Monday, June 3, 2013

Where the Past & Present Intersect

I went out today to get some exercise since the weather is not beastly hot like the past 4 days have been.
And where does Sluggy go to exercise?
A local cemetery to take pictures of headstones for F.A.G. of course! 8-)

Call me crazy but I find it relaxing to wander about a green space on a beautiful day and snap pictures of grave markers of stranger's dear departed relatives and ancestors.
It was also a nice drive down a windy country road into a very tiny town with a huge church and large gorgeous cemetery.  This area was a booming place, filled with lots of people back 100 years or more ago, so there are lots of little and some massive graveyards tucked away all over the place in this part of PA.
I signed up to be a volunteer photographer for F.A.G.  Somebody makes a request for a photo of a headstone for someone listed on the website and every volunteer within 50 or so miles gets an email alert for that request.
You wouldn't believe how many email alerts I get a week!  There are so many graveyards in this area it's crazy!  I think there are more people these days here living below the ground than above. lol

And there are very few people taking volunteer photos so I have a wide open playing field if I can find the cemetery.  Heck, I could do this as a fulltime job there are so many requests for photos.  Too bad the pay is lousy....ok, the pay is VERY lousy, as in, NO pay. ;-)

I'm making this my project-to document with photos and memorials on the website-this entire cemetery.
There are some memorials already listed on F.A.G. for this boneyard, but by no means is it complete.

By posting those headstones/markers on the Find A Grave website, it might help some other amateur genealogist track down a missing piece of their family line.
This is me, giving back for those who have helped me on my journey into my past.

I caught the caretakers out mowing today so I got a chance to ask about how the cemetery was sectioned off/mapped out.  He showed me the very VERY old pages of the graveyards layout with the surnames handwritten.  They have no files in a cabinet, no computerized lists....these papers are the only records for the graves!  They are so old and brittle and almost a medium brown in color from age.  This was no archival paper by any means when they were new.  I wonder what they will do when/if these maps ever wear out or get destroyed.  Hopefully there is another set of them tucked away in a safe somewhere.

These maps are very important information so I am not traipsing all over looking for a particular person's grave to photograph for a request from the F.A.G. website.

And to make my trips back there more productive, I was allowed to photograph the maps.  What a coup!
This will help me tremendously to get all the burial records up on the site that are missing.
Score one for this amateur grave sleuth..... ;-)

I took about 100 photos today so I am off to see which ones came out clear and start cropping and getting them in a folder, ready to load to Find A Grave.

I also had a very unsettling incident in the cemetery today.  I am not one to believe in ghosts and stuff like that but.....
I could have sworn at one point, as I was turning my head as I walked to the next headstone, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a figure dressed in a white suit, standing about 50 ft. away from me.  It was a shadowy figure and other than the cut of the pants appearing to be empire period style(hey! I'm an old costume designer....I know this shit!lol), I couldn't make out any distinguishing features of the clothing or the face.
I quickly turned and did a double-take and there was no one there.  And the hairs on my arms were standing straight up.....eeeesh.....

If it hadn't been a bright beautiful day, I might have freaked out.  But I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing.
So go ahead and tell me it was the hot sun playing tricks on my mind or Sluggy has been drinking or taking "funny" medications today or she's stressed out and just losing what little is left of her mind now.
I know I saw shaddup! 8-P




  1. Sounds like a good day to me. My family and I love to visit old cemeteries.

    1. I wish I could get some of MY family to enjoy going there with me....
      How did you luck out?lol

  2. I went to the Benedictine monastery that is about a mile from my house. A cute Brother showed me around. We went into a basement where teens use the library. There was a huge book there from the 15th century, lying unprotected. I could touch it. But, I so respected it that I had to physically strain to keep my hand away. He was against any suggestion of protecting the book. The illumination was still bright and intact. whew

    Surely, the cemetery has some sort of permanent record of these fragile pages.

    My daughter (4)would beg to go to a graveyard/cemetery we passed quite often to have a picnic. Actually, in ages past, that is what people did regularly. She said it was just so beautiful and looked like a nice place walk around.

    Often I think I see people or things, mostly bugs, but that is because my hair falls into my glasses on the side, and with cataracts, I assume everything is anything besides my hair. I can tell you--my hair spooks me and I have no meds or drink.

  3. Eep, you have my hairs standing up with that story. I am sure the grave people were just as amused. Maybe a little sad you couldn't take their photo, though. Get a heat camera next time? They don't want to scare you, especially if they're staying in their graves. They're a chatty bunch with really limited time/resources to communicate.

    1. No this "guy" wasn't staying in his grave, he was walking around!! lol
      I suppose they are rather lonely with little to no chance for a social life anymore....

  4. If I saw a ghost, I would pee and run. Yes, that would happen.

    1. Or, the pee would run down your legs.....LOL


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