Tombstone Tuesday: Stevensville Cemetery

Nearly a year ago, I did a post about this cemetery after I got stuck on Route 50, which borders it. I finally got a chance to visit the grounds last Friday.

There is an interesting small plot at the front of the cemetery. Its plaque reads:

“In memory of Marian Price Steuart this area has been reserved for monuments removed from many family cemeteries that have existed on Kent Island. Dedicated to Kent Island Heritage Society.”

Here is a selection of photos from the plot:

There’s quite a variety of different headstones in the rest of the cemetery, dating from the early 1800s to today. I’ll have more posts about what I found there in coming days and weeks.

Sentimental Sunday: The Kitchen at Lillian Lane

From the time I was 9 until my senior year of high school, my family lived in a rambler in a wooded neighborhood called Sherwood Forest in Silver Spring, Maryland. We spent a ton of time in the kitchen, which had a huge bay window. We ate most of our meals at a large wooden table in front of that window, despite the fact we also had a formal dining room. We had a good view of our street since our house was at the top of a hill.

In high school, after dinner was over, I usually finished my homework at that table. Lots of humanities essays were composed there. My sister still has the table and chairs.

When we first moved into the house, the kitchen had an ancient turquoise refrigerator with a pedal-operated freezer on the bottom (this was from waaaay before bottom freezers were the in thing). We eventually had to replace it with the fridge you see pictured above.

Those Places Thursday: Woodmoor

Soon after my 1st birthday, my family moved to the Woodmoor neighborhood in Silver Spring, also known as Four Corners.  I absolutely loved that house — it had all kinds of nooks and crannies and quirks. Initially, I slept in the “nursery,” a room with built-in drawers in the wall and bright red, yellow and green plaid wallpaper (ah, the ’70s).

The backyard was the perfect size. My parents eventually installed a swingset and then our yard was the yard to play in. The previous occupants had drawn pictures and their initials in the patio out back when the cement was poured. It was the perfect size for a make-shift baseball diamond, when we had enough players.

We were walking distance to Pinecrest Elementary School, which had a great playground. I walked to St. Bernadette’s, where I went to school. The neighborhood was so quaint in the snow. During the summer months, I’d walk with the kids on my street to a creek around the corner — a branch off of Rock Creek.

Woodmoor Shopping Center also was a quick walk away — I drooled over the cupcakes and cookies at Woodmoor Bakery and my parents were on a first-name basis with the proprietors of the Chinese-food restaurant there. Thankfully, both of those establishments are still around.

We moved away from Woodmoor when I was 9 years old. Many of my friends from St. B’s still live there and I will occasionally drop by the bakery for their to-die-for Parkerhouse rolls.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Reddies

Last spring, I visited White Marsh Cemetery off Route 50 in Talbot County, Maryland. Among the tombstones that I snapped was this pair:

James and Ellen REDDIE

Yeah, I know. Hard to read. FindAGrave already has separate listings for James Reddie and his wife, Ellen. I took photos because of the moss growing over the stones and they way they’re leaning together.

The Reddies came over from Scotland. Searches on show that they were farmers and lived in Trappe, near the location of this cemetery. They had three children, William (5), Thomas (9) and Mary (12), according to the 1860 U.S. census. William remained in the area and became Talbot County Sheriff (his 1880 census listing shows him at the Talbot County Jail in Easton). By 1920, Thomas and his wife Lida are living in Iowa, according to the U.S. census. I couldn’t track down any more info on Mary.

In the 1850 U.S. census, there is a James Reddie who is a slave owner, but he lives in neighboring Dorchester County, Maryland. There’s also a confederate soldier from Maryland by the name of James Reddie, but I don’t see any concrete link between that soldier and the James Reddie depicted here.

Tombstone Tuesday: Holy Sh!t Edition

Used with permission from

Bear with me, folks, as I share this story and vent, for I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir on this one and the true targets of the ensuing post shall never see this page:

This past Saturday, my friend, whom I shall call “Shelley” (name changed to protect the flabbergasted), and I decided to take advantage of some fabulous late-November weather (bright, sunny, near 60), to shoot some volunteer photos and fulfill photo requests on

CHESLEY Memorial

We started out in St. Michael’s, Md., at Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, where we snapped photos of the tombstones of the Rev. John William CHESLEY and his wife, Sarah F. VALLIANT Chesley. We also saw several supposed relatives of these two (or at least, we saw their graves) and so we photographed them too, for uploading to the site. A gentleman associated with the church saw us and invited us to check out the interior of the church as well, which was beautiful.

