Showing posts with label tombstone tuesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tombstone tuesday. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Here lies Mathew Madigan

Some time ago, I called up Calvary Cemetery to find the grave location of my great-great-great-grandfather, Mathew Madigan, but was told that they had no record of his burial, despite the fact that all indications - in his death certificate and his obituary - were that he'd been buried there. Commenter Mitch Waxman told me that there'd been a fire in the 1890s that destroyed some records, and suggested many useful work arounds, but I tried a different route. Knowing that Mathew's son James Madigan had died just a few years later in 1894, but not knowing where he was buried, I took a shot in the dark. I called up Calvary and asked for the location of James Madigan's grave, providing his date of death, and just keeping my mouth shut about the fact that I didn't actually know whether he was interred at Calvary at all.

I got lucky! Calvary was easily able to provide me with the location of James's gravesite. They were able to tell me that there are 8 people interred at the site, but couldn't tell me who without great expense. And then I got more lucky, and moved into my new apartment to discover that I could see Calvary Cemetery from my house! While I took a field trip down to Calvary the first week I moved in, and found the Madigan grave in just minutes.

 The front of the stone reads
to the memory of
Mathew Madigan
Died Sept 11 1892
Aged 50 years
also his wife
Margaret Madigan
Born May 20 1837
Died July 13 1882
Aged 45 years
also Mathew Joseph
Aged 1 year & 7 months"

The back reads
Died Oct 9 1894
Aged 23 years
Mathew W. Roche
John Roche

I had hoped that finding the grave would give me some information about Margaret Sullivan Madigan, but I never imagined I'd find a birth and a death date! I started my afternoon knowing less about her than any other member of the family, and ended up knowing more. Mathew Madigan remarried after Margaret died, and I believe young Mathew Joseph was his son by his second wife, unless he had a son named Mathew who died young in each of his marriages. The stone lists 6 names; Calvary told me there were 8 bodies. I suspect that the last two belong to two other children of Mathew and his second wife Johanna. Both young Mathew and a daughter named Josephine were recorded on the 1892 NYS Census and nowhere else, but Johanna's answers in 1910 to the question "Mother of how many children?" indicated 4 children born but only 1 still living. Loretta was the child who lived to adulthood, and Josephine and Mathew died young, but I believe that the 8th body is that of the still-unidentified 4 child.

I don't know exactly who John and Mathew W. Roche are. Mathew Madigan's second wife was a Roche by birth, but his daughter Margaret was a Roche by marriage, marrying a Michael Roche who may have been a relative of her stepmother Johanna. The two boys may have been Mathew and Margaret's grandsons, the sons of their daughter Margaret, or they may have otherwise been relatives of Mathew through his second wife Johanna.

The other interesting thing to note is that James Madigan's death date doesn't match the date that his sister gave in her application for letters of administration for his estate. According to the probate records, he died 9 Aug 1894. That was the date I gave the cemetery when I called. According to the gravestone, he didn't died until 9 Oct 1894. I don't have his death certificate, but the index at confirms the earlier date. My best guess is that there was simply an error inscribing the stone.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Mulvaney Family Gravesite

Last year, I took a trip to Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn to see a variety of family graves.

This is the stone on the grave of my great grandparents, Veronica Mulvaney (d. 1982) and Joseph Mulcahy (d. 1970), as well as my great-great-grandparents, Julia Toner (d. 1938) and Patrick Mulvaney (d. 1919). Also listed on the stone are several of Julia and Patrick's sons, William and Harold (d. 1933, both of them).

My information on the grave had come courtesy of my uncle, John Griffin, who had requested information on the plot a number of years ago. 

There's additional information in this letter. The plot was purchased by Patrick Mulvaney and his brother John, and I believe that the Gertrude Mulvaney, who died in 1890 at 1 year old, was John's daughter. (John later had another daughter named Gertrude, this one living to adulthood.) Mary Hughes is a mystery; no one has any idea who she was. Raymond Mulvaney was Julia and Patrick's young son, who died as a toddler. (He shows up on the 1905 NYS Census.) I believe Patrick's entire body is buried here, not just his leg. The date of burial corresponds with his date of death, and it's been suggested that he went into the hospital to have his gangrenous foot amputated, but the surgery ended up killing him. Arrangements would have been made to have his leg buried, but, sadly, his entire body needed to be buried instead.

Recently, though, one of my new Mulvaney cousins called Holy Cross, and got information that indicated that neither the gravestone nor the letter pictured above is complete. Holy Cross told her that there are four additional bodies interred in the plot, as well. These, it seems, were initially interred elsewhere, and were moved to this plot after John and Patrick bought it c. 1890. Thus, the information on most of them is spottier, but they were listed as:

Bridget Mulvaney, 53
James Mulvaney, 60
Thomas Mulvaney, 27 (3-1-1889)
James Mulvaney, 8

We've yet to find death certificates for anyone besides Bridget, although I'm looking.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Roches and Rickerts

When I talked to Betty and John a few weeks ago about my plans to go to Holy Cross and go grave-hunting, John said he thought the Roches and the Rickerts were buried there. He said he wasn't sure, but there was a tombstone for Roches and Rickerts in Holy Cross and he assumed it had to be related to our Roches and Rickerts.

I thought that was weird. He just knew that there happened to be a Roche/Rickert gravestone in Holy Cross? It's not a small cemetery - it's impressive to find a gravestone you weren't looking for, even if, as John told me, he did work there during college.

But then, a week and a half ago, as I pulled into Holy Cross and made a left turn, this stone - placed conveniently on the corner and with the last names in big, bold, block letters - screamed at me! "Roche! Rickert!" it yelled. "We're right here!" I pulled over in a hurry and jumped out of the car. They are, without a doubt, our Roches and Rickerts. The Roches are parents Michael and Bridget, and their children, John Roche, Michael Roche, and Johanna Roche Madigan. (That it's spelled "Joanna" here leads me to believe that potentially, she really did use that spelling.) Not listed is Mary, the younger daughter, who died sometime after age 10, which was her age on the 1880 census. The Rickerts are Johanna's only surviving child, Loretta Madigan Rickert (I never had a date of death for her - this gives it as February 8, 1978) and her husband, Joseph J. Rickert, who, according to this, died August 22, 1961.

The inscription confused me for a few minutes - it seemed to be saying that it marked the burial of the Roches and their "dear parents," the Rickerts. That's actually quite the opposite of what's the case, and in reality - as far as I can tell - the monument was erected by the Rickert children (Elizabeth, Fr. Joseph, and Fr. Gene), thus the reference to their "dear parents."

One other interesting absence is that of Johanna's husband, and Loretta's father, Matthew Madigan. Matthew was buried at Calvary, not Holy Cross. No mention, too, of whether their other (at least) 2 children, Josephine and Matthew, are buried here, or whether they were buried with their father, their deaths being much closer in time to his.

I was surprised, initially, to find that Johanna wasn't buried with Matthew. The more I think about it, though, the more it makes sense. She was married to him for less than 10 years. Probably closer to 5. She never remarried. She lost 3 of her 4 children very young. She lived another 30 years raising her one surviving daughter alone - likely very much with the help of her family, with whom she seems to have been close. I imagine Johanna and Loretta being a little like Lorelei and Rory in the Gilmore Girls. Matthew was dead by the time Loretta was 5. Father and husband though he was, what kind of influence might he have had on their lives in those 30 years after his death?

That was my rambling, discursive Tombstone Tuesday post, that I'll try to squeeze in under the deadline so it still qualifies for Tuesday.