Sunday, July 18, 2010

Doughboy Finally Laid to Rest at Arlington National Cemetery

91 years after Thomas D. Costello was killed in the Bois de Bonvaux, France during World War I, his remains were finally laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

After perishing from German artillery fire, Costello was buried in nearby woods, with a cross to mark his grave.

A search was carried out for several years following the war, but officials were unable to locate his body. According to the records kept on the case, the investigation was finally suspended in 1932. Many years later, relic hunters found his remains as well as those of several other soldiers in eastern France.

Based on dental records (sent to Costello’s sister after the war), evidence of a fatal head wound, and some artifacts found at the discovery site, including a rosary, French coin, and remnants of uniforms, the Defense Department’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was able to make an identification.

This is the point at which the story takes a turn that should thrill genealogists: It was through a “Pentagon genealogist” (someone who works at the Pentagon who is a genealogist or a professional genealogist who works for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command?) that Pentagon officials were able to contact a family descendant (apparently Costello’s great-great nephew), Michael J. Frisbie. Frisbie was honored to fly in from Maine with his family in order to attend the funeral of a fallen soldier. And so, 91 years after his death, Costello received a soldier’s funeral.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Discovery of gravestones in stream at Arlington National Cemetery

As I was driving to work this morning, I heard a story on the news about some old gravestones being discovered in a stream bed at Arlington National Cemetery. At least one of the stones had a name on it, but the name is not being released. At some point the Cemetery had adopted the practice of removing names from discarded grave stones, grinding the stones up, and sending them to a recycling center. It is not clear whether the recently found stones predate that policy. Apparently the new policy was put in place when it was discovered that some people would remove the stones to be used in their own yards. The stones may have been used to shore up the stream.

More information on this story and previous revelations of incorrect burials and mislabeled headstones can be found here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unbelievable – What Can Be Done?

Incredible … you are not going to believe this … please check out Ruther Coker Burks’ Graveyard Rabbit blog, last2cu. She made a shocking find yesterday and has a short deadline for figuring out what to do about what may very well be her great-grandmother’s tomb, left exposed by the lowering of a lake into which a developer had thrown what remained of a family cemetery back during the Depression. If any of you Graveyard Rabbits or others who are knowledgeable about these matters know what Ruth can and should do, please advise her.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Teen’s Christmas Wish Is a Gravestone for his Grandmother

Though we are sometimes tempted to dismiss younger generations as being self-absorbed, there is always evidence to be found supporting the opposite conclusion: there are actually a surprising number of young people who think of others first.

This was the case with 13-year-old Leo Guenette, a 7th grader at J.E. Benson School in Windsor, Ontario. For an assignment to answer the question, “If you had only one wish for Christmas, what would it be?”, the young boy wrote that he would like a gravestone for his grandmother, who died November 9.

To read the full story about how this wish was answered, click here.

It is certainly inspiring and reassuring to read of young people like this as well as our young GeneaBloggers and young Graveyard Rabbits. There will definitely be another generation who will remember their ancestors.