Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Trip to Remember - Day 3

Because I had finished all but one of the cemeteries I had originally planned to visit, I decided to spend this day in the archives looking up death records and such. The main problem is that finding parking in Downtown Manhattan is more difficult than getting a man pregnant. It took ages to find a parking spot, and it was in a place where you were only allowed to park for one hour. *sigh* So I went into the archives for an hour and hit a complete dead end. I found absolutely nothing, so I went back to my car to move it. And, of course, I could not find another parking spot to save my life, so I gave up on the archives entirely. Since it was still pretty early I decided to go have lunch with a cousin of mine, Joan, who lives in Scarsdale. (This is the same cousin whose second husband's grave I visited at Linden Hill on my first day in NYC.)
She served me an incredible lunch and even packed up some things for me to take along for the drive. My next stop was Sharon Gardens, a part of Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY. I was only looking for Arthur and Rose Bellin (cousins through my grandma Sadie), but once again I was met with a whole plot of "missing" people! Arthur's sisters, brother-in-law and niece are also all buried there. I gained so much genealogical information just from this one stop, including adding Arthur's brother-in-law and niece to the family tree!
Because it was still quite early in the day (only about 2:30pm), I decided to make an impromptu trip to Rodeph Sholom Memorial Park in Fairfield, CT where I knew I had two cousins buried. I had not believed I would have time to go there, so it wasn't on my original list of places to visit, but since it was mostly on the way home and I was running very early, I decided to go for it. I arrived at the cemetery in less than an hour and saw the smallest Jewish cemetery in creation. I could walk the entire cemetery, looking at each grave, in just about an hour. If I had had more time I would have taken pictures of all the headstones to catalog them in Find A Grave. There's actually a teensy cemetery adjacent to Rodeph Sholom called Bnai Israel Cemetery which I also walked through during that hour. I was looking for cousins through my grandma Bess (my mother's mother) - Sophie Alpern and her son William. I found them easily, precisely where the man on the phone had told me they would be when I had asked for their plot information weeks earlier.
With that stop in Connecticut I finished my adventure and headed home, happy that I found nearly everyone on my list and was able to put a stone on each grave in memory of that person. I had a great time on my trip and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It's too bad that my husband and son are not allowed to enter cemeteries or I would love to take them along with me. Maybe next time I'll let my mom come, too.
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