Earlier this month, Ellen and I attended the Merner Family reunion, held in Seaforth, Ontario. You can read more about the reunion and our participation by clicking here.
After having researched Ellen’s family history for several years, there are certain places that I just feel compelled to visit. Perhaps it’s because I have entered the same village or town name into my genealogy database or maybe it’s an intriguing family event that I hope a visit might allow me to feel like I am experiencing the event in its proper context.
Riverside Cemetery is one of those places. For many years, as I have ‘found’ more of Ellen’s Merner ancestors, typically they have been buried in New Hamburg’s Riverside Cemetery. Even many of those ancestors who had moved away from the New Hamburg community, were returned to their ancestral town for burial.
The trip to the reunion location took us right through New Hamburg so I couldn’t resist the temptation to locate the cemetery and try to find the graves of Ellen’s ancestors whom I have come to know so well.
Riverside Cemetery is located in the south end of the town, away from the business section located north of the highway. It is a large, well maintained cemetery which, with some pre-trip Google map planning and a GPS unit, was very easy to find. Unfortunately, we visited on a Sunday so there was no office staff available to provide directions on where to locate the graves I wanted to find. Even though it was possibly the hottest day of the year, I was okay with that as I am like a ‘kid in a candy store’ when it comes to walking around an ancestral cemetery searching for family members; and, I found Merners, lots and lots of Merners.
It is important to note, if you are planning a trip to this cemetery, that the east side of the cemetery is also known as Holy Family Cemetery; the eastern part serving as the Roman Catholic section. Although the Merner family as well as the other main branches of Ellen’s family tree were predominantly Methodists or Lutherans, there were many Roman Catholic Merner family members. The graves of these family members were eventually located in the eastern Holy Family section.
Below is a photo of Ellen at the grave of her 3X great-grandparents, Jacob Emanuel Merner (Muerner) and his wife Susannah Schluchter. Jacob died in 1869 and Susannah in 1875. Their gravestone is well worn and the inscription is not in English but their names, dates of birth and death, as well as their ages at death are clearly legible.
Perhaps the most touching family gravestone was found at the graves of Jacob Ernst and his wife Clarissa Merner. Jacob and Clarissa are buried together in Riverside Cemetery along with their son Walter who died in 1901 of appendicitis at the age of just 14. Below is a photo of the statute erected as a memorial to Walter. The base of the memorial statue is inscribed “Our Darling Boy.”