Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - There's More Than Meets The Eye in Calvary Cemetery

The city of Brockton, Massachusetts has many cemeteries and if I look around hard enough, I can probably find someone of relation in each one. But the one that holds, how should I put this, the most distinction to me is Calvary Cemetery. Located on North Cary Street, Calvary Cemetery is the eternal resting place to many ancestors of mine.

Among the many ancestors laid to rest there, one of them was my great-grandfather, Fred McRae. Now finding his grave was tough when I first went looking for it a few years because there was a wreath covering the names. But once I found it, I saw that there were three other people buried with him: his sister, Mary McCormick, their boarder (Mary and Fred took in a lot of boarders), John Doherty, and Fred's adopted grandson, Kevin Newell.

Mary McCormick (1879 - 1958)
Fred J. McRae (1892 - 1951)
John E. Doherty (1897 - 1962)
Kevin F. Newell (1952 - 2001)

Now around the headstone where two in-ground stones. Towards the front right of his stone was a memorial commemorating Fred's time in the army during World War I. And towards the back left of the headstone was a little in-ground stone with one word on it, "MOTHER" (I'm going to save the story surrounding this stone for  Mystery Monday).

Marker commemorating Fred's time in the military during World War I.

So after all was said and done and I had copied down the information I needed and took pictures, I left, thinking nothing more of it.

Over the years, I continued my research and made some very interesting discoveries. After looking at the death certificate of Fred's father, James R. McRae, I found out Mary was actually a step-daughter to James (half-sister to Fred). On a 1900 U.S Census Record, I found the names Edward and Thomas McCormick (spelled McCormack on the census). Now I had originally assumed that Thomas or Edward was Mary's spouse and the other was a brother of said spouse.

But after reading the obituary of Fred's mother, I found out that Thomas and Edward were actually Mary's brothers (Fred's half-brothers). Also on the obituary was another child named Ben! I was quite suprised by this.

But now the big question for me was - what the heck happened to them all?!

One problem I had been having was not being able to find Mary's death date (She died in 1958; records at the library stopped around the 1940's and the records at the city hall were too much (there's a fee just to look).) So yesterday, I decided to call Calvary because I thought maybe they could give me her burial date. And wasn't it quite a shock when the man told me that the grave was actually a ten-person grave! I was stunned and even more so when the names he read off to me included Thomas McCormick (spelled McCormack on the records there), Edward McCormick, and Benjamin McRae!

Bingo! I found them!

But now, the one thing that puzzles me is why they are all buried there but only Mary, Fred, John, and Kevin's names appear on the headstone. Hmm . . . maybe, I should have saved this story for Mystery Monday as well.

Ben McRae                         (Burial June 10, 1932)

Thomas H. McCormack       (Burial December 4, 1941)

Child of mgt                         (Burial January 7, 1944)

Child of James Newell          (Burial September 3, 1946)

Edward McCormack             (Burial August 31, 1950)

Fred McRae                         (Burial March 2, 1951)

Mary McCormack                 (Burial November 15, 1958)

John E. Doherty                   (Burial December 14, 1962)

Kevin Newell                         (Cremation June 27, 2001)


  1. Congratulations on post #1! I had a feeling you would be very good at this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for lots more good stories.

  2. Hi David,
    I'm one of Heather's distant geneablogger cousins.
    I was over at Calvary Cemetery a few weeks back myself on a Find a Grave photo mission. Beautiful place.

    Welcome to the Geneablogging world!

  3. Thanks! I'll definitely have fun tomorrow with Wedding Wednesday!

  4. All of us remember that initial post. It looks like you've got all of the skills. Welcome aboard -- it's a great ride with great people.

  5. Hope you enjoying blogging about your results / frustrations as much as the rest of us.

  6. Hi David,

    I was looking for Americans with Dutch ancestors and came across yr 'first born' blog.
    Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of genealogy.

    Stay with us!
    Dutch Genealogy Society
    On twitter: @ngv_genealogie

  7. Now I'm wondering if they are spread out or all stacked up or...?

  8. Congratulations on your blog! I re tweeted and shared your post on my blog....