The drive to Chicago was overcast and drizzly. That evening tornadoes touched down in towns to the north and west of us. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people affected by these devastating acts of nature.
Day Two dawned sunny and warm. We were relieved as we had hoped to visit several Chicago cemeteries during our visit. First stop? Acacia Park Cemetery and Mausoleum.
I mentioned my focus on Alma (nee Mueller) McBane here. She is buried with her parents at Oak Woods Cemetery on Chicago’s south side. Her husband John is buried at Acacia Park and I wanted to get a photo of his headstone. Particularly after locating his obituary at the Gail Borden Public Library the day before.
But a 1000 mile road trip for just one headstone photo? Au contraire! Before leaving home we scoped the photo requests for each of the cemeteries on our list. As I drafted this post I checked Acacia Park Cemetery again. There were 218 photo requests waiting to be filled.
The first thing Husband and I do when we arrive at a cemetery is take a picture of the sign (see photo above). I would be terribly unhappy if on some later date I opened a file folder with hundreds of headstone photos but no idea where I had taken them. Acacia Park has a large map of the cemetery just inside the entrance. Even better, the sections are marked with their subdivisions. So helpful!
I had called ahead and knew John was buried in the West Portal section Block 3 Lot 3. I didn’t go directly to John however. First I took 100+ pictures; all the headstones in the West Portal section starting at the entrance and stopping shortly after reaching John’s.
Why? Well, you might be looking for an ancestor buried in this cemetery too. If seeing your ancestor’s headstone in person isn’t a possibility, I’d be delighted to share it with you virtually. I will be forever grateful to the Find A Grave photo volunteer who snapped a picture of my 3rd great-grandfather’s headstone in Maryland.
Acacia Park Cemetery is large. Just knowing a section number when looking for a gravesite is not enough. If you’ve requested a photo through Find A Grave, I encourage you to contact the cemetery. Ask for as much information as they can give you about the location of your loved one’s grave and add this information to your request. It only takes a few minutes and doing so may move your request to the top of a Find A Grave photo volunteer‘s list. The phone number for Acacia Park is 773-625-7800. I’ve found the staff there to be extremely helpful.
While I was taking headstone pictures in the West Portal section, Husband was in another section of the cemetery taking pictures. We keep an eye on one another because it is surprisingly easy to lose track of time and space when you’re in a large cemetery. We carry whistles and blow them to touch base on those occasions when one of us has slipped out of sight, perhaps behind a tall headstone or down a hilly slope. The buddy system is important in cemeteries for many reasons. But I digress.
Despite all the genealogists and volunteers interested in saving these headstone images for one another, there are still literally thousands of cemeteries that haven’t yet been photographed. Join us if you can. A cemetery can be a lovely place to spend a hour or so and a genealogist out there somewhere will be grateful for your efforts.
Of course, we weren’t satisfied with visiting just one graveyard. We stopped for lunch and then we were off to Chicago’s Mount Olive Cemetery.