October 2021 Branch Update




Preserving. Educating. Promoting. 
Monthly email to the Family History Community

Greetings members and friends of Essex Branch,

Fall is here and we are well into all the fall activities. As always, we have lots of tasks and projects on the go that you could assist with from home. We really do need more people to step up and help. With winter coming on, maybe you have some extra time. Just drop us an email at essex@ogs.on.ca to tell us what you are interested in.  

Also, we have been evaluating a move from our traditional newsletter (currently approximately 18 – 20 pages, published three times per year) to a more frequent monthly offering. Beginning in 2022, we would expand our current monthly “branch update” to include, not only news, events and updates, but the photos, stories and articles usually incorporated in one of the three yearly issues. The quality and quantity would remain very much the same but such would be delivered at more frequent intervals. The main reasons for this consideration are the lack of manpower/volunteers, resources and time. Divvying the task of producing a traditional newsletter into smaller “chunks” would be more manageable. Of course, if volunteers stepped up to assist with the production of the traditional newsletter then we could maintain status quo. Please let us know your thoughts on this topic as we produce both the newsletter and the monthly branch updates for you. Email [email protected].


Essex Branch Educational Presentations – October and November

Tuesday October 12 at 7:00 PM
 Lynn Palermo

Our special guest speaker, Lynn Palermo, who many of you will know as The Armchair Genealogist, will discuss how timelines are amazing tools for family historians. At the most very basic level, they are a great way to organize our family history information. However, they don’t just stop there, they can serve the family historian on many levels. In the presentation, join our special guest, Lynn Palermo, as she demonstrates how to create a timeline and its multiple uses. Register for this presentation HERE.


Tuesday November 9 at 7:00 PM

Loraine DeCerbo will present a virtual tour of the French Canadian Genealogical Society of Michigan website with a focus on Notarial records.  Register for this presentation HERE.


Cemetery Crew

Over the summer, our cemetery volunteers have been working at Windsor Grove Cemetery (Howard Ave and Giles Blvd.) Our crew will go to extremes to get that picture! If you are in the area and can help out (Tuesdays 8:45am – 11:00am) stop by or email Pat Clancy, Cemetery Chair at [email protected]

Last month, they found an interesting marker of a member of the “Black Watch” along with quite a few other hidden stones. Special thank you to Rose Smith Lunua for the photos.  

The crew also worked in one of the “Baby” Sections (10 – West side) of the cemetery. This unique headstone memorial (below) is for a 7 year old, Elmer Byron, (born 1922) from Alberta. Little David Meddins was only 3 years old when he died of diphtheria (according to his obit.) Many of the headstones in this section indicated the year of passing between 1927 through 1929. Perhaps an epidemic in the area?    
Speaking of Windsor Grove, the Windsor Grove Cemetery Office has graciously provided us access to their database of burials. Over the summer, our volunteers have been comparing this database with our current Windsor Grove index. This project is almost half-way completed (we are up to the letter “L”) and already 7,634 names have been added. This brings the index to a total of 18,789 entries. Once completed, the revised index will be posted on our Essex Branch website. 

Unclaimed Cremains
Submitted by Sharon Kearns

My grandmother passed away in Windsor, Ontario in June 1967. She had pre-arranged and paid for her funeral; the last payment being made just a few months prior to her unexpected death. Her wish was to be cremated. Being that Windsor did not have a crematorium at that time, the funeral home sent her remains to Woodmere Crematorium in Michigan, USA. They were returned to Windsor in November 1967. At that time, cremation was not a very common practice. A card in my grandmother’s possessions revealed her funeral arrangements had been taken care of. I can only assume my father, her only remaining child, was under the impression there was nothing else to do in regard to his mother’s remains. We moved from Windsor the following year.

Forty years later (in 2007), funeral homes were given a directive to “clean up unclaimed cremated remains.” Letters were sent out by the funeral home to the next of kin’s address on file. Who would have thought that it would be necessary for the executor of the estate/family member of the deceased to provide a change of address to the funeral home? Not only was our family no longer living at the same address we were living at in 1967; the next of kin had also since passed away. As such, no letter was received by our family with respect to my grandmother’s cremains.

Jump ahead to 2016. My parents and their parents have all passed on. My sister and I take a trip to the cemetery, only to find that my grandmother is not there and had never been there. After contacting the funeral home, I found out that all unclaimed remains had been placed in a common crypt in a mausoleum at the Green Acres Cemetery in Winnipeg. Apparently, Dignity Memorials was the parent company at the time and unclaimed cremains were eventually sent their location in Winnipeg. 

In 2016, the cost to have my grandmother’s cremains sent to the funeral home in Windsor was $795.00 plus postage costs. Other expenses to consider included the cost of the burial, an urn (if the cremains are not already in an urn), the plot and a grave marker/headstone. The funeral home, who was involved with the original funeral arrangements when my grandmother passed, was required to initiate the process. Because our father had been the executor and had since passed, as had our mother, we (my siblings and I) had to provide death records for our parents, along with a copy of the will to show that we were next in line and therefore able to initiate the process of having our grandmother’s cremains returned to Windsor. Yes, there’s always paperwork, but the process wasn’t difficult. Within two months, my grandmother’s cremains were at the funeral home in Windsor. The family services director at the cemetery was wonderful to work with. Within three months of starting the process, my grandmother was buried with her son and daughter-in-law. She was home.

So, if your relative was cremated and you cannot find where they are buried or interred, it could very well be that someone did not retrieve their cremains from the funeral home and they had been sent to another location. The local funeral home is the best place to start looking for answers.
Donation from the Kingsville-Gosfield Heritage Society
We wish to thank the Kingsville-Gosfield Heritage Society for a donation of duplicate books and material from their collection. The material includes information on the lives of Simon Girty and John Prince; family histories of the Girty, Olsen and Nelson families; and some Indigenous and Essex County historical resources. We will add these resources to our library collection at the Windsor Public Library, Local History Branch, in Sandwich, Ontario.

Educational Presentations

There are many FREE educational presentations being offered by our society and branches. Here is the line up for October 2021. To find out more about the topics and to register, go to each branch’s website and/or Facebook Group for the details. Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge)


Membership Time is Approaching

Just a quick reminder as we enter into the final months of 2021, your membership to OGS and our branch may be expiring within the next few months. The very successful “Grow Our Family” campaign along with Early Bird Prizes will be back! If you are a current member of the Society, find a new member and you both receive 50% OFF your next year’s membership. Put those thinking caps on to find a new person so you will be ready when it is your time to renew. OR if you are not a member yet but want to be, send us an email and we will find you a current member to match up with. More details will be coming in November. 

As always, we hope to hear from you with your ideas, comments and suggestions.

Have a thankful and spook-tacular month!
From the Ontario Ancestors – Essex County Branch Operating Team
Pat Clancy                       Cindy Robichaud
Michele Watson              David Hutchinson
Linda Urquhart               Tammy Richards
David Thompson