Well, Santa, I’ve been challenged! (In more ways than one, I might add!) But most importantly I’ve been challenged by a little “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” to sit on your lap (and I’ve never been opposed to that!) and ask you for my “genealogy related desires!”
Well! Do I have a list for you, Big Boy! but I’ll pare it down so as not to seem too darn selfish this year!
1. First and foremost this year, please help me find my very own grandfather! No, I know where he died, when he died and where he’s buried! I’ve seen his headstone in Arlington National Cemetery! I want to know where he was born and what his actual date of birth is! Who are his parents and is Sherman really our surname? Dad thought he only lied about his age to join the service, but brother’s DNA indicates that he probably lied about his name, too! How can we match Zieglers closer than we match any Sherman anywhere?
. . . and, why or why did you have to let his records be included in that batch that burned in St. Louis?? Why, Santa, why?
and #2 is not as important as #1, but important, never the less to me, please give me a little “stick-to-it” desire to finish re-organizing my office. I have the file cabinets, copy machine, copy paper and everything needed, all I need is time, Santa, time!
I do know Santa, that there are others out there who need your gifts much more than I do! I’m talking about those in Haiti still living in tents, and those servicemen worldwide living away from their families, many in harms way. And don’t forget those in our own country! Many are still looking for work and in fear of losing their homes. Look after their wants first, please Santa, and then if there’s anything left over, I’ll take those two little things I talked about!
After all, I’ve been waiting over 20 years to learn about my grandfather’s background and
he took that information to the grave with him!
Some people will go to any lengths to get that one little piece of information that they are looking for. I am one of them. My husband drove to Stroudsburg, over 200 miles roundtrip, not once but twice, so I could find George H. Auxer’s headstone! But perhaps I should start at the beginning of this story . . .
It seems like I always knew there was a George H. Auxer, but I just didn’t know much about him except he was a daguerreortypist. Since you “ain’t gonna find anything unless you keep looking” I kept surfing and voila! several years ago, I found a reference to this man in the Dickinson College Archives. I contacted them and made an appointment to come view their file on the information. All of this is on another blog I wrote several years ago. I’ve picked up a little information here and there since then, but nothing noteworthy UNTIL!
Just in time for Veteran’s Day, Ancestry.com posted a group of records titled “Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999.” Thinking I knew just about every veteran in my database, I almost didn’t check it out as I considered it a waste of valuable time. Boy was I wrong! Boy am I glad I checked out this database! Lo and behold, there was George H. Auxer and he was buried in Stroudsburg! What?? Stroudsburg? The card in the database listed the cemetery, section and plot number, name, birth and death dates, dates of service . . . DATES OF SERVICE??? HE WAS IN THE SERVICE??? This was the first I heard of him in the service! Well, I had to get up there to take a picture of this headstone!
Trip number one: I went armed with the form I had copied from Ancestry.com and was sure I’d go right to the spot where George was buried. The cemetery, however, is not marked with section numbers so I went to the office and spoke to two men who worked there. They informed me there were no such numbers in their cemetery, nor was there a “south side” as the card indicated! Furthermore, they mow the cemetery and have never seen that name! Crestfallen I decided I needed to stop at the Historical Society and see if they have any information. As luck would have it, we were there on a Monday, the only day they are closed!! On to the Library, where I did find reference to his obituary, but the reference was to records in the Historical Society! We had a so-so meal at a lunch place in town and headed home.
Mulling this experience over several things occured to me and the first one was they couldn’t have read the headstone if it wasn’t there! The card had the name of the Cemetery and the street it was located on, and that’s exactly where we were! The second thing was that reference to an obituary. The obituary surely has some information that may be helpful. I looked for the Historical Society on the internet and found an e-mail address for them and shot off an inquiry, stating my dilemna and what I had done so far. The Very Next Day! I got a response that she had a copy of the short obituary, and a map and finding aid for the cemetery, please send a check for $1.32. Well! I don’t write $1.32 checks so I sent a little more and within two days had my answer!
The cemetery has been renumbered since the day when George Auxer was buried in 1867 and she sent a map for that period and one for today. She also sent a sheet with burials in that area, along with a one line death notice that gave nothing more than the fact that he’d died after a lingering illness and his age.
Trip Number Two: Earlier this month we lost a friend whom I had known for almost 50 years. Our children grew up together and our sons still remain best friends, even though they’re in their 40′s now. Her funeral was on the 30th of November in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, right off of the I-80. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania is right off of the I-80, 75 miles east of Bloomsburg. Since it was not a special trip to find George’s resting place, I did not feel bad asking Jim to once again take me to Stroudsburg to find George! The day before the funeral we did just that. Armed with the information from the Historical Society and with the above map from Mapquest, we once again headed to Stroudsburg to see if the Historical Society was correct or if the Cemetery caretakers were right.
The straight white line that goes down the center of the cemetery is the road from Dreher Avenue that runs through the cemetery. Superimposing the map from the Historical Society over the above referenced map we found that the section that George should be buried in the that section that is almost square on the upper middle of the cemetery, under the words “Stroudsburg Cemetery.” While Jim rested, Linda, armed with a camera started her trek through Section E. Lo and behold, the names on burial sheet from the Historical Society started popping up and my heart started beating a little faster. As I got to that pine tree in the center of the cemetery, I found George! I put an orange dot on the map where he is resting for eternity. I wanted to go find the caretakers next, but thought better of it. . .
Comparing the picture at the top of the page with the map and the orange dot and this picture, do you see George’s headstone at the top of the page? It’s the little rounded one in front of the flag, and it almost gets the shade of the tree.
The next questions to be answered are, what was he doing in Stroudsburg when he had a studio in Hackettstown, New Jersey? and If he served in the Civil War between 1861 and 1865, why was he checking into a hotel in Philadelphia in 1862?
I think George has a lot more to tell me!