Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Why aren't you buried together?

While in Sydney on holidays a few weeks ago, I found the graves of my Great Great Uncle Robert William Gow, & his wife Mary Agnes Ryan. Robert was born in Scotland, and I believe Mary was from Ireland (I’m still yet to prove this though). They married in Sydney in 1886. They are both buried in Macquarie Cemetery in Sydney. I found Mary’s grave first, pictured below.

Grave of Mary Agnes Gow, Macquarie Cemetery, Sydney. June 2013.
Personal collection.
She died in 1923, in Sydney and is buried in the Catholic Section. It looks like there is plenty of room on the headstone for another inscription. I would have assumed for her husband. I began to wonder why Robert was not buried with her.

My Aunty & I then found Robert’s grave in the Presbyterian Section, buried with his & Mary’s eldest child Myrtle Gow.

Grave of Robert W. Gow & Myrtle Gow.
Macquarie Cemetery, Sydney, June 2013.
Personal collection.
Upon finding Robert’s grave, my Aunt realized why Robert & Mary are not buried together - their different religions. He was Presbyterian, she was Catholic. We hadn’t at all thought that religion would play a part in this. According to my Aunt, during the time that Robert & Mary were alive, different religions weren’t allowed to be buried together.

I don’t know much about the history of religion, but apparently it was looked down on if a Catholic & Presbyterian married. It would have made for an interesting marriage I would think. I’m very curious to find out which church they married in & by whom. Time to order their marriage certificate! I’m hoping this will also provide me with information about Mary’s possible Irish background & her parents.

I wonder if Robert & Mary knew that when they passed away they were not going to be buried together…hmm…

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