Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Magdalena Keller

This is another in my collection of "I-love-it-but-it's-not-family" tombstone photos. This stone marks the grave of Magdalena Keller, possibly the wife of John Philip Keller, in the Christ Reformed Cemetery in Middletown, Maryland. There are not a lot of tombstones in this cemetery made of this material and pierced around the edge. All of those I found mark the graves of German-speaking families buried in the late 1700s or very early 1800s. This stone reads, "Hier ruhet// Magdalena Kell// erin ist gestor// ben den 24 Iulius// 1805 Sie wahr alt// etwa 40 Iahr." Loosely translated, the inscription is "Here rests Magdalena Keller, died 24 July 1805. She was about 40 years old."

I took this photograph shortly before leaving Maryland in 2004. I grabbed my camera and drove to Middletown to photograph tombstones of the Shafer families and its allies, but couldn't resist a few extra photos. I took about ninety photos in this cemetery and uploaded the bunch to my Flickr site in a set called "Christ Reformed Cemetery, Middletown, Maryland." If you don't include Flickr in your tombstone searches, you may be missing a treasure. Flickr is tagged by its users, so you may need to be creative in searching the site for cemeteries and tombstones, but you should also be aware of some Flickr groups dedicated to tombstone photographs, especially "Graves of Veterans of the American Civil War" and the "Find A Grave" group.

My ninety photos from the Christ Reformed Cemetery pale when compared to the 775 residing on Find A Grave. Magdalena Keller's tombstone photo is here, but the person who created the memorial was apparently unfamiliar with the German language. She appears as "Ruthet Magdalena Kellerin." The transcriber misread the word Ruhet [rests] as a given name, and he was unfamiliar with the old naming convention in which the suffix -in was added to create the feminine surname form.

What other sites do you routinely include in your search for tombstone photographs, cemetery transcriptions, and burial records? Make sure you add Flickr to the list.

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