolishness because they’re going to cash the doors in for scrap and they’re invaluable as scrap. They’re part of the tomb. That’s the real value.”

The family is offering a $500 reward for the doors.

They are hoping someone will have seen the doors and will call the police, or the person can drop them off at the cemetery, or church, and return them — no questions asked.

The family says they won’t prosecute the person or persons who took the doors if they get the doors back."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Susan Victoria Dickerson (1859 - 1861) - Find A Grave Memorial

Susan Victoria Dickerson (1859 - 1861) - Find A Grave Memorial

Thanking "Find A Grave" member Mr. Bob Younger  who so kindly contacted me with a correction and also provided a wealth of additional information about the family of Susan Victoria Dickerson whose lifespan was only a short two years. She lived and died over 150 years ago.  

Susan was the only one in her family buried at the Friends (Quaker) Cemetery in North Lewisburg, Champaign County, Ohio because the rest of her family moved farther west and lived out their lives in other states.  Please see her "Find A Grave" Memorial and read more information about her parents and siblings. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Catholic Cemetery Association of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese Announces its New "Adopt-A-Marker" Program for Headstones of Priests and Nuns

Thanking Melissa Malone of the Catholic Cemeteries Association, Diocese of Cleveland for sharing this exciting information about their upcoming "Adopt-A-Marker" program:

 "This program is solely for headstones of priests and nuns that are at least 50 years of age or older, and/or damaged.  We do wish to extend this program to all headstones within the coming years."

"Each donor will receive a certificate acknowledging their gift and the before and after photographs of the headstone preservation/restoration." 

Melissa has informed me that the program's details and donation form will be made available on their website after the first of the year.  

In the meantime, below are Melissa's direct phone number and email address regarding the program.   

Also below is the program's announcement sheet with more details and "Adopt A Marker Donation Form"

Melissa Malone
Your Catholic Cemetery Representative
Direct (216) 570-6668

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Controversy about Selling Civil War Cannons at Sugar Grove Cemetery in Wilmington, Clinton County, Ohio

Click on title to read the story published December 17, 2012 in the "Coshocton Tribune" online paper from the Associated Press about the controversy surrounding a proposed sale of two Civil War cannons at the Sugar Grove Cemetery which is in Wilmington, Clinton County, Ohio.  Apparently, the high insurance costs for these original canons are a factor in this decision.  

It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be with this proposal and if it will come to pass. 

Currently, on "Find A Grave" for Sugar Grove Cemetery in Wilmington there are are 2,567 memorials posted.

Exploring "FamilySearch.org"

Hi everyone!  This post is about "FamilySearch.org"

If you have used "FamilySearch.org" much at all you know it is a fantastic and FREE online tool made available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

We owe the "LDS" much gratitude which extends also to the volunteers who have done a tremendous job of records indexing of their online collections, which grow almost daily.  
Clicking on the title of this post will link you to the "Ohio Cemeteries" resources page on "FamilySearch.org."  

I have also included it as a permanent link on the left side bar under the "Additional Cemetery Resources" category.  

Winter is here for most of us in Ohio and elsewhere in America.  It is a good time to do our home genealogical research so we can be better prepared to make those cemetery trips next Spring and Summer to discover and explore those almost forgotten gravesites of our ancestors!

Linda and Dr. Bill Limes - by sign for "Limes Road"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Focusing on the Ohio Genealogical Society and the Benefits of being a Member

As many of you who read my blog regularly already know, I am a great 'fan' of the Ohio Genealogical Society.  I am also a long time O.G.S. member who has benefitted greatly from my membership in various ways that have become important to me to further the success of my genealogical research.  

Receiving the publications of the Ohio Genealogical Society are one of the best benefits of being an O.G.S.member!  There is the "Ohio Genealogy News" published quarterly in a quality magazine format. My describing it as a "newsletter" would be shortchanging its wide scope of well researched content found in each issue.  

The "Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly"  always offers in-depth documented stories about such subjects as family histories, church histories, cemetery related stories, bible records, and so much more.     

The Ohio Genealogical Society is also actively involved with cemetery preservation in several aspects including its county cemetery vertical files at the society's library, the once a year hands-on cemetery workshop, and cemetery related links on their website.  

There is an online "Guide to Cemetery Reference Sources at the Library" that is a listing of the books on cemetery subjects the O.G.S. Library holds.  Here you can further link to the "O.G.S. Cemetery Information" to explore even more links to such topics as "Selected Cemetery Laws" and "Cemetery Preservation."
The O.G.S. website has a "Ohio Cemetery Locations Free Index" to everyone who visits the site.  It is most helpful for identifying in what county and township your cemetery is located.  For example, I did a random search for "Sheep Pen" and the results were "Highland"  for the county, and "Madison" which is for the township since "Sheep Pen" Cemetery is not located within any city or village limits, and the alternate cemetery names of "Gustin and Limes" are shown. This is helpful if you are only able to identify a cemetery by its lesser known name.
Exclusively for members, is the more extensive link titled:  "Ohio Cemetery Locations" which provides greater descriptive details about the location and GPS coordinates; and ownership information, if known, of an Ohio cemetery.

