Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"Bring Out Your Dead"

Can I just tell you that I love calling funeral homes, cemetery offices and county death record offices? 

Not once have I ever encountered anything other than a helpful, kind employee when I've made the effort to look up a number and get on the horn. 

One lady in South Carolina (SWEET accent) offered to go outside in the snow one January day and take a picture of my relative's headstone and email it to me.

Bless you, employees.  We geeks couldn't do it without you.

Now on to today's character - my great uncle Burt Damon Bathrick*.  Never married as far as I can see, Burt lived what must have been a colorful life.  Born in 1863 in upstate New York to Lysander and Phoebe (who died when he was seven years old), the youngest child by fifteen years - Burt made his way west with his father and landed in Great Falls, Montana.  (Lysander ended up in Wyoming.)

I'm trying not to mix him up with a Bert Bathrick, who was born five years earlier and died in 1923. 

My uncle Burt held a variety of jobs, from railway laborer to beer hall employee to novelty salesman.  Just guessing from the occupations he chose, he is an adventurous, hardworking, gregarious, people-loving soul, who loved his adopted city but wasn't much for sticking around in the same job.  He never owned a home, always lived at boarding houses, which to me says he preferred to take life one day at a time.

I'm about to call Cascade county and see if he did stick around long enough to be buried there.  What's funny is, I find myself mentally stuck in the 1980s way of genealogy-ing sometimes... "So Great Falls, huh... it would be so fun to go there, but it's so far away..."

Then I remember "when" I am.  In these days of instant access to telephone numbers listed online, help is only a few clicks and a phone call away. 

Blessings abound :)

*Why Burt today?  The 1940 Census, of course.  I did an individual search on PAF using my ancestors filter (grandparents and aunts and uncles only) and filtered them by individuals born in the 1840-1941 birth range, so I didn't miss anyone.  Three hundred and ninety-six people I'm looking up.  I've already found new family members all over the place.  Yay :)