Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ More from Canada

So, there I was having a great time at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Oakville, Ontario on a Saturday afternoon. I was facing an almost 13 hour trip back home the following day and I was already looking at what sessions were being offered tomorrow. Should I stay until the last one on Sunday afternoon, or should I try to leave a little bit early? It was going to be a LONG drive, but the sessions on Sunday looked good and all those that I had attended thus far had been excellent.

So, what did I decide? Why to skip out of ALL the session on Sunday and add a 3 hour side trip over to Kincardine, Ontario to visit a cemetery of course! I'm sure most people reading this won't find that nearly as strange as my family did when I mentioned that I might be just a tiny bit longer getting home than I had anticipated.

In between sessions on Saturday I had been chatting with a man about my desire to go to Kincardine. I knew what cemetery I was looking for, but wasn't sure how large it was, or if I would able to find the stone I was after. He helpfully mentioned that most of the branch societies in the vendor area had cemetery listings and that Kincardine would be Bruce & Grey. Sure enough, that cemetery had been transcribed and the stone I was looking for was in their cemetery listing. The lady helping me even said something about my not needing to go there because the inscription on the stone had been transcribed. I didn't mention to her that I actually had a very bad copy of an article that showed the stone itself - so I knew what it said. I STILL wanted to go to the cemetery. I even bought the book - it was a LARGE cemetery - and since I now had a layout of the cemetery and knew what section "my" stone was in, I made up my mind to take the trip.

I am so glad I went! The drive across Ontario was beautiful. The farmland made me feel at home, having grown up in rural Ohio. At one point I was in a tiny town sitting at a stoplight and I realized I was hearing bagpipe music. Sure enough, there out my window were some young men in kilts in front of the Knox Presbyterian Church playing the bagpipes. I like to understand the places my ancestors lived and not just see their names on paper and it was interesting to see how "Scottish" many places in this part of Canada were since my Canadian ancestors had come from Scotland.

When I finally arrived at Kincardine and located the correct part of the cemetery, I looked at the listing and noted the two names above and two below the one I wanted, figuring that they just transcribed in order. I walked along saying the names over and over to myself..I'm glad I had decided to look that way as I found the other names and realized I should be seeing RITCHIE but didn't. When I noticed the stone almost hidden my two large bushes ~ and there it was!

As I looked at the stone I was even MORE glad I had made this trip. The picture I had, and the inscription in the book, were both done quite some time ago. I found more than I bargained for when I saw that 3 of David's children were also buried here. One, also David, noted on the main stone and two daughter with separate markers.

Rev. David Ritchie
Born at St. Andrews, Scotland, 1872
Died at Seaforth, Ont, 1948
Husband of
Marianne Moore
Born at Lauder, Scotland, 1881
Died at Collingwood, Ont, 1971
David G. Ritchie
1915 - 1996

Alexander R Johnson
1908 - 1998
Beloved husband of
Margaret E Ritchie
1918 - 2004

Elsie E Ritchie

1913 - 2004

David was my great-grandfather's older brother. He went back to Scotland at one point and became a minister, supposedly studying at the University of Edinburgh. When he was in Scotland, he married his cousin, Marianne MOORE. Her mother, Elspeth SWINTON, and David's mother, Jane SWINTON, were sisters. I would love to connect with this family in Canada to see what stories have come down in their branch of the family!

Oh, one last picuture - Lake Huron was right down the road from the cemetery. You could stand at the front gate and see it. I drove down before I left to get some more pictures. As I was standing there with the cold wind whipping off the lake I wondered if Kincardine at all reminded David of St Andrews with the nearness to the water and the cold winds. I'm so very glad I made the trip.


  1. Enjoyed reading your story. My husband's ancestors left Kincardine, Scotland in 1873 and journeyed with a group of 500 to western New Brunswick (near the Maine border) where they established the "Scotch Colony." The little villages became known as Bon Accord, Kintore, and Kincardine.

  2. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your detour and your short visit to Kincardine, Ontario.


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