Tombstone Tuesday!

Hidden Headstones… 

In August of 2014 I was, once again, in the Derry City Cemetery searching for family graves.  Since my last trip “back home” in 2012 my research had unearthed several family connections and various other family members who were also buried in this particular Cemetery.

Derry City Cemetery 3

I was looking for a few specific graves, which where proving very difficult to find.  However, with the help of my daughter, aunt and an employee of the Cemetery, I was able to find and photograph them.  The grave I was most interested in was that of my 3rd great grandfather Daniel Chambers.  An ancestor that none of my living family knew about and a grave that no one attended!  We were all completely unaware of its existence until very recently!

Derry City Cemetery 4

I was also looking for the burial ground of my maternal second great uncle James Beattie. Finally, his headstone and that of his second wife, Fanny, was discovered.  It had been over grown by a tree – literally surrounded!  I would never have found it if not for the help of my little entourage and a very knowledgeable Cemetery employee.  He just wouldn’t give up – he said, “you didn’t come all the way here not to find it!  Martin, I remain in your debt!

Derry City Cemetery 2

An excerpt from A Visitors Guide to Derry City Cemetery states:  “From 1 January 1867 the graveyards attached to St. Columb’s Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Church and Long Tower Chapel were closed to new burials, with ‘access’ restricted to those families with rights to graves.

The City Cemetery was opened in 1853.  The first reported  burial was that of Robert McClelland, a 10-month old child who died 10 December 1853.  Robert had lived on Orchard Street in the City.

Joseph Bigger, who died 12 January 1854; was the first adult buried in the Cemetery (His grandson, David, was Superintendant of the City Cemetery and actually lived in the Gatelodge). Today there are over 74,594 burials – an average of 400 per year. “

Derry City Cemetery

I look forward to my next trip “back home” and intend to spend much more time in this particular Burial Ground.  It is a Cemetery which is very large, beautifully  kept and one where I feel at peace.  A Cemetery full of stories and “Hidden Headstones”!

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About CJ Murdoch

Genealogy: Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of my family, both maternal and paternal lines "hailed" from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was the summer of 2014! If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
This entry was posted in Burial Records, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tombstone Tuesday!

  1. Pingback: Too Many Deaths Too Soon! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  2. Pingback: The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

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