Thursday, January 8, 2015

Irish Ancestors in Massachusetts

What do I mean by I couldn’t have been further from the truth and so close at the same time?  Our family, (Sadie’s son Nelson H. Vaundell and his wife Genevieve and children) lived in the apartment upstairs from my grandmother (Sadie) at 14 North Main Street, North Grafton.  My Aunt Evelyn (Sadie’s daughter), her husband Viking Anderson, and my cousins lived next door in the same yard, that had belonged to my great grandfather Nelson Vaundell before he died.
When we were young and living in North Grafton, my Grandmother Sadie (Steele) Vaundell used to gather us kids (my sister Judy, our 2 cousins, and me) to walk down to Pine Grove Cemetery, Waterville St., North Grafton a few days before Memorial Day to carry the baskets of Lilac’s and other flowers to the graves of our ancestors.        
First we would deliver a basket of flowers to the Vaundell plot, where her husband (my Grandfather, Harry Nelson Vaundell) and his family are buried. It is also the grave site of my great grandfather Nelson Vaundell nicknamed “the Boss”, whose house we lived in. Next we would go to the grave site of Sadie’s mother and father and siblings. We remember the location their grave site as her younger brother William Steele had a little lamb on top of his monument and we knew he died as a baby. It made quite an impression on us, especially my sister even to this day.

Being children I imagine we ran all over the cemetery and didn’t always pay attention to what our grandmother was doing. I never remember her going to any other grave sites, but she might have. Thinking back she must of, as we each carried at least one basket of flowers.  Looking back at my childhood I know we were at the cemetery many times without my grandmother visiting all our relatives. When I started doing genealogy I was able to go back to the grave sites without any problem and thought that I knew all the relatives that were buried there.
Fast-forward when I decided to do a little more research on the Noland family in and around the Grafton, MA. Area after submitting my article for the book Irish Roots in County Down in 2013. One day when my sister and I were coming back from Westborough, Worcester County, Mass. we decided to stop at Pine Grove Cemetery in North Grafton to look for Ann Eliza (Magennis) Nolan’s grave site. Judy stopped the car right in front of William Steele’s grave site with the little lamb on it. I looked out of the passenger car window and said “Eureka” we have found it. There was the grave site of Sadie’s grandparents; my great grandparents William and Ann Elisa Nolan. You could say this was my Ah-Ha moment in my genealogy research.

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