This particular cemetery and church is located across the street from several cute shops. “Shelley” had some Xmas shopping left to do and so we visited a couple of establishments before heading back to the car, which was parked behind the church. Suddenly, “Shelly” exclaimed, “That guy isn’t going to let his dog do that on the church lawn is he? He is!” And then I turned to see that, yep, a guy walking his dog was letting it do its business right next to the steps leading up to the church. Ewww. “Hopefully, he’ll at least pick it up,” I said.

After we packed up the car and were on our merry way to our next stop in Sherwood, Md., we passed the same guy and his dog, now on the other side of the street. “Hmmm, he’s not carrying a bag, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt — there’s a trashcan right there.”

“Nope, there’s a pile, right by the church steps. There’s a pile,” “Shelley” confirmed, as we drove by the church. Gross.

Several miles later, we missed the turnoff for our intended stop, but decided we’d hit it on the way back and proceeded to Tilghman Island, where still more graves awaited us. Google Maps had directed us to a small cemetery off a narrow road, nestled behind what looked like a house. I pulled over and we read over all the stones, but none of the names matched the couple we were supposed to find there. I felt weird, traipsing around someone’s apparent backyard (turns out it was the back lot of a business, not a private residence) and so I suggested we drive further down the road to see if we found another cemetery.

Less than a mile later, we came to a United Methodist Church and there was a large cemetery behind it. Bagpipes played in the parking lot — there was a funeral about to begin. We didn’t want to interrupt and parking was at a premium, so I turned around to see if there were any other places to check out in the meantime. That’s when I smelled it. That’s when “Shelley” uttered the phrase you never want to hear: “Um, I smell poop. I hope one of us didn’t step in it.”

I was back on the road at this point, trying to look down at my shoes to see if I was carrying the offending substance. Not me, so far as I could tell. I pulled over in an elementary school parking lot. “Shelley” had apparently stepped squarely in a pile at the previous cemetery.

“Poop seems to be the theme for the day,” I said.

We scavenged some sticks from under a nearby tree and between that and some water I had in the car, “Shelley” was able to clean most of the offending substance off the bottom of her shoe. We couldn’t help but laugh. “I deserve hazard pay for this!” “Shelley” joked.

After much giggling, sticks and “ewws!” we decided to drive back to Sherwood, to find the cemetery we had overshot earlier. We found the church, but it was on the tiniest of lots and we didn’t see a cemetery anywhere nearby. This was a Methodist church too. I said I was willing to bet that the graves we were seeking were probably at the larger Methodist church back in Tilghman. We returned to find the cars from the funeral departing. I parked and we started scouring the cemetery, now looking for the names from the Sherwood request and the Tilghman request.

We quickly found the Larrimores (the Tilghman request), and apparently FindaGrave had them at the right location, but Google Maps had sent me to the wrong cemetery. “Shelley” and I decided to split up the remaining graves because we were beginning to lose the light. We didn’t find the names from the Sherwood request (I’ve since asked another FindaGrave volunteer for directions to the cemetery so I can try again).

What I did find, after scanning the gravestones of my section, was still another, very large, pile of dog crap. The ancestors of the dog that produced this pile must of have bred with a horse.

What is wrong with people these days? When did it become acceptable to let your dog do its business on the lawn of a church or in a cemetery? Okay, let’s say your dog really, really has to go. Pick it up! Like you should anywhere your dog goes. Gah!

Tombstone Tuesday: A Head Above the Rest

I visited the cemetery at Trinity Church of Christ in Manchester, Md., for a house history project I’m working on (shhh! It’s a secret!). I can’t post anything about the subjects of that project yet, but I did take some pics of another tombstone at the cemetery, which literally towered over the rest of the stones there.

The monument pictured above is for the BRUMMELs.

To the memory of
my mother
died March 8, 1879,
aged 77 years,
by her only child
A.O. Brummel
“She is not dead but sleepeth.”

In memory of
A. O. Brummel,
born July 7, 1831,
died June 20, 1909,
Age 77 -11-13
“Untill the day dawn and the day-star arise”

Johanna Fowble,
died Nov. 22, 1890
91 yrs 11 mos & 25 d’s
Loved in life,
not forgotten in death
by a devoted nephew,
A. O. Brummel

In memory of
Lennie Myerblac
wife of
Major A.O. Brummel
born in Sweden
died in Washington, D.C.
May 8, 1803,
in her 47 year
“My cherished hopes I’ve
buried here.”

