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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Those Places Thursday: Dying in Old Philadelphia

Dig, dig, dig.  Don't you just love digging in old cemeteries?  Oh, wait.  Don't you just love to see what surfaces when you dig in old cemeteries?

While we genealogy buffs can't literally dig in old cemeteries, we can dig back to our roots by using cemeteries of old.  For instance, just this last week, I have been digging around in Philadelphia trying to find more evidence of the family.  While I have known of early family ties in the area, my new attempts at digging up more have resulted in both frustration and joy with the old cemeteries.

The two cemeteries of interest are the old Christ Church Burial Ground and the Lower Burial Ground.

The Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia has been around for about 300 years.  Interred underground and in the above ground sections are many interesting and famous colonial families.  While its most famous resident is Benjamin FRANKLIN, there are also many other early Americans of interest.  There are five signers of our great Declaration of Independence who rest here, as well as other famous Americans, including John ROSS, Betsy's husband.  While my family does not have anyone considered "famous" residing here, I do have family.  I am related to the BRINGHURST, DALLY, and SIMMONS residents.  What is frustrating is I have identified the sections and the plot numbers.  Why is that frustrating?  Because there is no map showing where the sections are!  I know old Ben is in Section A, and I know my BRINGHUST kin are in section B.  How close are they?  Perhaps I need to take a pen to paper......

Entrance to Hood Cemetery.  Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Imagine my delight after the disappointment of not finding section maps when I stumbled across the Hood Cemetery in Germantown!  This cemetery, originally known as the Lower Burial Ground, had its land set aside before 1700, thus making it also around 300 years old!  This cemetery is alive!  No, no.  It's not the walking corpses, it's the history!  Thanks to Brendon McTEAR for taking the time to thoroughly dig in to the lives of the residents and posting about them.  What a treat it is to read of the history of Germantown and its early residents.  Of course, I, too, have kin resting there as well.  Think BRINGHURST, SIMMONS, RAGUET and ASHMEAD.  See a common theme?

I have the roots in those early cemeteries and am always looking to learn more about the early folks, their lives, and how they shaped the history of our land.

Ahh, genealogy.  Gotta just dig the history!

©2017  AS Eldredge

Sources: Philadelphia, Tombstone Inscriptions from Christ Church [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.
Original data: Clark, Edward L. Record of the Inscriptions on the Tablets and Grave-stones in the Burial-Grounds of Christ Church, Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Colines, Printer, 1864.

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