I was born and raised in Ottumwa, Iowa, and I have lived here all my life. Pictured here is my cat and findagrave assistant, Dolley Madison, proof-reading my work to try and ensure that I do not make any mistakes. On October 12, 2015, Dolley and I accepted management of several thousand memorials in Shaul Cemetery here in Ottumwa. I would like to thank my findagrave friend cemgems, who originally created these memorials. Cemgems spent several months entering Shaul Cemetery’s database into findgrave and also made two cross-country trips to photograph gravestones in Shaul, in an effort to help others find their family members’ graves.
I am updating these memorials as time permits, using information available both on the internet and in our local resources here in Wapello County. I would also like to thank my friend Bill Haseltine who has researched and helped me update several hundred memorials since January 2016.
If you are a findagrave member, and you have edit suggestions, please send them through the regular findagrave edit system. If you have not provided a way to get in touch with you to discuss a discrepancy I might have with your edit suggestion, please understand if I don't feel I can accept it. I will provide the best explanation I can in the space provided if this happens.
If you are not a findagrave member, and you have questions about or information on any of the memorials that are for your family members, feel free to let me know. If you contact me by e-mail, please include a link to the memorial you are writing about.
Also, keep in mind that a person's last known address on their Social Security Death Record may not be where they died. Many people who lived in Ottumwa died in Des Moines, Iowa City, or VA Hospitals around the state. Also, many of them went to stay with their children in another state during their last illness and died there. I will research the places of death when I receive edit notices to verify what is correct, as I know everyone wants accurate information.
For those who might still be reading this, I would like to mention another helpful hint: If you believe that someone died between census years because a husband or wife stated that they were a widow or widower on the next census, that does not necessarily mean that was the case. I have found that years ago, many divorced people gave their marital status as widow or widower rather than state they were divorced. I have spent hours looking for people who allegedly died and found that they actually had remarried and still lived here or had moved away. I imagine at the time it was easier just to tell the census taker that their spouse had died, as it probably didn’t seem like it really mattered. Who would have guessed that 100 years later, there would be such a thing as an internet where their records would be available for all to see, and descendants would be frantically searching for a spouse that had not passed on yet!