After sixteen plus years of searching we found the final resting place of my GGGrandmother Katarina (Katherine) Bodenhausen Buhle! Click here to see Katarina’s Family Tree
The Clue that broke down the Wall!
You just never know where or when you’re going to find another leaf in your family tree. My husband Randy found a new online database with a transcript of Katarina’s son, Nicholas’ death certificate. The transcript says he was buried at Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. So, he called the cemetery, hoping to find other Buhles buried there. Well, great news, they told him Nicholas was in a family plot, in the Nazareth Section, with five other family members! The cemetery gave us the last names and first initial of the other family members, along with the date of internment for everyone. So besides Nicholas, who was the last to be interred, dying in 1941, they gave us, CW Buhle -d. 1905, K Gemuendt – d. 1913, L Humphrey – d. 1919, J Buhle – d. 1920, and JJ Gemuendt – d. 1935.
Back to the search
So, with the CW Buhle’s 1905 death date, Randy returned to search the new Family Search New York City Death Index. He found a transcript of a Carolina Magdalena Buehle’s death. We were pretty sure it was our Katarina, even though the transcription was not so good, stating her age at death as 25 and it didn’t match the CW we got from the cemetery, but it did list her interred at Evergreens, and they had her maiden name as Battenhauser, and the death date matched what the cemetery had. With that transcript and her son John’s will, we decided we should get a copy of the death certificate, it’s always good to see the original, as some transcriptions are not always accurate. On a side note, I just want to say that Family Search is an great search tool and they are adding data daily, using volunteers, including Randy & I, for transcribing. Even though I say the transcriptions are not always accurate, all of us are really doing our best to get it right.
How to get copies of vital records?
Today with the internet it’s really very easy to get a copy of just about any vital record you want. To get Katarina’s, we went to the City of New York’s website. Then just kept clicking through to get to vital records and we were able to order a certified copy, we didn’t have to pay for a search, because we already had the record number. We were able to pay for it online and they mailed it to us fast, we got it in just a little over 2 weeks. I know it seems strange that I keep calling my GGGrandmother Katarina, when her death certificate says Carolina Magdalena, but over the years we’ve found that she used several different names on different documents.
When we knew the cemetery and that it was a family plot and we had the section, I posted on Find a Grave a “photo request”. There are over 600 photo requests at the Evergreens Cemetery. I wasn’t very hopeful, but 2 days later I had a photo of the memorial marker for the Gemuendt – Buhle family!
As you can see on the close up of the marker Nicholas is not on there. That may be because he was the last one to pass, and maybe none of the nieces or nephews knew about the marker. But it is sad that he is not etched on the marker.
Green Oasis in Brooklyn
So, the final resting for my GGGrandmother Katarina is at the Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Which it turns out has become an historic and famous place. John Rousmaniere wrote a book about the cemetery in 2008, called Green Oasis in Brooklyn: The Evergreens Cemetery 1849 – 2008. I’ve included a synopsis of the book here.
This special account of a special institution uncovers one of America’s most bucolic but least known historic sites – a classic rural cemetery located in Brooklyn, New York, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After describing the key role played by these rolling hills in the American Revolution, historian John Rousmaniere tells how a health crisis shut down urban churchyards and led to the creation of this beautiful cemetery on farmland on the Brooklyn-Queens border. The new cemetery was so remote that families vehemently protested the transfer of their ancestors’ remains. Designed by the most acclaimed architects of their time, Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing, the Evergreens became a popular park for people seeking open air as well as a last resting place for all sorts of Americans, even some deemed pariahs. Chinese-American laborers and African American soldiers in Civil War “colored” regiments lie near tycoons, Congressmen, and ship captains.
Here are intimate accounts of the lives and deaths of famous people. The song and dance star Bill “Bojangles” Robinson sleeps at the Evergreens, as do the infamous scold Anthony Comstock, the jazz saxophonist Lester Young, the nature painter Martin Johnson Heade, numerous crooks and war heroes, and two suspects in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
There are chapters on burial “from the home,” Chinese funeral rituals, the design of monuments, the rise and fall of Decoration Day, and calamities such as the 1918 flu epidemic, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, and the loss of the General Slocum. The theme running throughout these pages is of how much we – as individuals and as groups – care about making sure that no one comes to an anonymous end in a lonely pauper’s grave.
It’s always nice to find your ancestor mentioned in a book or newspaper. A close second is to find them in some other historical context, such as, where they were living, while history was being made. We’ve all been alive in history. The fascinating part of genealogy is when you “see” your ancestor living in history. There are all sorts of sources that can give you some depth and insight into what their lives were like, even reading historical novels or in this case a history of where my ancestors were laid to rest, has given me insight into how they lived, worked, played and died.
I found out a lot about the cemetery by listening to Taking A Tour of Brooklyn’s ‘Green Oasis’, put out by NPR. I have saved the transcript and audio, so I’ll always have it for future generations. Here is a link to the The East New York Project another little site I found while I was researching Katarina and where she is laid to rest. I would encourage you to look at the rest of the website too for a look at the “Lower East Side” of New York, where our Bodenhausen and Buhle’s began their life in America.
Please add your memories or comment!