Sunday, April 16, 2000

Family History in Bergen County, New Jersey

My parents and I spent today roaming around Bergen County, New Jersey in search of my father's family's past.  

East Ridgelawn Cemetery
The first goal for the day was to find the grave of my father's grandparents, Frank and Ellen Jordan, from information in a cemetery plot deed:

Cemetery Deed for Frank and Ellen Jordan
List of Interments on Deed

So we traveled to East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Delawanna (Clifton), NJ.  Using the plot designation from the deed (Section 21, Lot 838, Grave #1), we looked for signs marking section 21.  Then came the hard part - wandering around section 21 looking for Jordans!

There are four parts to section 21 at East Ridgelawn. After about an hour of wandering, I finally found the grave half buried in dirt, making the Jordan last names difficult to see, in section 21 South End.  Using the snow brush from the car and water from our water bottles, Mom and I were able to clear the grave marker of dirt:

Grave Marker for Frank and Ellen Jordan

Goal 1 success!

After visiting the cemetery, Dad took us on a tour of his hometown of Rutherford, where we first stopped to take pictures of his sister Jeanne's old house on Riverside Avenue.
Bud and Jeanne Winand's House - 467 Riverside Avenue

From there, we drove by 145 Springfield Avenue where Dad lived for 12 years growing up.

Jordan Residence - 145 Springfield Avenue
Then we proceeded to St. John's Lutheran Church.  It is said that Ellen Jordan was one of the founders of this church and there was supposed to be a plaque commemorating that event in the church, though we couldn't find one.

St. John's Lutheran Church
Then we headed over to 374 Feronia Way where the Jordans lived after Springfield Avenue.

Jordan Residence - 374 Feronia Way

George Washington Memorial Park
The next cemetery on the list was George Washington Memorial Park, where a number of relatives were buried, including my father's older sister and her husband.  Since we did not have any deeds for this cemetery, and the office was open on Sunday, we stopped in and asked about our relatives this time.  :)  The staff kindly provided us with section numbers and a map!

Map of George Washington Memorial Park
Unlike all the various styles of headstones in East Ridgelawn, GW Memorial Park has a single, uniform grave marker used for all interments.  My father's sister and husband's marker (Bud and Jeanne Winand) was right next to that of his aunt and uncle (Charlie and Dot Richardson), in Section L 18A, D 3 and D 4.  After more cleaning and weeding by me and my mother, we were able to read the markers:

Grave Marker for Richard "Bud" and Jeanne (Jordan) Winand

Grave Marker for Charlie and Dot (Jordan) Richardson
Based on additional markings on the grave, it looks like Uncle Charlie was a Mason, and Aunt Flo was an Eastern Star! 

The other relatives buried here were my father's uncle Albin and his wife Betty.  They were buried across the road in Section T 30, A 4:

Grave Marker for Albin and Betty (Burkhardt) Jordan
You may notice that this marker has fresh flowers on it.  This is because on this cemetery visit, we did not just find deceased relatives, but living ones, too!  One of my father's cousins, a son of Albin and Betty, was there with his wife at the same time we were, visiting his parents' grave.  Now THAT is an impressive cemetery find!  :)

We had hoped to visit a few more cemeteries, but it was getting dark, so that will have to wait until another day. All in all, a good start for family history and cemetery visits!