05 April 2010

Tombstone Tuesday -- new mysteries from Find-A-Grave

It's always good to check back with active websites.  Find-A-Grave as of today has 44 million graves recorded.  It even has a photo of my namesake, Lavinia Murdoch (Thistle) Bruce's tombstone -- she was the first of us four Lavinias.  I knew she was there in Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego, but haven't yet managed a visit.  She spent her last widowed years in San Diego living with her youngest daughter, Grace (Bruce) German and son-in-law, Martin German.  I live with some of their furniture and the portraits of Lavinia's grandparents (Daniel Cresap Jr. and Elizabeth Swearingen) which she brought to with her to California from Maryland. Grace was the aged aunt who banged her cane on the floor and demanded my mother come up and listen to her stories of family.  She intoned, "You're so proud of your Cresap heritage, but they were nothing.  It is your Bruce family you should be proud of."  My mother always regretted she didn't really listen to the stories.

I did NOT know until I saw this tombstone that Lavinia Murdoch Bruce nee Thistle is buried with a J. Byers Smith and a Rosamond Windsor Bruce. I don't yet know who they are, and I thought I was pretty up on this family. I am indebted to the photographer who posted this on the web, he reminds me that there is so much more to learn.

Lavinia Murdoch Thistle b. 2 April 1817 in Cumberland, Allegany, Maryland, d. 17 August 1896 in San Diego, California, m. 1 Nov 1842 by the Rev. Mr. A. Samuel Buel, Episcopal Minister to Henry Magruder Bruce (b. 10 July 1808 in Allegany County, d.  15 Sept 1865 Cumberland). Lavinia was the 5th child of 12 -- a daughter of Thomas J. Thistle (a Scots-Irish immigrant) and Julianna Cresap of Cumberland.

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