Since our focus is OHIO, exploring the gravesites of our ancestors buried in OHIO, and taking it one step further, the preservation of those OHIO gravesites; the one organization that can help us bring all of this focus together is the OHIO Genealogical Society!  

So, I invite you to spend some time exploring the O.G.S. Website and visit their library when you are in the Bellville, Ohio area.  Becoming a member will give you your greatest advantage, so please don't pass up learning more about how an O.G.S. membership can fulfill your research goals.   

The Ohio Genealogical Society
611 State Route 97 West
Bellville OH 44813-8813
Phone: (419) 886-1903
Fax: (419) 886-0092 

General Correspondence ogs@ogs.org

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charlotte Bacon (2006 - 2012) - Find A Grave Memorial -- With links to those who perished in the senseless massacre attack on their Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012

Charlotte Bacon (2006 - 2012) - Find A Grave Memorial

Please note, there are links to memorials for the other children, teachers, school principal, and the mother of the shooter who perished in the senseless massacre attack on their elementary school on December 14, 2012.  

If you wish, please post your thoughts and prayers, and add a virtual flower on Charlotte's memorial and/or the memorials of the others that expresses your condolences especially to those closest to them who lost them all too soon; and who need America's support to enable them to find an inner peace that will help them better cope now and the days and years to come.  

Thank you.   

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spotlighting Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio

Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio is among my favorite cemeteries for many reasons not the least of which is the fact almost all of my maternal side of my Zagorsky and Szczepankiewicz families were buried there.  

Also buried at Calvary Cemetery are so many neighbors and friends of my family that I knew from childhood.  

Folks like:

Angie and Elizabeth Catalano who lived next door at 210 Arizona Avenue in Lorain, Ohio.  

John and Mary Tackas who lived on East Erie Avenue, but their house was actually just to the west of ours.

Pat and Theresa Costello who were great friends and fishing 'buddies' with my parents.

Corinne Alten McGee and her son David McGee who lived on the corner of East Erie Avenue and California Avenue, just one block from our house on Arizona Avenue.  Theirs was the most grand Victorian home in the neighborhood.   

Dr. Augustine J. Novello - My childhood doctor who made house visits!

Dr. Joseph A Cicerrella - My pediatrician.

Thomas E. Burkiewicz - A fellow 1966 Lorain High School graduate classmate.

Gerald John Stitak - My dear Aunt Mary's little baby who died so young.  

Dale Louis Korzan - 1961 graduate of Lorain High School. 

May they all rest in eternal peace.  


• Email your request if possible. Emails can be sent to Melissa
Malone at mmalone@clevelandcatholiccemeteries.org. Or call her at 216-570-6668. She will then get your request to the appropriate cemetery.

• Provide as much identifying information as you have about
the Individual (s) being researched.

• The information available from cemetery records is limited to
the following: name, date of burial, age and location of the
grave. If additional information is available such as place of
birth we will be sure to include this.

·  If you have requested assistance, please be patient. Current
burials are our first priority and so there may be times
when we are very busy. But be assured that we will respond
to every inquiry in a timely fashion.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wreaths Across America -- Saturday, December 15, 2012

Because every deceased honorably discharged veteran deserves to be remembered and honored.  

This coming Saturday, December 15, 2012 will be "Wreaths Across America" Day. 

(**If you are not able to view the video here on the blog, please click on the "YouTube" red icon and bring the video up directly in "YouTube" and hopefully you will be able to view it directly from their website.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"My First Christmas in Heaven"

"My First Christmas in Heaven"

"I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below.

With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear.

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,

But sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it’s beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart.

But I am not that far away, we really aren’t apart.
So be happy for me dear ones, you know I hold you dear.
 And be glad I’m spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory, of my undying love.
After all, love is the gift, more precious than pure gold.

It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other as my Father said to do
 For I can’t count the blessings or love He has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away that tear.

Remember I’m spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year."
—Author Unknown

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spotlightling the "Linkedin" Group "Gravestone & Monument Preservation"

If you are a member of "Linkedin" and wish to join a group whose focus is centered on gravestone and monument preservation, then I feel you would enjoy and find worthwhile the topics and discussions offered by the "Gravestone & Monument Preservation" Group.  

Jonathan Appell is the group's administrator and moderator.  Jonathan is a nationally known conservator who conducts hands-on gravestone preservation workshops across the country.
The group's current topic is:

"Stone Consolidation- What is your opinion? Can the stone decay process be stopped or at least slowed down by the application of chemical treatments?"

