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Congressional Cemetery and the Smithsonian Unite to Reinter Shriver Family Ancestors
Submitted by lmaloy on June 16, 2014 - 11:55am
Ancestors of America’s renowned Shriver family were reinterred in the presence of their living relatives following a memorial service on June 11 at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Before work could begin on a $25,000 repair to the partially above ground Causten vault in July of 2009, Congressional contacted National Museum of Natural History forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley and a team of anthropologists and archaeologists to remove remains and systematically analyze the skeletons and associated artifacts of the sixteen individuals buried inside. These remains represent three lineages of families who lived in Washington, D.C. in the nineteenth-century and are connected to Maria Shriver and her siblings. They include their great-great-grandparents, James Hyman Causten (d. Oct 3 1856) and wife Eliza (d. July 27, 1856). Causten commissioned the vault in 1835.
“Congressional Cemetery remains an active burial ground, but we take very seriously our mission to preserve the substantial national history that resides there,” said Paul K. Williams, president of Historic Congressional Cemetery. “We are thrilled to be working with the Smithsonian, and to celebrate the restoration of one of our most historically significant burial sites with members of the Shriver family living today.”
Congressional Cemetery requested support from the Smithsonian to remove the remains so repairs could be made to the barrel vaulted brick roof. The bones were examined and documented at the National Museum of Natural History, a process that involved sorting and re-associating the mixed remains of more than a dozen individuals.
For more information about the reinterment, please see the following links and articles:
Smithsonian Newsdesk: Smithsonian and Congressional Cemetery Unite to Re-bury Shriver Family Ancestors
Smithsonian Magazine: To Discover What Life Was Like in 19th Century D.C., a Smithsonian Scientist Investigates Tomb
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