Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dum Tacet Clamat

Hazel and Annie May

I was filling gravestone photograph requests for FindaGrave.com today when I realized it was Tombstone Tuesday in the Genealogy World. I noticed the lovely little double tombstones of angel babies Hazel and Annie May. Their surnames were not on the stones.

The young girls were buried so long ago their sandstone headstones had sunken into the ground and the death dates were totally obscured. The birth dates were barely legible.

I can't resist a mystery.

I was heartbroken that Hazel and Annie May seemed to be forgotten. Here is my research process and my analytic reasoning.

The graves around the Hazel's and Annie May's belonged to a large, extended GORDON family, thus I assumed the children were also GORDONs. But could I find them on any online record?

It appeared that Hazel was born February 19, 1887 and Annie May on September 6, 1885.

William GORDON, whose monument stood just east of the girls, was married to Ann LUNN on 3 December 1884 according to the International Genealogical Index. That date is compatible with giving birth to a child in September of 1885. Were William and Ann GORDON the parents of these young girl?

Annie May and Hazel GORDON's names were not listed on the IGI. Nor were they listed with the GORDON family in the Ancestral File or in the submitted family group files on Ancestry.

William's monument appeared to read as follows:

"Dum Taget Glamet"

In Memory of
William Gordon
Dec. 25, 1861
April 1, 1906

His words were kindness
His deeds were love
His spirit humble
He rests above


William and Annie GORDON were enumerated in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census in Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, Utah. According to the census, the mother, Annie, had given birth to eight children and only six were alive in 1900. The six living children were listed in the household and the eldest daughter, Marion E., was born in August 1888. Therefore, Annie May born in 1885 and Hazel born in 1887 were possibly the two children in the family who had died.

The GORDONs added a couple more children to their family before William died in 1906 after his leg was amputated and he bled to death. How awful!

William was the son of James GORDON, of Scotland, and Marian Park, of Canada.

Annie Lunn GORDON died 7 October 1934 at the age of sixty-two from cardio-nephritis. She was born 18 November 1865 in Albany, New York to Daniel LUNN, of England, and Ann DONOHOE, of Ireland. This information came from her online death certificate.

It is my opinion that Hazel and Annie May were the daughters of William and Ann Lunn GORDON. Unfortunately, the state of Utah did not keep death records until 1905. Salt Lake County kept earlier death records, but I didn't make a trip to the Family History Library to confirm my suspicions. After all this is not my family. . . I was just curious to see what I could find online.

Now for the next mystery. What does "Dum Taget Glamet" mean? My online search revealed the phase was really "Dum Tacet Clamat" and it means “Though silent, he speaks”. Very fitting.

In cemeteries throughout the west, Dum Tacet Clamat is written on hand-carved gravestones paid for by an insurance company called the Woodmen of the World. In an era where people had no other form of insurance, they made sure that their ultimate resting place would have an appropriate marker.


Travelin'Oma said...

This post demonstrates why genealogy is so fun. It's pure Nancy Drew: a detective, clues, and dead people! Though silent, they all have stories to tell.

Olive's Granddaughter said...

Thanks, Marty, for being my only reader! I'm not sure if I should keep blogging. I don't know how to get readers or why I want them. But I'm glad you keep coming back.