Saturday, November 08, 2014

Genealogy Mystery: What Happened to Cyril (Charles) De Meulenaere?

Top Genealogy Mystery: Death of Cyril De Meuleneare
Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy is posting her Top 10 Genealogy Mysteries, and encouraging others to follow suit with their own.

You can read her Genealogy Mysteries at Top 10 Genealogy Mysteries

Here is my Top Genealogy Mystery: What Happened to Cyril (Charles) De Meulenaere?

My great grand uncle Cyrillus (Charles) De Meulenaere was born in Tielt Belgium in 1888. On 27 February 1937 he died in Detroit Michigan. The family lore has always been that he was killed - stabbed to death outside a bar in downtown Detroit.

Here is what I've been able to find out about Cyril (Charles):
  • November 1915: Border Crossing states his last permanent residence was Berlin Canada (now Kitchener Ontario) and he is heading to Detroit. Has no relatives there
  • March 31, 1916: Joined the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Forces) during WW1. Says he was born in 1881 (a lie) and living in Berlin (Kitchener) Ontario
  • June 5, 1917: Joined the American Expeditionary Force. Says he lives at  2166 Mack Ave, St Clair Michigan and works for J. A. Cornille (of Cornille Bros) driving a team of horses.
  • May 15, 1919: A document from the US Pension service states that Cyriel was discharged from service on May 15, 1919, and provides the date of his death as February 27, 1937. His name is written as Charles Demenllenere & Demeulenere. 
  • September 3, 1932: Cyril/Charles attempts to cross from USA into Canada at Windsor. Says he is going to visit brother "Arthur" [Note: this is actually his brother Archie] in Bridgeport Ontario. Lives Detroit Michigan, American, sister Marie in Tielt Belgium. He was REJECTED.
  • February 27, 1937: Cyril dies in Detroit Michigan
  • March 1, 1937: his brother Archie tries to go to Cyril's funeral in Michigan but is deported. Archie's son always said that his father was escorted to the funeral by officials (Border Guards? Police?) and then taken back to the border and deported. 

I contacted Mt. Olivett Cemetery , Detroit Michigan where Cyril is buried. Here is their information:

Cyril Demeulenaere
Date of Death: FEBRUARY 27, 1937
Cemetery: Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Location: Section 44, Tier 25, Space 84

The cemetery owns the grave and buried him for free due to a financial hardship of some sort.  They did not have an address of where he lived at the time.  Below is all the information that the cemetery had for him:
Date of death - 2/27/1937
Date of interment - 3/3/1937
Funeral home - VanLerberghe
Church - Our Lady of Sorrows
Age - about 48 

Next step was to contact the funeral home and the church.

VanLerberghe Funeral Home answered re Cyril's death:
Cyril Demeulenaere
Age 45, passed on February 27, 1937
Born in Belgium
Buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan
Funeral Services held at Our Lady of Sorrows Church on March 3, 1937 at 10am.

Our Lady of Sorrows Church burned down 1963 but I found the new church where the parish and the records went. They also replied to my email with this information:
Our Lady of Sorrows death records indicate that Cyril Demeulenaere died on February 27, 1937 and was buried March 3, 1937,at Mt.Olivet cemetery here in Detroit following a mass at Our Lady of Sorrows celebrated by Rev. H. Syoen. There is no further information listed.

I would like to know exactly what happened to Cyril!  There are two things I am hoping for:

1. An obituary or death notice or newspaper article about Cyril's death on 27 February 1937. I'm willing to bet there is a write up in a Detroit Newspaper. If anyone has access to these papers, I'd be very grateful for help.

2. A photo of Cyril's grave at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.