Over Labor Day weekend in 2015, my dad’s cousin and I met in Cleveland to do some in-person digging into our family tree. We planned to drive through the old ‘hoods to find the family homes, find as many headstones as we could, spend some time at the Cleveland History Center to take a gander through old documents… and, of course, to take gobs and gobs of pictures!


After our visit to Knollwood, Ginny and I ventured to Harvard Grove Cemetery to find John Jacobs and Louise Jacobs, older siblings of Rosa Brenne. Rosa was Richard and Clifford’s maternal grandmother. She died when her daughter, Nellie, was about ten years old.

Harvard Grove Cemetery, Cleveland Ohio.
John Jacobs headstone at Harvard Grove Cemetery, Cleveland Ohio.

We were able to find John’s headstone, but not Louise’s. Since this visit, we’ve discovered sordid details about John’s death but very little about his life of the life of his sisters, Louise Jacobs and Anna Martin.

Our next stop was the old Waterman Service Building, now the Hyacinth Lofts. When it was the Waterman building, it was property of the Board of Education – a warehouse of sorts for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Hyacinth Lofts, former Waterman Service Building. Cleveland Ohio.
Ginny talking to the operations manager through the intercom. Hyacinth Lofts, Cleveland Ohio.

Across the street from the Waterman Service Building is a park that was formerly Hyacinth Elementary, possibly where Nellie Brenne Frohmberg attended as a child.

Then we went to Woodland Cemetery to try to find Rosa Jacobs Brenne. Unfortunately, we could not find her headstone. The lot and section where it was supposed to be was full of green grass and overturned or completely deteriorated markers. One of the groundskeepers, Todd, tried to help us, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Cleveland, Ohio.
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