Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Visiting Pittsburgh's Uniondale Cemetery ~ 52 Ancestors #17

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Cemetery.

One of my favorite Geneablogger themes over the years has been Tombstone Tuesday. I have visited cemeteries in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to visit my ancestors' gravesites. I have also vicariously visited cemeteries in Nova Scotia, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Kentucky by way of FindAGrave and the kind volunteers who take pictures of gravestones and allow them to be shared on my blog.

In January 2014, I blogged about having many direct ancestors and collateral relatives buried at Uniondale Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

Ancestors of my grandmother, Helen (Hunter) Copeland, their death dates, and their burial locations

I finally got to Uniondale Cemetery last August and, along with my husband and my Pittsburgh cousin, visited the burial locations of four second great-grandparents (James Hunter, Mary (Freeland) Hunter, George Lysle, Marion (Alston) Lysle), eight third great-grandparents (see chart above) and one fourth great-grandmother, Mary (Wilson) Lysle, the mother of George Lysle (d. 1877) in the chart above.

We also visited Allegheny County Memorial Park, where our grandparents and great grandparents are buried.

Although FindAGrave is a wonderful resource, I love visiting a cemetery in person in order to see the layout of the gravesite and the relation of one lot to another.

My third great-grandfather, Samuel K. Hunter is one of nine family members buried in a plot with his wife and several of his children (and one grandchild) who died as children or young adults.

Samuel K. Hunter
Catherine Hunter
Mary J. Babcox [daughter]
Anna E. Hunter [daughter]

As I was walking around this obelisk taking photos of each side, I looked around at nearby stones and saw this one.

James 1813-1890
Born in Maghrafelt Co.
Derry, Ireland.
Hannah Wilkinson
His Wife
Born in Armagh Co.

Following is another that photo shows how close these lots are to each other; Samuel Hunter's obelisk is in the center of the lot next the the James Hunter / Guy lot, on the back of which is the engraving for Olivia Edith Guy (1862-1901), the daughter of James and Hannah, and John Hunter Guy (1901-1902), the son of Olivia Edith and W. W. Guy.

Could James Hunter, born in Maghrafelt Co. Derry be a brother of my third great-grandfather, Samuel K. Hunter, who was born in Ireland (but I don't know where)? I've started to explore some records, but need to do the "reasonably exhaustive research" required by the Genealogical Proof Standard to be sure.

This is why actually visiting a cemetery can be eye-opening and provide a clue to finding an earlier generation.


  1. I'm anxious to write about my favorite cemetery - hope I can make the time this weekend. Like you, I like visiting in person but Findagrave is a wonderful alternative.

    1. I look forward to reading about your favorite cemetery. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I love visiting cemeteries. You are so right that much can be discovered by who is buried near your people. I've done thousands of FAG photos (13,545 and counting!). I usually try to also post a photo of the plot, with names added.

    1. Nancy, now that the weather is warming up in the northeast, I am looking forward to getting back to fulfilling FindAGrave photo requests as well. It's so rewarding! Thanks for the comment.