Friday, January 16, 2015

Campobello Cemeteries & Island Genealogy

As I continue work on my "Charlotte County Interment/Burial Database" I am now a few week into entering data for cemeteries on Campobello Island. At the moment, the database contains over 25,410 entrries, and I have just completed entries for burials at the Old Wilson's Beach Cemetery, the new Wilson's Beach Community Cemetery (aka Head Harbour Cemetery) and the North Road Baptist Cemetery. I am now in the midst of entering data for the St. Anne's Anglican Cemetery at Welchpool.

As with Deer Island (and all communities in Charlotte County for that matter), I learn much about the area while entering data. Entering data is not simply taking info from cemetery transcriptions (either my own or transcription made by others), but it is also researching each burial using government and church records to determine full dates of death and birth, as well as the names of parents and spouses. So for each entry, I spend a little time getting know the person for which I am making an entry for. Multiply this by the complete population of a cemetery and the process gives one a great perceptive of the community.

And for Campobello, this has certainly been the case. Common surnames such as Brown, Calder, Matthews, Lank, Malloch tend to be a part of the majority of the entries. While the communities are mostly made up of fishermen and their families, a few island "farmers" and summer residents also make up the population. One aspect that you must deal with it comes to genealogy and Campobello: the fact that many of the island residents were born, married and died in the neighbour community of Lubec, Maine. This can make research a little more tricky as vital record with regard to Maine are not as easily accessible as they are with the Province of New Brunswick.Another interesting aspect that I have noticed is that many of the island's men married women that were a little older. While marriage on the mainland was typically between an older man and a younger women, this does not seem to be the common case on Campobello. Even headstones tend to identify with the woman/wife first: "Mary Jane Batson, wife of John H." whereas the majority of headstones in mainland cemeteries identify the man/husband first. While wife being listed first on headstone tended to be more common in the late 1800s, this tend continues in Campobello to the present day. Perhaps it took a slightly more mature, dominant wife to take care of a Campobello fisherman?!

As my project continues, I have found the GEDCOM database of Heather Waddingham's "My England & Canadian Roots" to be of great assistance. Heather, who is also the coordinator for the Rootsweb site for Campobello, has help me on a couple items with respect to understanding the naming of the cemeteries on the island. As with Deer Island and Grand Manan, some cemeteries have changed names over the years. Thanks Heather!