Sunday, 22 July 2012

San Bernardino, CA and Phoenix, AZ.

After LA we drove to Phoenix to meet our long lost cousin, and stopped off at San Bernardino for a few hours on the way to do some family research. I guess this was our little 'genealogy' part of the trip. For years now we've been trying to locate our American relatives, with little success. We discovered my third cousin and his (grown up) children in Phoenix/New Zealand last year, and have been in regular contact with them ever since, as they don't have any other 'Lux' family, and nor do we, so it was all very exciting for us all. Anyway, San Bernardino was the place where my Great Aunt lived and died. I share the exact same name as her - Catherine Lux, so have always felt this strange need to find out what happened to her and visit her grave.

After years of searching for her grave from the UK, I had given up all hope, so we went to the San Bernardino record office to just get her death certificate to find out exactly how she had died etc...well, much to our surprise the death certificate told us the cemetery she was buried at! The American death certificates give much more information than the British ones, it told us everything right down to her embalmer, funeral director, and the exact medical conditions she had. So off we went to Mt View Cemetery in San Bernardino...the very cemetery where rockstar Randy Rhoades is buried. 

 It was a little weird seeing my name on a gravestone...

I just couldn't get over the beauty of this cemetery. This photo does not do it justice. It's just crazy to think that my great aunt was born in the East End of London, to German immigrant parents, and then ended up in San Bernardino, surrounded by the sunshine and California mountains. I feel so content and at peace that she rests in such a beautiful place, and I'm so happy her family has finally visited her.

After our visit to San Bernardino, we headed to Phoenix to meet the third cousin who also shares Catherine Lux as his great aunt. It amazed me the similarities between us all, he kept looking over at me and said he just couldn't get over how much I looked like his daughter, and it was funny how some of our stories from each of our sets of ancestors matched up. One thing is for sure, the thing that has been passed down through every generation, is that the Lux's stand by their beliefs, and keep them strongly, even if it makes them misfits. My favourite one though was, "Lux's don't stand in queues" haha!

We also seem to have a fair few Mayors in our family...including one (Catherine Lux's brother) who was a Mayor in Germany in 1945 and was shot by a Russian firing squad when they took over the town!? I'd love to know the town he was mayor of, but I'm not sure how to find it out :(

My family with our cousin, Chris (he's the one in the middle).

Please excuse my ramblings, I get a bit carried away with all of this family history stuff! I just find it so interesting! Also, a huge thank you to the San Bernardino record office for making it so easy to get the death certificate, and Mt View Cemetery for helping us find her exact grave location, we really are so incredibly grateful.

After Phoenix we drove to the Grand Canyon, stopping off on the way at Montezuma Castle and Sedona.

Montezuma Castle.

Montezuma Castle - an ancient cave in the mountain side. 


My brother and I are so god damn cool, we ruined our 'nice' family photo.

We also visited a Native Indian market in our way from Arizona to Utah.

I look a little creepy, and have no make up on, but look at the lovely view behind me!!!

The changing views we saw on this trip were amazing; we started out in San Francisco, driving down the West Coast, before going through the desert of Arizona and then the mountains and forests. The landscape changed daily, and we saw so many different sides and cultures to the USA. It just makes me want to go and explore the country more!



  1. Fascinating!!

    The gravestones are more like plaques compared to what I'm used to here in England.

    I'm guessing you'd have to find some sort of head office in Germany and visit they must have some sort of large records place for the whole of Germany somewhere, I'm sure we have one in England.

    1. I know, we're used to the 'normal' standing ones in England too, so it was weird seeing all of the plaque type of graves. We asked them why they're like that and apparently it's to make it easier for the groundsmen to keep the lawns all nice and kept :)

      Apparently each German town has their own records, but of course a lot got destroyed during the war :( So we'll have to find out what town he was mayor of and then go there to find the records!

      C x

  2. I've just discovered your blog (thanks to Twiiter;) and happene to see San Bernardino! I live and was born and raised in the town nearby! crazy to see SB mentioned:D

  3. Have you seen the cemetery lately its gone down the drain bums live there and so on


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