Stone Consolidating Materials
A Status Report

When it comes to preserving our ancestors' gravestones that are in various conditions of deterioration, we have to be careful.  Being as informed as we can will help keep us from making permanent mistakes that affect the condition and longevity of the very gravemarkers we are trying to protect.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sharing a Posting from "Heritage Forensics" about Cemetery Security

Click on title to link to the "Heritage Forensics" website and blog by Mr. Kevin Ralston.  

This particular posting, on his blog dated November 25, 2012, deals with cemetery security in a historical context and includes several fascinating photographs that support the details of the subject.  

I also know that Kevin is quite interested in cemetery preservation, and especially right here in Ohio.

A short excerpt is below from his website about his work:

"Photograph Services:

Cemetery Photographs: Anyone can take a picture, but a professional captures a moment. Our cemetery photograph services are available in 44 counties in Ohio, 4 counties in West Virginia, and 11 counties in Pennsylvania. Whether your interest is in a single headstone, a whole family project, or a cemetery in general, let our experienced and equipped staff take care of your photographic needs.

Restore / Color / Fix: Concerned that your old family photos are damaged beyond repair or looking for a way to preserve them for future generations? With over ten years of graphic design experience, you’ll see your old family photographs come to life in a whole new way. Everything from a complete restoration to fade corrections, spot removing, photo cleaning, and colorization are available at the most competitive rates available today."

I'm sure you'll enjoy reading this post and learn some little known facts about cemetery security thanks to Kevin's in-depth research.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reporting Thefts at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Click on title to link to a story published on December 1, 2012 on "Cleveland.com" under the "Police Blotter" about two necklaces valued at $500.00 apiece that were stolen, possibly as long as a year ago, from a crypt in Knollwood Cemetery.  

Currently on "Find A Grave", there are 2,233 interments listed at Knollwood Cemetery with 129 outstanding photo requests that are waiting to be claimed by area photo volunteers. Five famous interments are listed on "Find A Grave" for Knollwood Cemetery. 

Cemetery vandalism and thefts continue unfortunately.  Let's hope that the police have some leads for this crime.  It perplexes me, however, regarding what the reason could be to account for the delay by local authorities in learning of this crime since they state they feel the thefts may have occurred as long as a year ago.  Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we will read about progress being made with apprehending the person or persons responsible for these thefts and bring them to justice for this crime.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"She Lived In Three Centuries" -- Spotlighting Alma F. (nee Wasnich) Shambarger buried at Floral Grove Cemetery in West Unity, Williams County, Ohio

Sandi Litzenberg 'introduced' me to a person she learned about named Alma Shambarger and told me "she lived in 3 centuries."  I didn't want to believe it at first until Sandi sent photographs of the Shambarger monument.

Sandi wrote:  

"I also have a photo of a headstone of a woman who lived in 3 different centuries.. the 19th, 20th & 21st centuries.. I believe she lived to be 104??.". 

"her stone was already pre-dated, probably when her husband died, with the death date of 19-- and they had to inscribe next to that the 2002.. it caught my eye so I took a few pictures.."

Two views of the gray granite monument erected for Alma F. (Wasnich) Shambarger and her husband, Galen W. Shambarger, buried at Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, Williams County, Ohio.  

Photograph courtesy of Sandi Litzenberg. 


Below is an obituary for Alma F. Shambarger as it appeared in "The Toledo Blade" on Saturday, December 14, 2002.  This obituary is taken from the website of "infonewsbank.com" from a search via the Cleveland Public Library website's premium resources section:


Blade, The (Toledo, OH) - Saturday, December 14, 2002
Author: Blade

Alma Faye Shambarger [1899-2002], who was known for making apple dolls and speaking at area churches and schools, died Wednesday of complications from bronchitis at Harborside Healthcare in Bryan. She was 103.
Mrs. Shambarger graduated from West Unity High School in 1916 and married Galen Shambarger a year later. He died in 1971. 

The couple lived in Detroit for five years, then moved to Chicago. They lived there until 1963, when Mr. Shambarger retired and they returned to West Unity.

Mrs. Shambarger worked part time for 26 years as a beauty counselor for Vanda Cosmetics in Chicago. She visited people's homes to give makeovers and teach women about skin care. "She was kind of ahead of her time with the skin care," said her grandson, Russell Pritchett.

While living in Chicago, she was a member and secretary of the Federated Woman's Club from 1927 to 1942. After returning to West Unity, she spoke at churches and clubs about her experiences in Chicago.

She also gave talks on the history of her ancestors settling in the West Unity area. Her great-grandfather, a preacher, rode on horseback around the settlements in the region.

Mrs. Shambarger was featured in a local newspaper in the 1970s for her expertise making apple dolls. The dolls had padded bodies and carved dried apples for heads.

