Tuesday, May 26, 2020

John Magai 1843-1916 Civil War Veteran

A stone for a veteran of the Civil War surfaced at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Montclair, New Jersey.

The stone is inscribed: SERGT JOHN MAGAI  CO I  4 U.S. CAV.

I wanted to find out more about this soldier. He was in a family plot. Locating him in a census with his family would help to identify him.


John Magai, age 39, born in Austria (probably present-day Slovenia) was living in the Town of Union, Hudson County, New Jersey, in 1900 with his wife, Eliza [Gutberlet or variation], and their many children, including Loid [Lloyd], born in 1893. This fits the Lloyd on the tombstone next to John.

The Town of Union became part of Union City in 1925. Lewis Street became 38th Street.

John may have returned home in Europe a few times. He applied for a passport in New York in 1873, listing his birthdate as May 14, 1843.

An obituary for John Magai appeared in the Jersey Journal on August 18, 1916. He was a veteran who served the 5th New York Cavalry, which does not match the stone.

Next I viewed records at Fold3. John Magai, also known as Johannes Maggai, served in Company E of the 5th Regiment from 1864-1865, then Company I of the 4th Regiment of the New York Cavalry from 1865-1868.

For some reason, the 4th Regiment is on the gravestone, while the 5th Regiment is mentioned in the obituary.

John and Elizabeth probably married as he completed his service. The children were born from 1869-1893. All but Lloyd appeared to have been born in New York.

Lloyd served in the Army in World War I. His application for a headstone can be viewed in color at Ancestry.com.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Couple Died on the Same Day

While in a cemetery, Mount Hebron in Montclair, New Jersey, a family plot caught my attention because two members died on the same day.

A little digging revealed that Alexander and Sarah were husband and wife, originally from Massachusetts. Sarah's name was Yarnall. Alexander was a mechanical engineer. The cause of death of both was pneumonia according to the shared obituary. 

The State Archives are closed for now. I cannot lookup their death certificates, which would possibly reveal additional relevant information.

A Celtic cross stands over the family plot, adorned with triquetra.

Question 1: Do the S-shaped swirls have a formal name? Are they a form of triskele?

Question 2: Is triquetra the plural of triquetrum?
Or is triquetra singular and the plural triquetras or triquetrae?