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30 July 2012

Journey to the Past: St. Joseph's Cemetery

Photo by Brent Nimmo, posted at
As I headed to St.Joseph's Cemetery, I was confident that I could find those I sought quickly. I had previously contacted St. Joseph's regarding only family names that I sought. The office worker was so friendly and helpful. She sent me everything I needed to have success in this cemetery. When I opened my mail from St. Joseph's, I had a clearly legible section map. There were reference stones and an arrow pointing to the plots I was seeking. Additionally, I received copies of the burial records. To say they were what I wish all cemeteries would be more like, is an under statement. 

St. Joseph's is a Catholic cemetery and I've never seen or been in one of these dedicated spaces. It literally took my breath away. It was a peaceful and BEAUTIFUL cemetery. Despite the heavy traffic and construction on High Street on its border, the sound in the cemetery was like being in a paradise.

The landscaping, section markers, statues, alcove in a hill, and more were so picturesque, I would have loved to spent the entire day photographing the details in the cemetery along with the persons I sought after. However, I decided I should focus on the names (but I regret not photographing my favorite parts of this beautiful cemetery). 

John and Mary Mack
St. Joseph's Cemetery
Photo by Devon Lee

I found the names I sought in less minutes per section than any other cemetery trip. I can't say enough how important section maps and reference markers are for locating stones. It helps TREMENDOUSLY. That only made me appreciative of St. Joseph's Cemetery. I couldn't understand why Green Lawn Cemetery, which has over 160,000 burials doesn't have this computer system. I didn't even have to bother the office while I was there. I know a database such as this comes at a cost. However, St. Joseph must realize this is money well spent for a cemetery. I can understand that Oak Grove, East Lawn, and Obetz probably don't have enough money for something as fancy. However, computerize records would be a great help. Though, I still give Oak Grove credit for being helpful and willing.

Which names were I seeking? Primarily Louis Mack and his wife Catherine. Louis is a nephew to my 3rd great grandmother Caroline Mack Billman Geiszler. I was also looking for Aleta Geiszler, wife of William Joseph who was buried in East Lawn Cemetery with no stone. Additionally, I was looking for the parents of Aleta's daughter-in-law, Rose May Schoppelrei,

Aleta Bower Geiszler

I had so much fun in St. Joseph's Cemetery that I took 125 photos. (Compare this to the 45 I'd taken for the two previous cemeteries!). I would have liked to take 500 photos in this cemetery (including non-markers), but I still had more cemeteries to visit. So, I left.

One of many beautiful family markers at St. Joseph's Cemetery.

You can call me morbidly weird if you want. St. Joseph is BEAUTIFUL. It's worth a visit, even if you don't have persons buried there. But I can't thank the staff enough for helping me find my relatives in no time flat.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.


  1. I've been photographing on and off for Find A Grave for almost a year. I have visited a few different cemeteries in my area just west of Boston, Mass. I must agree with you when you find a truly beautiful cemetery, it's special. Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain is one I've been to a couple of times, and we just visited another, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown/Cambridge, which is beautiful and even has a fabulous website to help people find burial locations.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Wow. Glad to know that others find some cemeteries beautiful. Makes me feel less weird!

      - Devon


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