Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring has sprung, and this graveyard rabbit is hopping again!

It was a long, snowy winter, but finally the tombstones are free of their snow cover and ready for this eager graveyard rabbit to discover and photograph again! 
Bohemian Church, Hopkins, Minnesota

My very first graveyard hop of the season was one of my best ever.  I finally figured out the location of the cemetery where my husband's great grandparents and great great grandparents are! It's right in my own home town, so it's pretty ridiculous that I haven't been able to find it, but here's why:  

First, there are three churches right in a row on that street.  I didn't know that, and I was concentrating on the first one, which it turned out was not the right church.  I didn't understand it, because I wasn't paying close attention to the address/directions on the usgenweb page.  I figured I knew where the church was... etc., etc., etc.  

Second:  The cemetery transcription was tripping me up, because of an error. The great great grandparents were Joseph (1841-1922)  and Anna (1845-1924) Plihal.  The cemetery transcription had a Josephine Plihal (1842-1922) and an Anna Plihal (1845-1924) next to each other, but just glancing at that, I thought, well, no, that's not them.  It turns out that the tombstone says "Joseph" (not "Josephine"), but it does say 1842, not 1841.  Either I've got his birthdate (Dec 1841) wrong, or whoever ordered the stone didn't know his birthdate, but knew he was 80 years old, so just put 1842.  

Also, my husband's Bohemian ancestors had a tradition of naming their children after family members.  Nothing could be harder for the genealogist, especially when they're all living near each other!  There are literally THREE couples named Joseph and Emilie Plihal that I've been researching, in the same vicinity and right around the same age!  Confusing!  Plus, I only had information calling MY Emilie "Emma" so looking at the cemetery transcription, not finding an Emma, I thought they must be buried somewhere else.  Upon further research, though, my Emma was called Emilie too.  

Anyway, once again, I'm learning the lesson that you HAVE to be open-minded in researching these things.  There are always going to be mistakes, spelling variations, name variations, and you have to keep your mind open and look into all possibilities to find your people!  

Such a thrill to be able to be out graveyard hopping again!  Happy Spring, everyone! 
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This work by Kimberly Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.