Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found

In July 2009, I shared my saga of trying to find the graves of my great-great grandparents and their son in a post titled Where the Sidewalk Ends. In short, I read they were in St. Joseph's Cemetery #2, but was told they were in St. Joseph's #1, though the church staff wasn't sure where in #1 they were. I was shown records that they were buried in #1, so I was convinced they were out there somewhere. I left Louisiana without success.

This past week, I returned to the scene in an attempt to locate the graves that have eluded me in the past. I went back to St. Joseph's Cemetery #1 and scoured the entire grounds. This wasn't easy, as the graves aren't laid out in neat, tidy rows. Sometimes I had to tread lightly on the bases of certain monuments to read the stones on the rows behind them. It's a delicate balance of respect, determination and trying not to sprain an ankle.

In the months between visits, someone had emailed me to say that the cemetery sidewalks were put in before the death dates of my ancestors, so it was unlikely they were under there. That made me feel better, but where were they? There were a few family plots where the information had simply worn away. Perhaps one of those held the Bourgaux name. I tried to channel my ancestors, beg them to point me in the right direction, bribe them with the promise of glowing tributes on my blog, but nothing worked.

I searched for about two hours and didn't find my Bourgaux names. My unwilling partner in crime was getting a little antsy, so I called it quits.

My son wanted to hunt for trains, so I told him we'd take a quick trip to St. Joseph's Cemetery #2 to re-take some photos of a few ancestors' graves. I promised him it wouldn't take long because I knew where everyone was located. So we roll into St. Joseph #2:

We get out of the car and head over to the familiar monuments of my great-great aunt and her family. For some reason, my eye wanders up and to the left and what do I see?

George P. Bourgaux

Emelie M. Bourgaux

Emile J. Bourgaux

It's my great-great grandparents and their son! They were in St. Joseph's #2 all along! But why did I have the paperwork that said they were in #1? They were originally buried there, but must have been moved at some point, perhaps by one or more of their adult children.

What matters most is that I found them! Or maybe they found me....

Emelie Menou Bourgaux
Emile Joseph Bourgaux


  1. Congratulations! Glad to hear a second trip paid off.

  2. Love the title of your blog post. Nice find.


  3. At last, an iota of information from Iota, LA! Great find.

  4. I laughed out loud (for real) at the part about channeling them for help. I've TOTALLY done that (sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't).

    Apparently they did want to be famous on your blog after all!

  5. Congratulations, and good for you for being persistent! I have a rather similar story, though my search was online, in which I found my grandmother's final resting place.

    Good work!

  6. Isn't it amazing how things happen? We just look up, down, or whatever and there it is! It's like you are being led to it by an unseen person or object........

  7. Wonderful story, and a nice happy ending. Your son must absolutely love his trips with you! Always get a kick out of anytime you mention him.

  8. How lucky you are to have such a delightful , tho antsy and unwilling partner in crime ---- and to top it off, you found the grave site.

  9. Congratulations, Amy. And nice new look on the blog!

  10. Fantastic post!!!! You were found alright! Very happy that you were! Can I borrow your helper? He seems more tolerant then my two.. =)

  11. Amy, Been there, done that, visited a cemetery in Suffolk Virginia, took photos (I thought) of an entire family plot. Yea, you got it, missed ONE stone, that of the mother! Got it a few years later tho, and on the revisit could not understand how I missed her the first time.

  12. Yay! Congrats. :) I found my gg-grandma's grave last year when not even trying:
    Serendipity is a wonderful thing. :)