Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ The Family of Frederick A. R. & Mary "Mamie" (Dieter) Schwarz ~ Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia

While taking a walking tour of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah this summer I tried to find unusual family plots that were of interest to me. I am not related to this particular family but I love this family plot. I like the way that adults are arranged in front with the children behind them as if they are being protected. These pictures are examples of cradle graves, in particular these cradle graves are known as headboard and footboard cradle graves. The headstone acts like the headboard of bed while the smaller footstone acts as the footboard. 

Personal photograph of Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz

Of the three large cradle graves (see the photo above) the center one belongs to Major Frederick Adam Rudolph Schwarz (1866-1917), a first generation German American. His wife Mary "Mamie" Dieter Schwarz (1871-1930) is to the right of him and their son George Edward Schwarz (1900-1954) is on the side. I decided to research this family because I wanted to know more about them. Then I when I started researching and I learned of the tragedies that happened during the early years of Fred and Mamie's marriage. They lost 3 baby boys between 1894 and 1899. Then they lost a baby girl in 1902. How does one get over such deaths? I have lost a child and after nearly 16 years I am just starting to make peace with it. How did John and Mary cope? I've decided to tell their story to the best of my ability.

Personal photograph of Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz

The four cradle graves (see above) behind Frederick and his wife are four of their children. From left to right are Cornelius Rudolph Schwarz (1897-1899), Mary Jane Schwarz (1901-1902), John Nicholas George Schwarz (1894-1895) and Frank Conrad Schwarz (1895-1896). These children, their older brother and their parents are buried in Section H, Lot 34. For a map of this section click here.

There are five more children for this family, they are Frederick Jacob Schwarz (1892-1964), Catherine Mary Schwarz (1893-1946), John Nicholas Schwarz (1905-1978), Rudolph Herman Schwarz (1906-1981) and Marguerite Elizabeth Schwarz (1909-1973). The 1930 Census shows Frederick, George, Rudolph and Marguerite all living with their mother, Mary and no spouses. The 1940 Census shows that Frederick, Rudolph and Marguerite were all living together with no spouses. 

I have been unable to locate a marriage records for Frederick, Rudolph and Marguerite. Based on the records I have found between FamilySearch and Ancestry, I have found no marriage records for either of them. Frederick was listed in the 1940 census as a baker and the owner of a bakery shop in the 1940 Census. Rudolph was listed in the 1940 census a a policeman for the City of Savannah and their sister Marguerite was listed as a retail saleslady.

From the marriage records I have found Catherine married Edward Lee Roberts on October 22, 1919 in Savannah. I know that George married sometime between the 1930 & 1940 Census to Elma as they are listed as married in the 1940 census, however, after a diligent search in GA, SC, FL, and AL, I have not been able to locate a marriage record for them. John Nichols married on February 8, 1930 to Marjorie Ruth Bowen in Jacksonville, Florida.

This is everything I have learned about a family that I have absolutely no connection to whatsoever. So why did I do it? It is simple really, we all have a story that needs to be told and everyone should have someone to remember them, even when there is no one left to tell it but a stranger. Unfortunately,  I only found one or two people in "Ancestry's Public or Private trees" who were researching this family. 

If you know someone who is related to the family of Frederick Adam Rudolph Schwarz and Mary E. Dieter please leave me a message here or message me through Facebook and I will be happy to share my information. Below is a partial list of my sources, my source list is very long so to save a little space and some time I have made it a shareable document. For the complete list please click here.

1. 1870 United States Census,  Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, pop. schedule, p.174 (penned), Database image #: 485; dwelling #:1175, family #: 1407; entry for Frederick Schwarz, house of John Schwarz; database & digital images, Ancestry.com    (www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 October 2015); The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Family History Library Film: 545640; National Archives, Washington, D.C., RG 29, M593_141.
2. 1880 United States Census, District 5, Chatham County, Georgia, pop. schedule, Roll: 139, enumeration district (ED): 032, p. 71 (penned), p. 653 C(stamped), image #: 0047, dwelling #: 817, family #: 846; entry for Mary Dieter, house of George Dieter; database & digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : 30 October 2015); The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Family History Film: 1254139; National Archives, Washington, D.C. RG 29, T9 Roll 138.
3. 1880 United States Census, Chatham County, Georgia, population schedule, Savannah City, enumeration district (ED): 028, p. 8 (penned), dwelling #: 74, family: 76, entry for Freddie Schwatz house of John Schwarz, database & digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : 30 October 2015); The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, Family History Film: 1254138; NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). National Archives, Washington, D.C. RG 29, T623 Roll 138.
4. 1900 Census, Chatham County, Georgia, population schedule, Militia District 4 Savannah city Ward Troup, Barton, enumeration district (ED): 0068, sheet: 3B, Dwelling # 74, family 76, Frederick Schwarz household, database & digital images, Ancestry.com (www. ancestry.com : accessed 30 October 2015); The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints,  FHL microfilm: 1240186; National Archives, Washington, D.C. RG 29, T623, Roll 186.
5. 1910 United States Census, Chatham County, Georgia, population schedule, Savannah Ward 3, enumeration district (ED) 0062, sheet 14B, dwelling #287, family #: 337, Frederick Schwarz household, database & images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 October 2015);  National Archives, Washington, D.C., RG 29,  T623 Roll 178. 


  1. What a touching story. Love the pictures of the cradle graves. I have never seen them like that.

    1. I have not seen any quite this elaborate which is what caught my attention in the first place. Now my children have a granduncle who along with his family is buried in the same cemetery but the graves are now unmarked (not sure if there ever markers to begin with) and each is circled by rounded pavers and are also called cradle graves. This is my favorite cemetery!

  2. I have been there and seen that, as a matter of fact, I think I can trace my cemetery fascination to that day in April 2009. The fact that my mother died less than a year prior just cemented it. My family tree work began two years prior; I know I was late to the party.

    I haven't researched a stranger's family but am working on my own two trees, my friends' trees as well as my brother's tree and at times struggling with them. When someone asks me for my current struggle it depends on the hour!