Saturday, June 2, 2012

When Great Great Aunt Katherine died

My great grandfather, Lowell Copeland (1862 - 1935) had an older brother, Charles T. Copeland (1860 - 1952) and a much younger sister, Sarah Katherine Copeland, known as Katherine. I had known for a long time (from the Copeland Genealogy and the Lowell Genealogy) that she was born on October 15, 1874 and that she married her second cousin, William Harrison Dunbar. (His mother was a Copeland.)

However, only recently did I find out when she (and her husband) died, and it was in part thanks to Find-A-Grave!

Find A Grave, courtesy S. Esposito
A volunteer in Calais, Maine, had set up memorials on Find-A-Grave for several of my Copeland ancestors and extended family. See the Find-A-Grave memorial for Katherine, which has links to memorials of her parents and other family members. I have included the photo of the stone here; it includes names of several family members, including William H. Dunbar and his wife Katherine. Note that I have had the memorials transferred to me and I have updated the Find-A-Grave information about Katherine since doing additional research about her.

I had already known that Katherine died between 1920 and 1930 because I found the family (Katherine, husband William and three children) in the 1920 census (in Cambridge, Massachusetts), and in 1930, William was listed (at the same address in Cambridge) as widowed. From the gravestone, I learned that Katherine died in 1924. This narrowed down my search parameters to find out exactly when she died.

I went to one of my favorite newspaper sites, GenealogyBank, and searched for Katherine Dunbar in 1924 and found three notices from the Boston Herald about her death on September 13, 1924.

September 15, 1924, page 10, Boston Herald,

September 22, 1924, page 3, Boston Herald,

September 24, 1924, page 13, Boston Herald,
The second article gives me the information that, although she was not yet 50 when she died, she had been ill during the family's summer in England, so perhaps the death was not so unexpected. This article also tells me which ship they were on and when it arrived, so I searched for a passenger list, and found the list of United States citizens on board the Doric which left Liverpool, England on September 12, 1924 and arrived in Quebec, Canada on September 20, 1924. When I found the family on this list, the most emotional thing for me was to see that she was returning home with not only her husband, but her two sons, ages 20 and 10.

The funeral notice indicates that she was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, in Boston. I called Forest Hills and found that both Katherine and William Dunbar are buried there, so the stone in the Calais Cemetery is simply a family memorial.

Record of Dunbar Family traveling from Liverpool, England, to Quebec, Canada Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District
through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954

Following is an image of the ship that brought great-great aunt Katherine Copeland Dunbar home. Passenger Ships and Images: Doric

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