18 April 2016

Learning new words.

For the last few months I have been going through both the Valley Register, the Middletown weekly paper, and the Catoctin Clarion, the weekly paper for Mechanicstown, now Thurmont. I've been trying to find out when some of my aunts and uncles died in the late 1800s. Since a lot of people didn't have stones, or the stones have been lost or stolen, the only way to find out when and where someone died is either with church records or in the local newspaper.

This is what the typical top section to the Death Notices looks like in the Catoctin Clarion.  I believe that they were free to print unless the notice exceeded five lines.

While reading though the Death Notices I started to see words that I had never seen before.The first being ultimo. Ultimo means in the month preceding the current one. Somewhat confusing, but I've since gotten used to reading it and understanding what it means.

Here's a typical example, meaning in this case Mrs. Dunlop died December 18, 1872.

The other new word is instant. In this case instant means in the current month. Sometimes there are some inconsistencies where near the beginning of the month the notice states "On the 15th instant", but the newspaper date is before the 15th.

Another typical example that says John O'Toole died November 5th, 1872.

These smaller newspapers can be a great way to find ancestors. The Catoctin Clarion can be found online at the Library of Congress for the years between 1871-1922. The search function doesn't work that well but it is a start. A lot of times one can find children that never made the census records since they tend to give age and parents names in the notices. Marriage notices are also listed in each of the newspapers which many times states the officiant's name and place of marriage. Occasionally the bride's parents are also listed.

There are many issues of the Catoctin Clarion missing, especially the first few years. I have not found an online edition for the Valley Register. Typically the Marriage and Death notices fall on page 3 for both newspapers, though occasionally they fall on the 2nd or 4th. Rarely are there no notices published at all.

Hopefully you can find some of your relatives in these local newspapers and fill in some holes or break some brick walls.

13 April 2016

Detour Methodist Protestant cemetery

I had heard a number of times about the Methodist Protestant church near Detour a few times. Every time the story was the church was mostly gone and hard to find. Having not really explored the western part of the county often I had never gone past the area to know what to expect. Names in Stone lists 50 names meaning the cemetery should be big enough to find, or at least someone should know where to find it.

Driving down MD77 I came to Detour, which is just across Double Pipe Creek at the Frederick/Carroll county line. When I knew I went a bit too far I turned around and turned down Detour Road. Much to my surprise, the church is quite visible from the road.

Remains of the church and part of cemetery
 I stopped at the nearest house to ask who owned the property so that I could get some photos. The woman I talked to told me that no one actually owned the property, and when I later looked I was unable to find a property ID. There was no good place to park the motorcycle and I had to find a flat stone to place under the kickstand to keep the bike upright. After a short walk from the road I was able to see the cemetery and remains of the church. 

The neighbor told me that occasionally they will go and clean up the cemetery and it looks like they occasionally cut down trees. But the area is over grown and many of the stones have fallen over. I was able to find all but 17 stones that Holdcraft listed and in reviewing his work to mine I was only able to find 49 names and not 50.

Behind the church
The cemetery was split in two parts, a few stones near the front of the church and the rest behind. The stones near the front were in better shape then those in the rear, though some were harder to photograph as they were up against the metal fence.

Remains of the church in March 2015
 As you can see, over the years the church has crumbled, though it's far more intact then I was expecting from the stories I had been told. There are now trees in the middle of the church and you can still see where some of the windows belong, but there's no evidence of doorways or walkways.

I will probably try and go back and try and find the remaining stones as I'm sure they are just covered and hopefully can be easily found.