Monday, January 30, 2012

Matrilinear Monday: Use the Cemetery to Trace Your Family Ancestors

   I've been struggling to find out more about Eunice (Crocker) Way for months. I knew her marriage date, who she married and the names of her children. That was it. She was just one of those female ancestors that is almost impossible to trace. She shows up often in records but only alongside her husband Revolutionary War soldier Lt. Elisha Way. As of yet, I haven't found one record that mentioned her birth or death date.
  Until I remembered what should have been obvious from the beginning - the local cemetery.'s Connecticut Deaths and Burials index listed her husband's burial location. I made the leap and guessed that she was buried there as well. Thanks to a local Find A Grave volunteer, I now know that Eunice Crocker was buried in 1823 - at age 59. I'll have to wait for the proof, but I now have dates to work with. Next stop, the Barbour Collection, Connecticut's index of birth records. Sadly, there are two Eunice Crockers born that year, so I'll have some work to do.
   The lesson that I'll take away from this is to start with the cemetery. I wasn't turning up Eunice in any of the vital records indexes. Perhaps she was never recorded. But her family made sure to mark her  gravestone. I would have saved a lot of time by checking there first, rather than checking and rechecking the same index.

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