15 March 2011

Broken Branch

I spent many, many months trying to fit another family from the same small-town cemetery in the Dakota Territory into my tree, only to discover there's no relation. It was just an odd coincidence that the other couple lived there and were married in another small town in Illinois where my third great-grandparents lived. 

Maureen, the wonderful person who posted the original Find a Grave entries, wrote: "There is a note in cemetery records, '$50 P.C. provided for in will of Mrs. W.F. Halfpenny (Graves 1-5).'" This clue was so helpful because I was able to connect my third great-grandfather Henry not only with his daughter-in-law, but with his great-granddaughter Dunkel, the daughter of Mrs. Halfpenny and her first husband. Prior to this clue, I had no idea my second great grand uncle had any children. Now I know he had at least four, including Mrs. Halfpenny. 

But I had two graves unaccounted for, or so I thought. And, conveniently, there were two young children surnamed Henry in the same cemetery—with no other family nearby. So I researched those two children, found their parents and many siblings, and grandparents, and great-grandparents, and...well, I admit, I was starting to think someone else's research into the earlier generations wasn't correct.

I located the cemetery spreadsheet on the town web site (oh, how convenient and forward-thinking!). After doing a plot number search, I found no other bodies using that plot location. A quick email last night resulted in a note from Heather at City Hall saying no one is buried in graves 2 and 4 next to my relatives in graves 1, 3, and 5. She also included the scan of the 1880s plot map. 

Had I emailed City Hall earlier, I still would have researched that other Henry family. Why? The probability of two intersecting locations in two small towns opened up possibilities, especially when my third great-grandparents had three sons, and I needed to follow the line to a conclusion. Now that I have my answers, I can move on, searching for more dead relatives.