52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Cemetery

Mount Hebron Cemetery: Winchester, Virginia
Photograph By Karen Nutini

FindAGrave.com invites viewers to make a cemetery visit from right where they are. Much information can be gleaned from tombstones. Sometimes, obituaries are presented. Sometimes, short bios are present.

What if there were no memorials found, no pictures, no bios? Researchers would not be able to make a visit. I decided to help out and join FindAGrave. Making a list of people who had no posting, I looked at online death certificates and obituaries. Aha, now I knew where they were buried. I set out to make a memorial for each of them. I posted that photos of tombstones were requested, and requests were always fulfilled by volunteers.

Some of the people who were memorialized: a childhood friend who died in a car crash when he was in fourth grade; a neighbor who was childless but contributed much to our community; a favorite teacher who was unmarried; and my best friend growing up…all were now memorialized so others could find them. In writing these, a little piece of myself could imaginatively lay flowers at their graves.

The hardest to do was my best friend. I had been unable to visit her grave. I placed a short bio on her memorial to focus on how much she loved her children and their accomplishments. It was a final gift to her to thank her for our 50+ years of love, laughter, and shenanigans.

Finally, I would like to thank the volunteers who honored my photo requests. Some pictures were taken within 24 hours of the request. Some volunteers walked the cemeteries and reported back that the graves were unmarked. You are much appreciated!

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