20 July 2007

Riding a pine rollercoaster

I admit. I like to research dead people.

Gone but not forgotten, assuming room temperature, bought the farm, fettucine al deado, taking a dirt nap, cooking for the Kennedy's....and I don't mean mostly dead.

I'll spare you the details but I've been researching my family tree for years now (okay, okay, 2300 documented personally and counting).

I'm now pursuing my license as a Board Certified Genealogist. I've passed a preliminary test with flying colors. I'll be the first to say, I've become an incredible researcher because of my hobby. I think I can find just about anyone. Even Emmaline would be proud.

I wanted to post this, because I've recently run across some incredibly disrespectful people at the cemetery. It dawned on me that many probably don't know proper etiquette. From this day forward, if you do visit a cemetery, I will have singlehandedly prepared you with a few tips and courtesies you might find useful. This might also spare you the ill-fated pleasure of being brutally bludgeoned with a garden spade and then buried alive by cemetery visitors, such as myself.

Please respect a burial site.
A marker or headstone may not be your family but it is someone's family. Walk in the isles whenever possible. Don't sit, throw or leave your garbage on someone's marker. Bottles and ciggies also fall in this category. If you have a pet with you, please, for the love of dog biscuits and everything glad-bagged, make sure they do their business away from the markers and obey the scoop law.

Be courteous to those who are already there.
Most people who visit cemeteries don't care to be disturbed. Hosting a rave or tagging party is not recommended. Do be aware of your surroundings though, cemeteries can be pretty secluded. I have a genealogical contact back east that twisted her ankle on a hill at the cemetery and wasn't found until later that evening when she didn't come home. Cell phones are recommended in case you have an issue arise.

If you clean off a marker, I do suggest bringing a few tools and items:
Gloves, spade, hand broom, garbage sack, tap water, paper and chalk/crayon for rubbings, camera. You would be surprised how dirty markers can get. I also like this hand tool the best. I purchased mine for under 10 bucks at my local hardware store. Make sure to throw away all garbage including debris (grass or dirt) removed from any markers you clean.

Get the kids and family involved.
I'm really big on this because even though this is a sad thing when people die, it's also the natural end of life. I think this also brings comfort when there is a death in the family. I feel it's very important to know where your roots are and where you have come from.

Happy Trees!!

With that, I'll be gone until Sunday. I'll be having fun sorting some twigs in my family tree.



R said...

Love this post, love cemeteries, love dead people, mortuaries, funerals, respecting the dead, and fettucine al deado. I still can't get over that!

Did I spark this post because I said I wanted the Moonlight Sonata played at my funeral? Ha ha.

No, I know it is because you are doing genealogy stuff...LOL.

Have fun this weekend.

Jeff said...

Very nice post - and excellent advice!

I recently started a family network using Geni.com and after only a few days I now know about 30 2nd and twice removed cousins I never even knew I had. What do you think of that site and it's concept?

Jacquie said...

Girl, where do you find the time? I have never really seen a trashed cemetery. That's ashame.

I was into genealogy about 7 years ago. It's very time consuming but it's so rewarding when you get past brick walls. Congrats on the almost certification!

JRH said...

Mrs. Me and I have been working on our geneology stuff for a number of years now (we use Family Tree Maker, but you intrigue me with your comments about Legacy Family Tree). No, we're not Mormons, we just had a lot of information and needed to get it organized - that's how we got started.

Our kids used to make fun of us for going to cemeteries since we'd often visit family grave sites when on vacation in other states. They'd see a cemetery along the highway and say "Hey, there's a grave yard, aren't ya gonna stop?"

And yes, we have a little "grave kit" we carry in the car, including a little spade, a brush, some towels, a water bottle, a sponge, and some trash bags.

Good post!! It needed to be said.

Stalker Cyberstalker said...

I love to explore old cemeteries. One of my favorite college papers was for my American Cultural Landscapes class; I did a comparison of a new and an old cemetery. Was really fascinating.

ancient one said...

Found you over on someone else's blog. Your name got me. Emma Sometime? I live on Emma Cannon Rd. so you know I had to come look. I like genealogy too. Loved your tips for how to act in the cemetery! I'll be back!

Wazah Bellwether said...

Great Post. Thanks for living AND the not so. I am inspired to write about some of my own cemetery visits and strolls.
Did start to look up some of our tree, found a 4 generation curse, really, and, with help, broke it! Whew!! That was cool, but the side track put a stall on the tree.
Now I'm feelin motivated to look into it again, and today's tech is WAY more advanced. Thanks for great post. see ya.

Herr Krokodil said...


My mom use to take me to the cemetery every holiday. We shined the stones and left flowers. Before my mom died she made me promise I would continue to shine the stones. Now I'm scared that when I go to Heaven she's going to kick my butt for not keeping my word. I do it when I can.

Ba Doozie said...

I got nothin

Dapoppins said...

Why isn't this post tittled "I hunt dead people?"

McBunni said...

I'm so jealous! I wanna know my family tree! I tell everyone I'm Spanish and not Mexican, but I don't really know, to tell you the truth.

How does one get into geneology?

Ba Doozie said...

3 sheets to the wind, toasted, tanked, blasted, gone fishin, wasted, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh wait...tha's drunk not dead..slurry. i mean sorry

Millie said...

How exciting on all of it!!! Can't wait to find out if we're cousins. ;)

Pink said...

congrats on the first test...how many do you have to pass?


Brillig said...

Good luck with the twig-sorting! What a great project.

I love cemeteries, and I love your advice here!

Dan said...

Ems, you're pretty cool. I love visiting cemeteries myself, and taking photos of the headstones. The older the better.

Just got back from Oregon. LOVED it. Hope you have been well.

Ba Doozie said...

guess what, I've been wearing a ball cap for my painting job!! Whadda ya think about that...hmm?

Ba Doozie said...

the cap says "Gap"

Ba Doozie said...

my pony tail hangs out the hole in the back

JLR said...

good for you for posting about this! Now if I can just get rr to write something about the proper way to preserve old family documents and objects, I'll be a happy camper.

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