Society Digs Deep into Cemetery’s Donor
If you at all familiar with the Wyckoff Historical Society’s recent activities at Union Cemetery, you may know that the 250 year-old site was the original Van Blarcom burial site. The name can be traced to the early 1700s when the first Van Blarcom family settled in New Jersey. The oldest legible headstone dates to 1764.
What you may not know, is that Ethel Van Blarcom, a direct descendant, bestowed a significant financial contribution to the Society beginning in 1978, with her wish that her beloved family cemetery be maintained. Although she lived in California for most of her adult life, Union Cemetery obviously held a special place in her heart, and she wanted to see it survive. The Society has Ethel’s hand-written letters that confirm her generous donation. She also continued to renew her Society membership until 1984.
However, it wasn’t until 2019 that the current trustees decided it was time to use the funds for its intended use, and honor Ethel’s wishes. Several headstones were repaired, new fencing is being installed, and yearly grounds maintenance is conducted, thanks, in part, to Ethel’s generosity.
It was at this time that Society trustees, Doris Noerr, Melanie Long, and Linda Vreeland, dove into genealogy websites and Society archives to learn more about Ethel’s life and to particularly find a photograph of her.
“After several week of research, we obtained Ethel’s death certificate which led to contacting her niece Naomi who is now 92,” said Society president, Lynn Groel-Lynch. “To our delight, she had a photo of Ethel and her husband, Roy Green that we believe is her 1916 wedding photo.”
Ethel was born in Paterson in 1897 and lived to the age of 89. She and Roy moved to the Los Angeles, California area most likely around the time of her mother’s death in 1933. The couple had no children.
“We are still in the process of contacting a few descendants, and those we’ve spoken to have been happy to share what they know about Ethel,” said Melanie Long. “We also will install a plaque in her memory near where her father, Edward is buried in Union Cemetery. There are thousands of Van Blarcom names as they were the one of the prominent families in our area’s farming community, and after all these years, the Society is thrilled to finally honor the legacy of one very important Van Blarcom, Ethel Van Blarcom Green. As they say, ‘It’s never too late’”.