Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Searching for Adam

One of my research goals was to locate the gravesite for my great-grandfather, Adam Czarnecki. The various spellings of the surname presented many dead ends in the quest to locate information. Searching the local newspaper archives for Adam's obituary became an exercise in futility. My eyes were slowly crossing and my head ached.

Recently I had begun attending webinars by various seasoned genealogists. In a blog post I document attending the "Google Search Tips and Tricks" presented by Lisa Louise Cooke. Using one of the search strategies from the webinar I was able to locate Czarnecki family obituaries. Finally I had the exact location to search for my elusive ancestor.

Yesterday my husband and I finally had free time to venture to Holy Rosary Cemetery. The cemetery is one of the larger Polish cemeteries located in Baltimore County. I was told by the office that my grandparents were buried on the lot beside a chapel at the highest point of the cemetery.

Walking around the I notice there were several large areas without headstones. This seemed odd since most of the graves were very close in proximity. Finally, I located the spot where the headstone should be standing. What did I find? Another large space with nothing to show who may be buried beneath. To say this was an upsetting moment would be an understatement!

My husband notice the chapel seemed to have had major repairs. Looking closer you could clearly see the difference in bricks half way up the chapel. Also, the roof was tin instead of wooden. We reasoned at some point extreme weather hit this area. Did a severe storm bring down parts of the chapel? Was damage done to surrounding headstones? Another mystery to add to my research.

After moments of sadness that my great-grandparents were unmarked, I took the above photograph for family records. Also, I plan to record the information in Find-A-Grave for other family researchers.

One bright spot of the day was locating the dates of death and birth from the office manager. Next stop state archives to locate certificates, and hopefully more pieces of the puzzle.

Mission accomplished! I finally located Adam!


  1. Can I ever relate to this, Deb! I found the graves of my eight great grandparents and only two had markers. Perhaps there's solace in knowing that all these years later you've taken the time to find them and honor their existence. That must have given you a good feeling

  2. I'm always sad to discover my ancestors are in unmarked graves. I once spent half an hour wondering through a section of a cemetery knowing, "they're supposed to be right here..." before visiting the office and learning the grave was unmarked. It was a bit heartbreaking