- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

MICHIGAMME TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Who’s buried in hundreds of unmarked graves at an Upper Peninsula cemetery is a question that has challenged one genealogy enthusiast for 15 years.

About 1,335 people have been buried in unmarked graves at Lakeview Cemetery over the past century and a half, according to Renee Saari of Michigamme.

“Everyone deserves to be remembered,” she told The Mining Journal of Marquette. And so, she went to work in 2000 to track down the names of those buried in the cemetery. About a dozen members of the Michigamme Historical Society’s Lakeview Cemetery Committee have joined the project.

So far, they’ve used death certificates, obituaries and burial permits to identify about 300 people, and they know the grave sites of about 50. The cemetery is in Marquette County’s Michigamme Township, about 35 miles west of Marquette in central upper Michigan.

Many of the people without a headstone died in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and likely couldn’t afford a marker, Saari said. Particularly bad were years when cases of scarlet fever and typhoid swept through the area. Many graves have death dates of 1918 and 1919, the years that the Spanish Influenza killed about 50 million people worldwide, said historical society President Don Moore.

Saari said she became fascinated with genealogy more than 40 years ago tracing the branches of her own and others’ family trees.

To help mark the graves of the 50 people whose burial site is known, Saari and the committee are seeking donations to install memorial tiles. It plans to install a plaque with the names of the other 250 people whose exact burial sites aren’t known, she said.

Besides seeking financial support, Saari said the committee is asking for help from anyone who may be able to identify an unmarked grave, or who might have old obituaries, death certificates or family histories of former area residents.

“We’re hoping somebody will come up and say, ‘Oh, I know - my grandma’s buried there, she’s not marked and here she is!’” Saari said. “That’s what we’re hoping.”


Information from: The Mining Journal, https://www.miningjournal.net

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