Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable in or near cemeteries?
As someone who does a lot of genealogy, I spend a lot of time in cemeteries not only for my own research, but to take photographs of markers for people who may live hundreds or thousands of miles away. When someone asks me about hobbies and I share this with them, many times they feel uneasy. How do you feel about cemeteries?
I love cemeteries, but not for the same reasons as you.
While I do find them peaceful, I enjoy doing gravestone rubbings. There's so much history in the older cemeteries that I feel a need to document a piece of it. I realize how odd this seems.
There are two cemeteries in my little town, and both date back to about 1750. Many of these headstones are so worn that the only way to read them is to make a rubbing.
By doing so, I've found graves of Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers -- ones that would have been forgotten to time, and they are most interesting. One young man was killed in action, and buried by the members of his cavalry unit, who took up a collection to pay for his gravestone. (Yes, this information was revealed in the rubbing.)
Many have the words, "Gone Home," engraved on them, with hands pointed Heavenward. Another has the same words, with chained hands pointing down. I've always wondered just what it was this woman had done. I suspect she was an adulteress.
I've found entire families who died within a few short weeks, probably from consumption or flu outbreaks. The heartbreaking graves of children, many of them newborn. And I've found that an alarming number of people pass right around their birthdays.
In Aspen, Colorado, I made rubbings from a Ute Indian cemetery. While rock cairns marked their graves, I was able to take rubbings because they had headstones. This was strange, as it was the only Indian burial ground I've ever found where I could take a piece of their history home with me.
From the time I was a child I've collected these charcoal images from beaten down, forgotten graves. I realize it's a strange hobby, but I find it fascinating.
Absolutely not a strange hobby! There are so many stones that will be eroded away in our lifetime and so much history to learn from earlier generations long gone.
I hope you make these rubbings available to others. Maybe your local library or online at a website like findagrave.com.
I feel very uncomfortable and keep on suspecting every human I see around the area is a Ghost.
I did feel uncomfortable around cemeteries at first. Even driving by one would raise the hairs on the back of my neck. I mean, there are dead people there, and potentially ghosts. But after starting my genealogy, and spending more time there, they really are beautiful and peaceful places. And interesting because they are so full of history.
Neither, although, when I used to be fit enough to hump my large format camera around, I found that cemetaries and ancient headstones were the perfect set up for B&W photos.
I actually like to go to cemetaries to read the tomb stones for no reason. I often think of them as future people that are to be resurrected and it brings me comfort. My brother once found a grave stone form the 1800's With his name on it. LOL he ran out the cemetary but It was Weird he said to know that there was some one else with his whole name and last name that lived so long ago. I often wonder what there life was like before. The older the better and I get attracted to Baby graves.
No, cemeteries have never bothered me. They seem very peaceful. i wonder if I was alone in one at night, if I would say the same thing. I don't believe in ghosts but I do believe that my imagination could get the best of me.
Cemeteries spooked me when I was a kid, but not any more. Like you, I spend a lot of time in cemeteries doing research for my family history. My mom and I call it "cemetery stomping". A lot of the old cemeteries we visit aren't well cared for and are covered with dense grass and wildflowers which both provide great hiding places for snakes. If you walk with a heavy footstep or "stomp" it will most often scare the snakes off before you get anywhere near them. The only thing I worry about in cemeteries (old ones) are falling over rocks and such buried in the grass, getting ticks/chiggers, and most of all the snakes.
I find that I'm still somewhat uncomfortable in cemeteries. Whether I'm visiting a late relative or just accompanying someone else, it's awkward for me. I don't mind it. But just knowing that this is the inevitable outcome for ALL of us is a little gut-wrenching.
Cemeteries do not spook me any more. Like you, I love to do family history research -- and that takes me to many cemeteries, talking with cemetery staff, walking and searching for graves and monuments.
I also like to visit these cemeteries via Google Earth. I now record grid coordinates for each grave I find, and by using these grid coordinates, I can zoom right in on it with Google Earth.
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