Genealogy & Family History Community
One day of waiting on the kid I decided I'd head over to the Seattle Genealogical Society and see what I might find in their library. Earlier in the month I had been to a lecture there and noticed by looking at their online catalog that they had a surprising amount of material relevant to my particular counties of interest in Illinois of all places! Had I known this earlier in my genealogical pursuits I'd have quickly become a regular at the SGS library, but alas, I discovered it just one week before the kid's school was done for the summer (and my kid-free time was over). (By the way, if you live near Seattle or have relatives from the area you should join, their library is GREAT and it's right across the street from the National Archives Seattle location!)
Anyway, my trip to the library began at the front desk, where a kind woman signed me in, and let me pay her a small fee to use the library for the day. I was nervous about going by myself, as I always worry about not following protocols properly and making a fool of myself, but my fears were totally unwarranted. The woman's kindness melted away any nerves I had. (I arrived at 2:20 pm, and had to leave by 2:50 pm to go pick up the kiddo, so this was hardly a DAY of researching!) She encouraged me to become a member, but I told her we would be moving out of state soon, and would not be able to avail myself of the benefits of using the library beyond that first trip, sadly. She was not pushy at all. The kind lady asked me what states I'd be researching there, and I told her Illinois. She led me to the shelf with the Illinois books, and explained that they were organized by county. This organization enabled me to quickly and easily find my counties of interest.
There were two books in particular that I looked at, one included early marriages from Sangamon County, and another was called Cemeteries of Mechanicsburg. "Hm, my mom's family was from around there, maybe I'll take a peek," I thought to myself. I found a few relevant marriages in the first book, and then, since I only had a short time to look, turned my attention to the cemetery book.
It was compiled by the now-disbanded Sangamon County Genealogical Society in the early 80s. Lucky for me it had an index, otherwise I'd have not had the success I did. I had expected to find, perhaps, some of my mother's family listed in the book, but I also checked for my maternal grandmother's side too, since they also lived for a time in Sangamon County. When I found a hit for the name Stogdell I got chills. Listed in the book was a John F. Stogdell. I looked him up in the book using the page I found in the index. Here's what I saw.
There he was, listed right there on the page, and in the same plot, B-155, were his in-laws. I knew it was the right John. It was my maternal grandmother's father who had committed suicide at a relatively young age. Buried in the same plot with the Fuhrwerks, a family I have mentioned previously that immigrated from West Prussia (near Gdansk/Danzig). I had no idea where he was buried, because my uncle from whom I got much of my genealogy data had not research his mother's family, so this was a major coup. Lucky for me I had my iphone with me and snapped pictures of the pages I posted here and a few others. John Stogdell had not been listed in findagrave either. Here is John and his wife Florence on their wedding day.
In my excitement I neglected to get complete enough information to know which of the cemeteries listed in the book was the one in which he was buried! That was so frustrating to realize. At home I searched WorldCat.org to see where else I might find copies of this book, there were several places near where we were moving (not surprising, given the cemetery is not too far from where we live now, compared to Seattle ;-) ). My search for John F. Stogdell would have to wait until we moved back to Illinois, but that was months away.
Finally, a two weeks ago Mr. Larmos and I went to a local college's library that had a copy of the book, and we figured out where he was buried. It was the large Mechanicsburg cemetery. You have no idea how hard it was not to just hop in the car and drive out there right then, but it had to wait.
Finally last weekend Mr. Larmos, the kiddo and I made it out there. I used the description in the book to find the plot, which I did very quickly. While I took pictures and looked around Mr. L and li'l L ran around this big field (the kid loved it). So, finding John Stogdell meant I also found my great-great grandparents and several other collateral Fuhrwerk lines. I knew where his wife was buried, because she is buried in the same cemetery with her daughter, my grandmother, who along with my grandfather were caretakers of the cemetery at some point. John, however was not alone, he had his in-laws near. His stone and its writing faces that of his in-laws. (I also notice that he was a Mason).
I'm still no closer to understanding what drove John to suicide with a young wife and 3 children--my Grammie was just 10 when he killed himself. There are many other questions as well...why was he not buried with his family (his father died just about 6 months before him, and his mother about 6 months after. Did his wife at one point intend to be buried with him and the rest of her family? Ultimately she was not, as mentioned. She remarried a widower and moved out of the area, about 30 miles away, and had more children. Her second husband was the grandfather my dad knew, and Grammie didn't speak much at all about John to my dad or to me. I know so little about John and only have 2 or three photos. At least now I know where to find him, and that's a start.
Any good cemetery strolls and/or searches you want to share? How's the research going, everyone?