Cemetery Serendipity

Since I've become involved in genealogical research, I thought perhaps it was time to put a monument on my parents' (and my) grave. My dad had always said he didn't really care one way or the other since I would be the only one left.

So I drove to Brantford, Ontario on August 19, 2009. Brantford is the Canadian "home town" for the Rodgers and McClung families. The seven McClung sisters all emigrated there from Ireland and it's where five of them remained. It's also where my parents Godfrey and Adaline (McClung) Rodgers finally settled in the early 1940's, my aunt Irene (McClung) Hoey and her son Tom around the same time, and where I was born.

After spending about an hour or so with the monument dealer discussing the type of stone, design, inscription and paying for things, I decided to go across the street to the Mount Hope Cemetery, where mom and dad are buried, to do a bit of research. Since the 19th was the 40th anniversary of my aunt Irene Hoey's death in 1969 and she was also buried there, I thought I would try to find her grave. Aunt Irene was my mother's sister and she lived with us for about the last 10 years of her life.

The nice lady in the office pulled out the card with the information on the location of her grave, which might as well have been Greek - Lot W 1/2 - 8, Range 43, Section J, Grave 1. By the puzzled look on my face she knew I needed help. So she pointed out the location on a map of unnamed squares. I said, "OK so she's 4 rows down from the road and 10 graves in from the fence." "Oh no, dear, each one of those little squares has 6 graves. So she's about 15 rows down from the road, beside the grass path and the first grave on the right."


Once again taking pity on me she pulled out a large ledger and started to look for names that I could use to locate the first row. "Yes, dear, the first two graves in the first row are Angus and Ford. They might have monuments. And her grave was originally owned by Laborde, but there's a notation of McClung on the file and Margaret Bain is buried near her."

It took me a few seconds to realise she appeared to be talking about the person everyone called Granny Bain - Margaret Frickleton who married my great grandfather David McClung. Bain was her second husband's name. Then I thought that couldn't be right because she died in Ireland.

With this in mind, off I drove to the far end of the cemetery and I found the grass path and, sure enough, there were monuments for Angus and Ford. I counted back the rows, but I couldn't find anything. I wandered up and down a few rows and started to head back to the car thinking maybe none of the graves were marked. Then I decided to count the rows again. For an accountant I seem to have a few problems when it comes to numbers. I had miscounted the rows and I wasn't back far enough.

I immediately found the Laborde monument and two graves to the right was Margaret's small upright stone.

I have no idea who the Labordes are, but two of my family members are buried with them. So not only did I find my aunt's grave but my great grandmother's as well.
I remember now that one of my grand aunts, Nan (McClung) Gilmore, gave us the grave where my aunt was buried. I believe it had originally been meant for herself (how she got it and Margaret's from Laborde I don't know), but she married afterwards and was to be buried elsewhere.

The finding of the grave lead to further research where I turned up Margaret Bain's emigration to Canada in 1934 to live with her daughters in Brantford and various notifications of her death and funeral in 1939 (see separate link on the main page). It also uncovered a bit of a surprise. On the passenger list she indicates she was born, not in Armagh Ireland, but in Airdrie Scotland; something that has been confirmed by the recent release of the 1911 Irish census.

Margaret was born a week before her father was murdered in Scotland in October 1858, but was baptised in Armagh in December 1858. I had always assumed, based on the baptism, that she was born in Armagh and that her mother probably intended to join her husband after the birth. But now it seems the whole family, including 4 other children, may have been living in Scotland at the time of Andrew Frickleton's death. Margaret's birth isn't registered in Scotland nor are the births of any of her siblings. And there are no parish records in Ireland (at least that I have found) of the births of the other children. However, I have identified three other children - William, Fanny Jane and Martha. The 1901 census shows that all three were born in Co. Armagh.
Brian Rodgers - October 14, 2009
Last revised: December 23, 2009
Added links to Rodgers and
Laborde gravestones

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