Sarah Jane Merchant - Right under my nose

For at least 20 years I have always know that my great great grandmother, Sarah Jane Merchant nee Hooton was buried in an unmarked grave in the Church of England section of Tenterfield cemetery. I had never bothered to look for her specific resting place.

Two weeks ago, I went to Tenterfield for a few days and decided to take some photos for Billion Graves. Instead of looking for family headstones in a methodical way I wandered around to the headstones I knew well. I took lots of photos and was content.

Later I thought I should really check out other more distant family members in the cemetery. I searched my Reunion database for those who had died in Tenterfield. I already had the burial places noted so copied them down and went back for a more ordered search.

Included on my list was Sarah Jane. Imagine my surprise when I compared her location to other family members. There she was, between her two eldest children, James Joseph Merchant and Harriet Baker. Joe Merchant died in Tenterfield on 6th October 1924 and his mother Sarah Jane died just two months later on 8th December. You can see the space between the two double plots pictured below. I wonder what it would cost for a small plaque?

Now I just need to find the headstone of Sarah's mother-in-law, Matilda Collins, formerly Merchant. Hers is also an unmarked grave but there is no given location. Next visit, I'll look for headstones circa 1902 in the Old Church of England section and this may give me a general location.

For those of you with family buried in Tenterfield, the local council has an excellent database here.

Sarah Jane Merchant - unmarked grave - Tenterfield Church of England Cemetery.


  1. congratulations on finding your Sarah's resting place. When I hear/read stories like that I often think "it was meant to be found".

  2. That's a very moving story. I agree with Kerryn. Sarah wanted to be found.

  3. Yes, I was pleased to have finally located the spot. It's given me impetus to actually look for more of my unmarked grave locations.

  4. Fab find, Sharon. Mr Geniaus has suggested we add a few plaques to unmarked graves - he may baulk when he finds out the costs - but it would be nice to recognise out ancestors in some way.

    Hope you enjoyed the BillionGraves experience - I like it because of the GPS facility.


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