Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Names on an Index card

One of my jobs here at work is to assist when people come in to find family in the cemetery. See, our offices are in a building that is attached to an old church. Very old. Next to the church is a large cemetery. In my office has a large fireproof file cabinet that weighs 1/2 ton or so. In that are all the index cards of the people that are buried there. So people doing their genealogy research come to me first to find out where in the cemetery they need to go. I got this honor by being the one to take over this room in our office. The person that has this room after me will have that honor.

I enjoy helping people in their search and we have a large map of the cemetery with names in the spots so it is easy to find. At least in theory. I even used technology and google mapped it and got a satelitte view to show people.

Speaking of technology...index cards? I mean really, we are in the 21st century. So for the past year I have been slowly moving the information from index cards into an Excel program so it would be easy to find names and areas.

This has been interesting even though I am not related to anyone buried here. To see the dates going back to the mid 1800's. To see family history - one last name and the number of people buried here from that lineage. Sometimes as many as 6 in one grave area.

Today I was inputting and ran into a card that had 3 boys names. They were infants buried at the foot of their fathers grave. They died all the same day and he died almost 40 years later. I imagine they were stillborn or something like that. They were buried in a spot and Dad joined them. No mention of Mom being buried there so who knows?

Some of it has been multi-generational. You can follow the family and see the different generations of great grandparents down to most recent family members. I look at them and wonder about things like "did she like that her name was Myrtle?" or "this family had 5 deaths all in the month of July and all in different years. July was not a good month for the Georgia family."

It is interesting how sometimes a whole life can come down to an index card, or a line in a bible or just...well...just a memory.

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