19 March 2012

Old Grave, New Discoveries

Image Accompanying Washington Post Article

Last month (25 February 2012) the Washington Post (DC) published an article with the above title and the subtitle “In push to preserve Arlington plot, churchgoers unearth their roots.”  As a genealogist, we know how special cemeteries are – both for information and spiritually.

“When Saundra Green Looks over the compact cemetery adjacent to Calloway United Methodist Church in Arlington, she sees the history of her community.

The oldest grave contains Margaret Hyson, who died in 1891 and was a slave on the Hall’s Hill plantation before emancipation  Under another marker is Hesakiah Dorsey, a slave who joined the Union Army during the Civil War ...

Now Arlington County is about to designate the tiny plot .... as a local historic district”

Do read the full article – it goes on to discuss how the county preservation planner looked at census and historical data, unearthed a 1985 survey of cemeteries by the Arlington Genealogical Club and circulated a questionnaire at the church to get oral reports of who might be buried there.  She ultimately shared this information with the congregation and they responded “It’s a lot ... that this new generation of us didn’t know.  We didn’t know how to find it...”

This reminded me that though I take for granted the basics of genealogical research, there are many more individuals who have an interest and don’t know where to start!

How can we “experienced” genealogists reach out to our local community and help those who are interested and don’t know where to start?

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