Today the weather was so amazing that I could no longer put off a small project I have long wanted to embark on: finding family gravestones at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.
As I’ve been building my family tree (primarily the Becker branch), I have accumulated tons of dates.
Sometimes the easiest milestones in a 20th century American’s life to date are their death and burial, because of newspapers and their obituary pages, death certificates, and burial permits. Some of these records can be searched and found online. Many more of them can be found on microfilm at the library.
Anyway, while I have collected many dates, obituaries and documents, something I have not done much of is visiting the cemetery. I did go once before to Mount Hope Cemetery in south St. Louis County to look for some Kaminskis. On that trip I took Jadzia with me. She was game for it, but got tired after a while.
Today, I took Ludi to Calvary Cemetery, which is the biggest Catholic cemetery in St. Louis.
We went looking for some of my Becker ancestors. I put together a list of various ancestors along with their burial sections and plots, using a very handy online database here
The first grave marker we found was that of Rose Carpenter (nee Becker) who died in 1924. Though the marker has only her name, she is not buried alone. Also resting there are her mother Dora Becker (nee Neubauer, d. 1893), her husband Henry Carpenter (d. 1903), her brother Henry Becker (d. 1907), and her father William Becker (d. 1908).
William and Dora Becker are my G-G-G-G-grandparents. They are the original Beckers in my family tree who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany. The lived briefly in Louisville, Kentucky before settling in St. Louis.
The next marker we found was that of the Kempers. Buried there are Joseph and Dorothy Kemper (nee Becker), as well as Dorothy’s mother Anna Becker (nee Lutz). Dorothy’s name is not on the stone, but she was buried there in 2001.
Dorothy was the sister of the man I grew up calling “Grandpa Becker” (actually my great-grandfather): Frank Becker. So Anna was his mother. That makes Anna my G-G-grandmother.
After finding Anna, we found the marker for her husband William G. Becker, who died 35 years before she did, in 1936. Strangely, the stone has a place for her name, but she ended up being buried in the Kemper plot.
The last marker we found was for the Brinkmanns — Katharina (d. 1890) and Herman (d. 1893) — and I was very pleased to have found it. It was in a section of the cemetery that has very few stones, though thousands of people are buried there. It was in an out of the way corner, and in decent shape for such an old marker, though some of Katharina’s name had been obscured by earth and grass. The marker is written in German. I’ll have to come back some time and making a rubbing of it to try and have the text translated, although it probably says nothing more than “rest in peace,” etc.
Ludi really enjoyed her time with me, and didn’t complain at all. In fact, the wide open spaces and quiet were right up her alley. She really wanted to run around, but I tried to keep her from doing too much wild running out of respect for the cemetery.
As we were leaving, we found a bunch of geese and ducks at the little lake near the entrance.