"She made the clothes for these dolls out of her parents' and grandparents' clothes," her grandson said. "They looked pretty authentic."

Mrs. Shambarger enjoyed taking train trips to Colorado and the West Coast. Her husband was a railroad detective, so she had access to discount train passes.

She belonged to West Unity United Methodist Church and the Jefferson Township Garden Club. Mrs. Shambarger was a staunch Democrat who was vocal about her political views, her grandson said.

Surviving are two grandsons, a great-granddaughter, and two great-great-grandsons. A son, Russell, died in 1970.

Services will be at 10 a.m. today in the Hollingshead Beck Funeral Home in West Unity. The family requests tributes to Harborside Healthcare in Bryan.
Page: B7
Index Terms: OBITUARY
Record Number: 0212140117
Copyright, 2002, The Blade

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spotlighting Williams County, Ohio - Scattered Stones at Four Cemeteries Need Saving!

Extending my appreciation to Sandi Litzenberg of Williams County, Ohio
(Sandi is a "Find A Grave" contributor)
for bringing to my attention the need for preservation work to be conducted at four small Williams County cemeteries.  

Sandi located several groupings of broken gravestones in each cemetery that need repairing and re-setting -- most are Civil War era markers.  

In fact, one white marble marker belongs to Ohio Civil War veteran, Joseph T. (Joseph Theodore) Kast.  It is toppled over, but intact, lying on the ground at the West Jefferson Cemetery.  How sad since I'm sure the marker had stood upright for decades proudly marking the location of the veteran who was buried beneath it.

However, there is another grave marker for Pvt. Joseph Theodore Kast that Sandi photographed and it is shown below:

 Pvt. Joseph T. Kast, of Co. "D", 38th Regiment O.V.I. buried at the West Jefferson Cemetery

Original filed under Joseph T./Kast
nara publication title: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Ohio.
nara publication number: M552
nara roll number: 57
film number: 0882270

 John Kast - Gravestone for John Kast also buried at the West Jefferson Cemetery.  

John Kast also served as a private in Co. "D' of the 38th Regiment, O.V.I.
Sandi has sent over some of her pictures and identfies them by cemetery name.  All cemeteries are listed on "Find A Grave":

 Above is a photo of a grouping of small mostly sunken stones that appear to have been removed from their original location at some point and just placed next to the tree we see in this picture.  Judging by their small size, they could have once been placed as footstones for larger markers.  

These stones are at the Billingstown Cemetery which is located in Northwest Township.  Per the cemetery sign the cemetery was established in 1843. 

"This is the northwestern most cemetery in Ohio, being only 3100 feet from the intersection of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana."  There is a WPA map for this cemetery.  

Currently, there are 121 burials listed for the Billingstown Cemetery on "Find A Grave. "

Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.68944, Longitude: -84.79694 


Above is a photograph of a grouping of tossed aside broken markers and perhaps some plot marker stones at the Lash Cemetery in Williams County.   
Obviously, the flat white marble stones sitting on each end are grave markers that were once intact and upright over their original burial locations.  The one on the far right may still be over its original location.  It is not easy to tell.   
The burial ground is located:  "Just west of where US 20 turns to the north.  On the north Side of SR107," per the O.G.S. "Cemeteries 1803 -2003" publication, page 686, (referenced above.)
Currently, there are 157 interments listed at the Lash Cemetery on "Find A Grave." 

Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.58690, Longitude: -84.55970

Sandi has posted two nice recent longer shot photographs of the Lash Cemetery on its cemetery page on "Find A Grave."  Fortunately, most of the gravestone markers in those pictures are still standing. 

 The above photograph is for at least 2 broken white marble markers at the Ring Cemetery in Brady Township, Williams County.

Per the O.G.S. "Ohio Cemeteries 1803 - 2003" publication (see reference above), page 685:  "Rings (Ring) Cemetery is located "Northeast of West Unity.  On East Side of U.S. 127.  There is a WPA map for it.  
Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.59250, Longitude: -84.43000 
Currently, 129 interments are listed for the Ring Cemetery on "Find A Grave."  
 Above is a photograph Sandi took of a grouping of several random pieces of once standing marble grave markers now in a scattered pile at the West Jefferson Cemetery in Jefferson Township.  
The intact larger marker on the left belongs to Civil War Veteran, Joseph Theodore Kast, whose non-military white marble grave marker is shown in this post above.
There are 66 interments listed at the West Jefferson Cemetery on "Find A Grave." 

Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.57640, Longitude: -84.55640

 Hopefully, thanks to Sandi's concern and intervention, as more people in these communities become aware of the need to restore these broken markers, steps will be taken so these gravestones can once again be made whole and regarded with the respect they deserve from us and also from future generations.