Thursday, May 29, 2008

Found Auntie Josie's Grave

Well, I hit the jackpot yesterday in my search for more information about Auntie Josie. It turns out that Auntie Josie is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, in a family plot with 9 other family members!

The gal I spoke with at the cemetery office couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. She went through all the information she had and was very patient in answering my questions (you know how we genealogists can be sticklers for details ;-). Here's what I found out...

The family plot of 10 graves was purchased in 1952 by Casimer and Lawrence Wroblewski. Casimer would have been Josie's brother in law (husband's sister's husband). I don't know who Lawrence was. He's not buried there. Each of the graves has it's own headstone. There is no family name marker in the plot.

The first to be buried in the plot was Paul Anthony Wroblewski. He died in 1952 and I'm guessing he was a child of Casimer and Helen (wife) Wroblewski who are also buried in the plot (died in 1961 and 1986 respectively).

Auntie Josie (d. 1992) and her husband Bronislaw Ronowski (d. 1979) are buried next to Bronislaw's sister Clara Veronica Ronowski (d. 1982) who never married (at least I don't think so ;-). Auntie Josie's daughter Florence (d. 2002) and her husband Philip (d. 1996) are also buried in this family plot. This was good information to get because it gave me her daughter's married surname.

The remaining 2 graves belong to Frank Ronowski (d. 1965) which was Bronislaw's brother, and his wife Florence (d.? can't read my handwriting :-7 ).

The one person whose grave is missing from the plot is Auntie Josie's other daughter, Frances. Fortunately for me, Auntie Josie's daughter Florence died in 2002. That meant that her obituary might be online at the Detroit News. I headed over to the Detroit News website next (their online obits and death notices started in 2001).

I was lucky again! Florence's death notice gives not only the married names of her three children (and the first names of her 3 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren) but the married name of her sister Frances as well :-) . It didn't mention Frances as "the late" but then the obit was written 6 years ago. So my next stop was the SSDI to look for Frances.

No, Frances wasn't in the SSDI. Could it be she's still alive? She'd be 88 now.

The next stop was (the best site I know of for finding current addresses). I did a lookup for Frances and found 2 addresses for her in the Grand Rapids area from 2004. She probably moved from one location to the other at that time generating an official change of address filing. I don't know which address she might still be at so I think I'll just send letters to both addresses and see if I can find her. Of course I can't very well come out and ask her why her relatives told me that her mother never married or had children but it would be nice to make the contact anyway. Perhaps she could share some insight into family interaction or maybe photos :-) .

I'm going to try to get over to Mt. Olivet Cemetery this weekend to take photos of the gravestones of Auntie Josie and her family and see if I can find out any other information. I'll keep ya posted :-)