There are two people in my database that seem to have two records about their burials -- one in Massachusetts, and one in Devon. I haven't found any other information that would indicate these are records about different people with the same name. Is it possible that they were re-interred, and if so, where might I go to find more information about their burial in England?
Cecil E. Elliott, son of Charles Elliott and Augusta Knowles
- Death Certificate from Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915 on FamilySearch (image). Reference ID: 403 , GS Film number: 2313119 , Digital Folder Number: 4283142 , Image Number: 01674
According to the Massachusetts Death Certificate, Cecil died on 14 Feb 1909 at the age of 30 years 6 months and 12 days. Burial was 17 February 1909 in Forestdale Cemetery in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The informant is Charles Elliott (his father). The name of the undertaker might be "Mills Lathrop". I have an article about his death from one of the local papers, which says that Cecil was a member of Grace Congregational Church, but it does not say what funeral home was in charge.
- Devon Burials, Archive reference 3040A/PR/1/17, Burials in Slapton, St James the Greater, Year 1911, page 32, Entry No. 254, by H.G. Warner, the local vicar:
According to this, Cecil was 29 years old. The abode says Slapton (crossed out) followed by Holyoke, Hampden, Mass; the burial date is 22 Mar 1911.
Charles Edwin Knowles, son of Arthur Knowles and Fanny Cole
- Death Registration (city register) image from Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915 on FamilySearch, Reference ID: v 529 p 100 , GS Film number: 2057736 , Digital Folder Number: 4289821 , Image Number: 823
According to this source, Charles died on 12 Jan 1902 at the age of 8 years 7 months and 8 days. Burial in Forestdale Cemetery in Holyoke, Massachusetts (no date given). I have not located any newspaper accounts for this death, and the register doesn't say, so I don't know what funeral home was in charge of the burial.
- Devon Burials, Archive reference 3040A/PR/1/17, Burials in Slapton, St James the Greater, Year 1902, page 24, Entry No. 187, by H.G. Warner, the local vicar:
According to this, Charles was 8 years old. The abode says Forestdale followed by Holyoke, Mass; the burial date is 04 May 1902. (There is a problem in that the entry reads "Charles L. Knowles, but the L is in a much fainter line than the rest of the entry.)
When I first saw these records, I assumed that the deceased were entered into the parish records in Slapton because their families had returned to England, and they wanted a record of their children's resting place in the parish records. But I had forgotten that the English registers are not death records, as they are in Massachusetts, but burial records. Would a vicar enter a burial if no burial took place?
How would I find out if these two people were actually taken to England and re-interred there? If the bodies were accompanied, what are the chances I could find someone in the UK Incoming passenger lists? Would any other records survive in England?
Note that in the USA, there might be two places to find information about a burial -- the funeral home which took care of the burial, and the association in charge of the cemetery.
I plan to hire a professional to search the records at Forestdale Cemetery for me, but I haven't yet done so. Presumably if someone were interred there and then disinterred, there would have been a record made of that, but who knows if any records survived.
I have no idea how common it was in this time period to send someone's body home when they died overseas, or what the expense might be, so any insight is welcome.
Additional records and background:
- Devon Baptisms in the parish of Slapton, St James the Greater: an entry on 01 Oct 1893 for Charles Edwin Knowles, son of Arthur Ernest and Fanny
- a birth registration for Cecil Edward Elliott in 3Q 1879 in Totnes Reg District (England census records indicate he was born in Dartmouth; those parish records are not yet online).
- a death record for Cecil's sister Lillian d. 04 Apr 1894. Note that the register header says "Residence, and Place of Death, and Burial (if elsewhere)" -- presumably she is buried in Holyoke but no cemetery is listed. I have not found a burial record for her in Slapton.
- a notice of Cecil's death published on Monday, February 15, 1909 in The Republican (Springfield, MA), issue 279, page 8; he is identified as the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliott.
- an account of Cecil's funeral published on Thursday, February 18, 1909 in The Republican (Springfield, MA), issue 282 page 10; it says that burial was in Forestdale Cemetery. These and other articles in the Republican identify Cecil as a member of Grace Congregational church -- another possible source of records about his life, if not his burial.
- prior searches of the British Newspaper Archives gave information about Augusta Elliott's probate, but I did not find articles mentioning either Cecil Elliott or Charles Knowles.
Cecil and Charles are cousins -- Augusta Knowles is Arthur's older sister (assuming all my identifications are correct).
Note this answer to the question Reading comment in 1825 baptism register? What statutes are in effect in this period?