Friday, May 1, 2015

A genealogist walks into a cemetery…

No, this is not a joke but rather a funny story (or a rather funny story) that hopefully both genealogists and non-genealogists can relate too.

My mom, my sisters and I get together for a girls’ weekend at least once a year usually around my mother’s birthday in March. These weekends are fun and filled with laughs! We treasure them and can’t wait to plan the next one. Actually, I’ve had my planning rights revoked since I didn’t really follow the rules of girls’ weekend several years ago.

My 2x great grandparents, Matthew Kearney and Hannah Goodbody Kearney are buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Since girls’ weekend was in New York City, I thought it was a GREAT idea to visit this cemetery. The girls agreed but made the point that it wasn’t as much fun as shopping or having a glass of wine at a nice restaurant.

What I didn’t know about was the rough neighborhood surrounding the cemetery in Flatbush. All of the windows had bars on them and the streets did not seem safe. So while fretting about our safety, we were laughing hysterically about my idea of a good time! Once safely inside the cemetery, we searched for the grave only to find that there was no marker. It was, however, a beautiful and peaceful location and we were glad to have made the trip. A prayer was offered and we continued on with the more traditional portion of our weekend.

My 2x great grandparents, Matthew and Hannah Kearney, are buried with their children, Edward, Matthew, John, Sarah, Mary and granddaughter, Margaret. Although I would like to see a marker placed, I was shocked to receive a bill from the cemetery for annual care in excess of $1,000.00. Other genealogists have mentioned receiving the same unusual request for payment from this cemetery when they have asked for records. The marker can wait but the memories of that visit live on. Well, at least, for me.


  1. I suppose you could tell them that those relatives left you out of their inheritance. I do not mind paying for records and their time, but that cost was over the top.

    1. Agreed, Claudia! Thanks for your comment.

  2. I had to laugh -- I can't tell you the number of family photos I have that were taken in cemeteries... a non-genealogist would think it was a little macabre! I've also had cemetery foundations come after me for money; no surprise there because who else will pay for the upkeep, lol.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Kathleen! Good to hear from others who can relate.