Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Looking for Mary Jane

To continue yesterday's story...

With today's technology, there is so much family history information at your finger tips. With just a click of a mouse, you can find all kinds of stuff.
The LDS Church website is a great source and it's free! Another one I use, which requires an account is And Utah is what I call the 'genealogy capitol of the world.' So where was Mary Jane?

Did you know that if you want to find just about any grave in Utah, you can search here: Utah State Burials. Now Richmond, Utah is not the smallest town in Utah, but their cemetery records are NOT on that search engine! Our family records indicate that Mary Jane Brower was buried in Richmond, Utah, but I wanted to verify it.

Well, wouldn't you know it? The beginning of Aug. I knew I was going to be in Logan, Utah with Daughter #1 at her Sweetheart's Family Reunion. And wouldn't you know it, Richmond, Utah is just a few miles north of Logan. I asked Daughter #1 if she would take me up to Richmond to go hunting for Mary Jane's headstone in the cemetery. Daughter #1 was a good sport about it. (believe me, this wasn't the first time I've asked one of my kids to go hunting in a cemetery!)
Richmond is a small, quiet town. Here are some pictures I took as we drove around looking for the cemetery. By the way, a drive around town takes about 5 minutes!Check out the picture below. I thought this was so funny! I thought this was someone's pet. It's a sheep! A sheep was tied up in someone's front yard! No need to get out the lawnmower!
We finally found the cemetery! We got there and walked all around that cemetery for an hour and never found Mary Jane's headstone. Daughter #1 and I searched and searched. Below is Daughter #1 doing her "detective work." (I think she was imagining she was on CSI!)We talked to a gardener who said the only index and map of the cemetery was at the City Hall. Wouldn't you know it? They were closed! When I got home, I did more research on the city of Richmond, Utah. I also searched the Internet for any more records on the Brower family. Then I called the Richmond City Hall and asked if they could direct me to website with an index of their cemetery records.
"Sorry," the lady said. "We're not on the Internet."
Then I asked, "So could you email me an index?"
"Sorry," the lady said again." "We can't do that. We don't really have a list. Our cemetery records are on index cards."

She asked who I was looking for and she could look it up. I said, "Thanks anyway. The next time I'm up there, I'm coming in to your office. What are your hours?"

I couldn't believe it. A card catalog? What? Wasn't this Utah? Wasn't this the "genealogy capitol of the world?" Ok, below is not a picture of the lady at City Hall. But it's who I imagined I was talking to!

In my research about Richmond, Utah, I learned that they had a 5.7 earthquake there in 1962 that caused some extensive damage. Check out this picture below. I found it in a news article about that earthquake. Look what happened to their cemetery! Could Mary Jane's headstone be one of those that's toppled over? I made another phone call to the woman at City Hall. (I think she may be their only employee.) I asked her if the headstones were repaired after their 1962 earthquake.

She said, "Oh, no...well, I hate to tell you, but the broken headstones are still stored in a shed."

Another shock! These people's headstones have been stored in a shed since 1962!


My next trip to Utah was over Labor Day weekend to attend a wedding in Twin Falls, Idaho. I flew to Salt Lake City, then stayed at Daughter #1's house. We had one morning free before we took off to Twin Falls, so I begged Daughter #1 to take me back to Richmond to visit the City Hall. The woman at the City Hall didn't look at all like I imagined. She was actually quite young and very nice and helpful. She looked up Mary Jane's records and told us where the headstone was located. Somehow we missed it. Isn't it beautiful? "Mary Jane H. Brower 1835-1915, Age 80 years."

Perhaps we were meant to miss it. After all, I would have never discovered more about her life. And by the way, I have contacted the Utah State History website and have asked them to contact Richmond, Utah and encourage them to get their records online! I'm also working on who to talk to about getting those headstones repaired too!

Look at what else I found. I found a picture of "Brother Brower." I will call him Brother Brower, too...just like Mary Jane did.

Thank you Daughter #1 for your help! You really were a great help. After all, it's your heritage!
Tomorrow...a picture of one of the most beautiful quilts. Time to put the genealogy away and get back to work.


Sherri said...

It was good to hear the end of the story! Wouldn't have imagined Utah wouldn't have everything digitized!

dee said...

thanks for the finish to the story. You clearly love a good mystery as I do. Wonderful work Vivian.

kelly said...

What a great story! So glad you finally found Mary Jane (and so much about her). Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne said...

I love FH mysteries. I found Jane also at has added her info,including her husband and children. Find a Grave is based out of Utah and sometimes has wonderful, little town cemeteries other sites don't list.

You have really been busy with the FH, Vivian!