Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Finding Family in the Cemetery

Two of the other things my mom and I came across while researching in Salem on Friday - with help from the volunteers at the Salem County Historical Society - were the final resting places of two members of the Kilson family: Carl Kilson and his mother Bertha (Allen or Ellis) Kilson.

They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, right outside of the City of Salem. 

On my last trip to Salem a few weeks ago, I was able to find Carl's obituary, with a picture, so do expect a post about this soon! Unfortunately I had no such luck with Bertha, nor did my helpful friends at the historical society, so I'm missing that reflection on how others remembered her. However, I do have her certificate of death. Again, post to come (I'm saying that a lot, aren't I? So much writing to do!)

There are 3 other family members that we were hoping to find here, but didn't: Bertha's husband Samuel Wayman Kilson, and their daughters Eleanor and Bertha Elizabeth. Wayman's death certificate states that he is buried at Evergreen, as do Bertha Elizabeth and Eleanor's obituaries, but there are no headstones. Carl and his mother are buried far apart in this fairly small cemetery, but if I had to guess where the others were resting, I would say in the area around Bertha, as there is several plots worth of unmarked ground near her headstone. Perhaps finances kept the shrinking family from purchasing headstones, or perhaps there are actually flat grave markers that have sunk and been covered by earth and grass? We may need to go back and check on a warmer, brighter day.

There is a fourth child, Samuel Dennis Kilson, but he is buried at Beverly National Cemetery, also in Jersey. As to why he is there, but Carl is at Evergreen, when both are veterans, I do not know. Nor do I know why Bertha's headstone gives "W" as her middle initial. And her date of birth differs by a year from another record that I have for her. Not sure which one is correct, but in the long run, I think this is a small detail.

In any case, it was nice to be able to visit Carl and Bertha at their resting place, and was a good way to cap off a day of research.


  1. Glad to see you doing this work Adrienne. Hope to see you in person sometime soon!!

  2. Thanks Ivan! I'm so lame - I haven't been down to see you! I guess you and the fam will just have to come to The Big Easy sometime this winter :)