"Consider This First"....
The PEIGS "Publications List" lists presently;
LOT NUMBER, 33-10
DENOMINATION, Elm Avenue "ANGLICAN"
Then it goes on to list;
LOT NUMBER, 33-10b
DENOMINATION, St. Paul's "ANGLICAN" Burials
I then found John MacLaren's name in the FHC 33-10 record wherein it iscalled the "Old Protestant Cemetery" (OPC). The society has been calling it theElm Avenue "ANGLICAN" for some time, and in fact had removed the OPC name fromtheir publications list. The lastest news is they're once again changing it'sname to the "Elm Ave. Cemetery" in order to reflect underlying issues we, thepublic, supposedly have no way of knowing about.
Well, that just doesn't make sense, wouldn't our ability to learn of theseunderlying issues only help everyone in the long run, to understand anymisunderstandings, for the elimination of the OPC name? Certainly, I for one,would welcome their knowledge and enlightenment but truthfully, I never dreamedthere could be something so sensitive or secretive about a 200 year olddelapitated cemetery public burial ground, that would require it to bediscussed only behind closed doors or to members of the society.
The OPC name was accepted by the Island population up to 1979! If you readthe credits on the copy of the "Latter Day Saints (FHC)",fiche, or the one copied off the "Register" you'll notice on both, the originalauthor's names were; the Public Archives of Prince Edward, the Prince EdwardIsland Heritage Foundation and the PEIGS. It's quite clear, it's name wasaccepted then as the Old Protestant Cemetery, my question is simply, why wouldanyone change the name, now?
The PEIGS might be the best thing since Ann of Green Gables, but the excusefor their lack of response shouldn't be because of their a non-profit,volunteer status. If that be the case, you might ask why they have the right toeliminate the name in the first place?
Certainly, they are not responsible for the deplorable condition of thecemetery, but in order to concentrate our efforts, there should be a separatetopic location on the Register's cemetery page, where anyone can enter at theirown choosing, where they can discuss issues openly regarding the cemetery,instead of leaving it to one limited and powerless homepage or the PEIrootsweb, which is not the proper conduit for specialized topics.
People search for years to identify bodies of lost loved ones, so they canbe identified and peacefully laid to rest, yet here is an island that for twocenturies now, cannot get it together for those buried in their oldest and mosthistoric cemetery, let alone for the future generations that will be searchingthere for their ancestor's! There is certainly no disgrace in finding anddiscussing the faith of our fathers, irregardless of whether they wereProtestant or Catholic, Presbyterian or Episcopalian, in fact it is our right.
There's little else to say except a simple recommendation that they be openand responsive to people's feelings and requests in the future, while realizingthat even one missing word in a cemetery name could hinder the discovery of anentire family's history! The society's mandate should carefully stick withhistory, not change one iota, and as President Clinton just poetically said,"the finger writes, but cannot go back...or change one word". Book of Daniel.
My only sincere wish is that someday soon, the poor old cemetery might berestored with a bright new shiny reputation that overcomes indifference, theinvincible giant of the world, while preserving and honoring it's individual'sdifferences.
"My wife and I spent a charming four weeks on Prince Edward Islandtravelling from end to end and back again on our genealogy project.
Currently, there is a tremendous effort by many to trace their ancestry onPrince Edward Island. During out stay, we spent three days in the ColesBuilding, in Charlottetown, researching family names. the staff were skilledand friendly.
Daily, we read the Island Paper, The Guardian, and over the weeks recognizedthe pride displayed by Islanders, Prince Edward Island is rich in history.
In our efforts we walked through numerous cemeteries looking for headstoneswith family names on them. While visiting a cemetery in Charlottertown, welocated the burial sight of Joe Ghiz, former Premier of Prince Edward Island.An interesting controversy surrounds this particular site; I refer to theabsence of a headstone. If lack of a headstone for a provincial premier evokessuch an emotion should not the same emotion surface when there are a number ofnotable individuals in a cemetery that is in a serious state of neglect?
This cemetery is located in downtown Charlottetown on University Avenue, atAlley Street. I do not know the name, but conditions we saw there appalled us.The sight of uncut grass, wild underbrush, broken and fallen headstones stackedlike rubble, and the unsightly appearance of the commercial buildings on thesouth border was offensive.
The sad state of this "final resting place" is a stark contrast to othercemeteries and areas we visited. We can only hope there is a writtenrecord/plot plan somewhere for this graveyard, to aid genealogy research.Headstones are an important source of information and tangible evidence ofone's roots. People visiting a cemetey to trace their forefathers take penciland paper to make notes; those paying their respects take wreaths and flowers,those visiting the aforementioned cemetery need to take a lawn mover andchainsaw!
The restoration work on the Coles Building in Charlottetown is impressive.It is praiseworthy to see funds budgeted for the upkeep to maintain apresentable and pleasing appearance of this historical site in the provincialcapital. This may seem trival and even border on the silly side, but I think ofthe monies spent restoring the school house, Stompin' Tom Corners, attended.Are funds available on a provincial or local level, to restore the previouslymentioned historical cemetery? If not, this contradictory situation prompts meto wonder about priorities."