Fourth in a March 2017 series about my Irish (Dempsey) and Welsh (Owen) ancestors in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Maryland.
In January 1993 I finally headed to Baltimore — the hometown of my paternal Irish (Dempsey) and Welsh (Owen) ancestors. I hoped to make some new discoveries during the trip, but never imagined how quickly they would come!
My travel partner, a college classmate, recommended we begin at New Cathedral Cemetery, where my ancestors are buried. I wanted to pay my respects and photograph their stone, so I readily agreed.
New Cathedral Cemetery
As we drove to the entrance on Old Frederick Road, I was surprised by the immensity of the urban burial ground.
Most of my ancestors were laid to rest in smaller cemeteries, but New Cathedral’s grounds ranged over hill and dale — the cemetery’s road map resembling a small-town street plan!
My inquiries at the office yielded two unexpected details:
- Katherine Negri, one of my grandmother’s sisters, arranged for my great grandfather Frank H. Owen’s 1949 burial. (Aunt Kate lived in New York City then, so this was singular news.)
- Even more surprising, the Dempsey-Owen stone was not placed on the plot until 1963.
“1963? Are you sure?” I asked. The family burials took place between 1907 and 1949 . Why wait so long?
“That’s what it says here,” replied the woman at the desk. “The stone came from Seubott Memorials in 1963 . They’re over on Frederick Avenue.” I added the address to my itinerary.
Visiting the ancestors
We drove into the grounds, turned left over a stream, then right to Section SS, where Plot 212 was a short walk from the road.
Standing before their central stone — with Dempsey on one side and Owen on the other — I felt a warm connection to these ancestors who I once barely new. I silently thanked them for leaving the archival trail that had led me to their final resting place.
Departing New Cathedral with a newfound sense of my Welsh-Irish heritage, I wondered what more I would learn about my paternal grandmother’s family on this genealogy journey.
More stops, more surprises
Our next stop was C.M. Seubott Memorials to see what they could tell me about the 1963 purchase of the Dempsey-Owen stone.
Memorial companies are often good sources of family history information, and Seubott was no exception.
“Yes, the stone was purchased on May 15, 1963, and delivered to the cemetery on May 23,” a staff member confirmed. “Paid for by Charlotte Wilson, 520 South 8th Street, Springfield, Illinois.”
Really? Another surprise.
Aunt Charlotte (maiden name Owen) was another of my grandmother’s sisters. I made a note to call my Dad when I got home to see what he knew about this mystery. Then we headed to our next stop — St. Martin Roman Catholic Church.
To be continued. Please stop back.
© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.