St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Part 1

October 23rd, 2020

By John Marks, Curator of Collections

Last year, our William Smith summer intern, Jordan Raivel researched and created a tour of St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Becky Chapin, our archivist, and I were responsible for this year’s tour of a different section of St. Patrick’s. I learned how much work is involved in selecting and researching names myself.

St Patricks Cemetery Sign And Grave StonesOne thing I learned is that we didn’t have a written history of the cemetery’s founding. It wasn’t mentioned in the local newspapers. With the help of Betty DiFederico at Our Lady of Peace Parish, I pieced together some basic facts.

In 1832, St. Francis DeSales Roman Catholic Church was built on Exchange Street. A decade later, land for St. Patrick’s Cemetery was acquired to the east on North Street. In the 1800s, both were on the outskirts of Geneva, as the Irish and Roman Catholics were unwelcome in the village.

The first burial in St. Patrick’s was in 1843. Many of the early interments were parishioners born in Ireland. Italian surnames, or English versions of them, joined them in the early 1900s. In the late 1920s, St. Patrick’s was expanded to the south. Even with additional land, more space was needed. St. Mary’s Cemetery on Pre-Emption Road opened in 1947.

My selection process was equal parts familiarity, curiosity, and location. I picked out names I knew, like Madia, Bihary, Massa, Legott, and Anania. I wrote down Guiseppe Guglielmino to see if I could learn anything about him. And, because of the pandemic, grave sites needed to be spread out so visitors weren’t clumped together.

A few of the familiar people weren’t the ones I thought I knew. Joseph Madia owned a grocery in several locations over time but didn’t start what became Madia’s Big M on Castle Street. Nicholas Massa was born in Pennsylvania but lived most of his life in Geneva. While he formed the Nick P. Massa Painting & Decorating Company in 1920, he didn’t start Massa Construction. His son Dominick established that company in 1959.

Man In Hat Dark Coat With MustacheGuiseppe Guglielmino (1872-1922) caught my attention for both his name and his photo on his headstone. I couldn’t find his name in the newspaper until I saw a legal notice that said he was also known as Joseph Williams. Then I found a little more information about his life and death. He was Phillip Lanasa’s half-brother, and partner in the Lanasa and Bro. fruit company. He died when the fruit truck in which he was riding swerved and rolled over.

The most recent site I chose was Gary Finnerty, who passed away in 2013. I didn’t know him well but he was a smiling presence wherever he went. He and his family supported our food and wine fundraising events at Rose Hill for a number of years. He was involved in Democratic party politics, the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus, and Our Lady of Peace Parish.

I wish there was enough time to learn and tell the story of every family in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. If you have family stories and photos of loved ones interred there, we would love to add them to our archives.

8 responses to “St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Part 1”

  1. Patricia Bews says:

    My Grandmother Margaret O’Connor is buried in St Patrick’s. Also I remember my brother David Joseph Bews who died when he was a little over a year old, was placed in my Grandmothers plot but his name is not on the headstone. That bothers me. I believe that was around 1954-55. I know Margaret Died in the mid to late 1940’s.

  2. Jack Sline says:

    My Grandmother and Grandfather Sline are both buried there…as well as the Liberatore side of the family…all of them except for my mother who is still alive in West Palm. She will be interred at Glenwood cemetary with my dad.

  3. Charlie & Nancy Bauder says:

    Thanks for doing the research on St. Patrick’s. There is certainly a great deal of history there. We enjoyed your tour and hope that there will be more.

  4. Beverly Lords says:

    I have enjoyed many of the blogs on this site. My great grandparents Patrick and Ellen Halpin Mulcahy are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. They immigrated during the famine he in 1848 she in 1849, They married in 1852 at St. Francis de Sales Church. He built Geneva’s sidewalks from 1852 until the early 1900s. They had 13 Children 3 of whom died in infancy or early childhood. If there are descendants living in Geneva I would love to know who the are and get in touch. I will email a photo to you.

  5. children. DeBolt says:

    The house l live in, we bought from Ed and Ethel Malachy back in the early 1970″s. Ed passed away prior to our purchase. Since l grew up in the neighborhood, l knew Ed, Ethel and their son Kevin.
    After we bought the house from Ethel, she moved down on the Waterloo-Geneva Road. Her son Kevin, who was adopted from an orphanage in Ireland, moved to California. I believe he worked for the railroad. As she got older, Ethel moved West to be near Kevin and his wife. Kevin died of Cancer in the early 2,000’s and Ethel passed 2016 +/-. I do not believe Kevin and his wife ever had any childten.

  6. Joann murphy says:

    Looking for info on Gabriel Blanchard who’s 2 of his, and Hannah Henries children, were born in Geneva(1840) and Penn Yan (1837). visited the Geneva museum and left my info to go into a file but was not able to obtain any new info on Gabriel …. My brick wall..

  7. Daniel C McConnell says:

    Hello John, hope you can help locate the location where my brother is buried.
    Mark Lawrence McConnell
    Birthdate: February 24, 1955
    Death: March 08, 1955
    Buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Geneva, New York without a grave marker in what was known back then as ‘Babies Row’ at the time.
    Thank you for any information, TC&GB!!!
    By the way, Gary Finnerty was a personal friend and Sylvania co-worker of mine.

    1. Daniel C McConnell says:

      Babies Row

      It was a long time ago
      Being known as Babies Row
      And there was another son
      A brother in an unmarked grave

      With no records being known
      Where he was they couldn’t show
      Something needing to be done
      To find his final resting place

      In time there will be a space
      A little proof that he was here
      Seems so wrong that it took so long
      But not forgotten all these years

      We’ll pray for a little grace
      We sure could use God’s helping hand
      Mark the ground so he can be found
      And get it done while we still can

      There has been nowhere to go
      Since the Lord rested his soul
      Doesn’t seem like it’s enough
      But his remains will have a name

      With no records being known
      Somewhere there on Babies Row
      For respect and with our love
      Then he won’t have an unmarked grave
      written on 1/3/24
      by Dan McConnell

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