15 June 2011

Find Great-Grandfather's Burial Place

     My brother-in-law, Ryan, went to visit his grandparents in Pennsylvania this past weekend. His mother had previously supplied me with a compilation of their family history, which I had built upon with my research. I sent Ryan some questions to ask his grandparents who, my sister told me, loved to talk about the family. What I got back was a collection of short notes on the Heinlein and Thomas families of Allegheny County, PA. Mainly they confirmed what I already knew or had discovered.

Ryan and Grandpa Bernie Thomas
     There was one mystery that the family was curious about however: an ancestor's burial place. The details of this mystery were relayed to me third hand and got a little muddled. Then when I finally figured out what it was, I was a little surprised. The family wants to know where my brother-in-law's Great-Grandfather, Matthew B Thomas, is buried. What's strange about that? Well Matthew Thomas died in 1986, while his son Bernard (the grandfather in this story; still alive today) was living across the street.

     I couldn't understand how the burial place was not already known. However, it seems that the family was dealing with issues of religion, inheritance and general eccentricity. The family split, not speaking to each other. Also, the family knows where Matthew's wife, Christine, is buried, and Matthew's not there. On top of that, Matthew Thomas was cremated. As my sister pointed out, "he might not have been buried at all, but might in an urn on someone's mantle."

     So, how am I going to find out where Matthew is buried? This one should be pretty easy (if he was actually buried). I sent a request through Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness for an obituary lookup and am requesting a death certificate, which is only $9 in PA.  Hopefully we'll have answers soon.

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