No stitchy pictures for you; I'm working on the border for BOAF Friendship Sampler, but you'll have to wait for a photo update later in the week. (If you are only interested in stitching updates, then you probably don't want to read any further. Just come back and visit me another day!)
On Saturday morning, before it got humid, sticky, and hot, my mother and I went to an old cemetary in St. Paul. We went to visit my mother's sister's grave. My mother is the youngest of 10 children; there were 23 years between the oldest and my mom, she is the only sibling still living. In 1913, my grandparents welcomed their fourth child, a girl, and they named her Elisabeth. Exactly eight months later, she died. When she died, my grandmother was already pregnant with child #5. (An interesting little side note is that child #7, born in 1918, was a girl and they named her Elizabeth too --with a "z" instead of an "s"-- we always thought this was kind of interesting.) Anyway, no one really knew much about this baby that died, no one remembered her exact date of birth or exactly when she died or why she died.
One of my cousins and I dabble in geneaology (actually, I am the one who dabbles, she's serious about her dabbling!) Two years ago, we were determined to find out more about baby Elisabeth. We were pretty sure that she was at one of the older cemetaries in St. Paul as this is where many other family members are buried. A short visit to the cemetary office confirmed that she was there! They provided us with a map and told us how to find her burial spot; the only problem was that there was no stone to mark the grave; we would have to use other markers to find her.
We weren't surprised that her grave was unmarked because the family certainly didn't have the means in 1914 to buy a stone. This didn't sit right with us. The two of us agreed that one day we would purchase a stone to mark her grave.
Fast forward to 2009 - my cousin was in town visiting this spring and we decided to pursue this a little bit more. We needed to locate birth and death certificates so that we had correct dates and we wanted to know how/why she died. Even though I had been unsuccessful before, I went to the MN Historical Society website to locate either a birth or death certificate. This time I managed to find her birth certificate; the last name was misspelled on the birth certificate which would explain why I hadn't found it before. To our surprise, the date of her death was also noted on the birth certificate (perhaps the birth certificate was first filed when she died?) We couldn't locate a copy of the death certificate online, but a trip to the Vital Statistics office and the work of a clerk who knew her way around the older records yielded a death certificate for us. Baby Elisabeth had died from tubercular meningitis. How sad it must have been for my grandparents; how lucky they were that their other children did not get sick.
Now that we had the information we needed, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Her grave is now marked so that future generations will be able to find her; baby Elisabeth will never be forgotten.
My mom thought that it was a silly thing to spend money on, but I think that after visiting the grave with me on Saturday she feels differently.
I think now that I would like to select a special sampler to stitch and perhaps stitch Elisabeth's initials or her name in it as a remembrance...any suggestions?