I’ve lived in California all my life. To my knowledge, most of my mother’s family is either dead, or lives in the midwest.

But while researching my FAIVRE family a while back, I was surprised to learn that a branch of that family not only made it out to California, but also to the Central Coast area (my neck of the woods). Quelle surprise!

Click to enlarge.

My discovery came while doing research for my post about Louise Faivre, “The Strong Woman: There’s One in Every Family.” I decided to review what I had in my files about Louise – just for some general information – and ran across a photocopy of her obituary.

To be honest, I am such a dunce that I have absolutely no idea where this copy came from. And of course, there is no source information. I’m guessing I found it in my grandmother’s files after she died and just shoved it in my binder. Learn from my mistakes folks: Don’t do this. Ever. You’ll regret it later.

Anyway, while re-reading Louise’s obituary again, I noticed that she had a daughter, Mrs. Bernice Tripp, living in “Venture, Cal.” I interpreted this to mean “Ventura, California,” since, to my knowledge, there is no such place as Venture in California.

To confirm this, my daughter and I made the 90+ mile drive down to the Ventura County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in lovely, downtown, Ventura. After a great deal of searching on the part of the very-patient clerk, we were finally able to locate the death certificate by using Bernice’s maiden name, Faivre.

My apologies to the other folks in line who were forced to be entertained by my then-4 year-old, BORED daughter.

At the time of her death, Bernice was re-married to an Alen Elmo Williamson (not sure what happened to Mr. Tripp).

We discovered from Bernice’s death certificate that she was buried just down the road (or up the 101 Freeway) in the Ivy Lawn Memorial Park. The folks in the cemetery office were very helpful in finding Bernice’s grave, and provided us with several maps – which were necessary, given the sheer size of this place!

My daughter at the grave of her 2nd great grandaunt.

My daughter actually found Bernice’s grave first (odd, since she couldn’t read), so we stopped to take some photos. We were unprepared with any flowers, since we didn’t know we would be visiting a cemetery that day, but my daughter picked some ugly lovely dandelions, and unceremoniously blew them over Bernice’s grave. Hopefully Bernice did not mind.

We did not find any other family members in the cemetery that day, but then, we really didn’t know who to look for. I don’t know if Bernice had any children by either of her husbands, although I’m assuming she did (I hope). On another trip to Ventura, I hope to find her obituary.

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For the record, Bernice was my great grandaunt. I would love to connect with other members of this family; please contact me if you are a cousin!

Read more at The Graveyard Rabbit of the California Central Coast.

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Headstone of Bernice (Faivre) Williamson (with my daughter) photographed by Elizabeth O’Neal on  9 December 2010, Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, Ventura, Ventura County, California.

“Mrs. Louis [sic] Faivre” obituary, photocopy of undated clipping, c. 1942, from unidentified newspaper, privately held by Elizabeth O’Neal [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Santa Barbara County, California, 2011. Inherited in 2004 by Mrs. O’Neal from her grandmother, Maura (McGraw) Evans, former widow of Marvin Dagle, grandson of Mrs. Faivre.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal
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