I don’t know anything about the major or the rest of his family except this tidbit gleaned from Google. He may also have written songs under the name August O. Brummel.

Tombstone Tuesday: Stop and See the FLOWERS, Part 2

Last week’s post reminded me of the pic below, which I snapped earlier this year in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md. I’m kind of jealous of someone whose surname lends itself well to imagery in cases like this:

This beautiful tombstone belongs to:

Beloved Daughter of
Matthew P. & Mary F.
Born Dec: 17, 1859
Died Nov: 4, 1884

Digging into Land Records: Humor and Clues You Shouldn’t Ignore

If you haven’t explored your local land records, you’re really missing out on some valuable information as well as some entertainment. I’m working on a new house history (shh! it’s a secret!) that a coworker commissioned for a Christmas present. In seeking out the deeds for the house, I’ve found a treasure trove of details about properties that demonstrate the humor of the landowners back in the 1800s.

When settlers and colonists took ownership of land, they often named the tracts and these descriptors are thereafter referenced in future land records (a helpful clue when you’re trying to decipher all those descriptions of acres, perches and degrees). Here’s just a couple examples that made me giggle while I researched:

“Inn Intention”

“Connelly Vexation”

Other place names give clues as to the owner or the purpose of the land:


“Ohio” (this is in Maryland)

“Forester’s Hunting Ground”

“The Three Brothers”

How about:

“Everything Needful Corrected”

How does one get started digging into land records? Here’s one of the best-kept secrets in Maryland: currently anyone can use to look up property in the state. You do need a login, but it’s simple to request one and I was informed by their help desk that they usually respond to requests within the hour during the business day.

I highly recommend reading the user guide (may require a login to download) before you get started as navigating the search mechanism for the various county land indices can be a bit overwhelming for newbies.

Happy digging!

Tombstone Tuesday: Arlington Abbey Revisited

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

About a year ago, I began a series of posts about a few of my ancestors who used to be buried at Arlington Abbey Mausoleum in Northern Virginia. The good news is that after learning that my ancestors’ remains were missing, I eventually was able to track down their whereabouts.

I was contacted by another family historian recently who came upon my posts and now she too has been able to figure out where her relatives are buried. I’m re-posting this series here in the hopes that others who may have had family buried there might find the information helpful.

Arlington Abbey, Part 1

Arlington Abbey, Part 2

Arlington Abbey, Part 3

Tombstone Tuesday: Corley (aka Arlington Abbey: Part 4)

I’m actually still struggling to get more documentation from Parklawn Memorial Park — they will not send me the interment documentation because of what they say are privacy concerns (even though I’m a direct descendant of all three buried there and the most recent of them died in 1930). I’m still trying — my most recent call to the cemetery resulted in a promise to send me a hand-written letter stating who was buried there, but that hasn’t materialized yet. I may visit the cemetery again and visit their offices in person to see if I can get further with them.

Only My Fellow Genealogists Will Understand

I did something pretty darn nerdy this evening. I spent about an hour at the University Archives at the University of Maryland, College Park (my undergraduate alma mater and also where I received my MLS). With my college transcript by my side, I went through copies of the schedule of classes from my undergrad years and reconstructed my class schedule for each semester.

Why on earth would I do such a thing? I was inspired to recreate my class schedules for a scrapbook I’m putting together about my college years. I found some grid paper that is meant to be a calendar, but when turned on its side is the perfect format for filling in what classes I took and when, Monday through Friday. I think I have enough for all eight semesters.

Only my genealogist friends will understand why I not only needed to know what classes I took, but also when I took them. I wanted to depict what my daily life was like throughout the year (like the semester I had 8 a.m. classes Monday thru Thursday — bleck!).  I’m glad I went through the exercise. Piecing together my schedule for each semester brought back a flood of memories for me and I intend to write some of them down and include those in the scrapbook too.

Another plus to my hour at the Archives — I was the only patron there because it’s early in the semester. I had the place all to myself and I got to catch up with University Archivist Anne Turkos who is one of the smartest, coolest people on the entire campus (and who took the time to point me to the archived schedules when I first inquired about them).

So, a worthwhile exercise, but some folks just aren’t going to understand. I tried describing my goal to one of my coworkers and she said, “Yeah, that is kinda nerdy.” Ah well.