Looking for relatives at Shortland Cemetery and can't locate them?
Well, I am not surprised, as things are not always what or where they should be. On a semi-regular basis we find headstones on wrong plots, incorrect details and much more. Here are a few examples of possible errors found while researching Thamesites interred in the lower extension (along Danby Street) at Thames' Shortland Cemetery.
Case One - the wandering headstone.
Thames Coromandel District Council records have Robert Lloyd interred in Plot 4430. The plot was covered in agapanthus - a plant that is one of the biggest 'pests' given the growth and damage done to grave structures. Also in the plot was another person, not uncommon in the cemetery. The area was cleared and the only grave marker was for Mavis E Wenzlick.
Further along the row on the opposite side was a large stone memorial, unable to be read due to lichen growth. A quick clean with water and soft brush revealed the headstone belonging to Robert Lloyd. The reason for the headstone being located on Plot 4450 instead of 4430 are unknown.
Did family place it on an empty space at the entry to the cemetery? No records to-date solve the mystery. It is a reminder to relatives to look in surrounding areas. When we find these errors the local council are notified and a note added to the findagrave entry.
Who was James Houghton? Why was he interred with Mary Josephine Houghton and her daughter Melbro. The original Sexton's cemetery records were checked and the details correct. (copy below)
The investigation became more complicated when it was found that the newspaper reports had the name of the person interred 21 July 1932 as: Charles Thomas Houghton. The good news being that at last it all made sense, this was Mary Josephine's husband.
While we still do not have the answer as where the mistake took place, it would appear that James Houghton is in fact Charles Thomas Houghton. At least that's the answer today...I await with interest notification from Anglican Archives as to who is recorded in the St George's Church burial register. We may have followed the wrong lead!CHALLENGE
The next time you find something amiss with the cemetery records, rather than pass them over, stop and try and solve the mystery.