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#2042298 - 11/26/11 08:36 PM Should I Take This on as a Hobby?
livsparents Offline


Registered: 11/26/11
Loc: NJ, Monmouth Co
Am I crazy for even giving a dang about people I don't know nor have any relationship with? I don't have much time on my hands, but I always seem to have a passion for old graveyards and would like to do more than just wander around admiring the stones. I have no idea how to go about this though. I know of a couple of 'private' places that are in need of help. DO I just go in there with a pruning saw and a machete and hope the neighbors don't call the cops? What do I do about privately owned property? Do I go through the local historical society and go from there? \

For various reasons, this might be a hobby that I might enjoy and be able to do. I enjoy digging through the internet to find info on people/places and I MAY be able to devote some weekends to clearing areas. Just want to hear what attributes I SHOULD have to get into this? Thanks, Bill

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#2042304 - 11/26/11 08:44 PM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: livsparents]
BeardedWierdo Offline

Gliding monkeys!

Registered: 11/14/07
Loc: Delaware County, PA
Don't be in a hurry to do anything! Unless there are bulldozers involved, that overgrown cemetery isn't going anywhere.

Go slow enough to avoid errors, disasters, or falling into an old grave. You can get permission from various people, help from others, and advice from others yet (like our dear Raq).

I think you have the most important attribute for this hobby: you care.

Welcome to the forums, btw.
_________________________
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too. -- Oscar Levant

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#2042312 - 11/26/11 08:56 PM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: BeardedWierdo]
livsparents Offline


Registered: 11/26/11
Loc: NJ, Monmouth Co
Thx, Anybody here using the iPad/Apple technologies to document gravesites? Site like this are CRITICAL for keeping things alive and available and it just seems to me that there could be aps out there to make it all pie simple.

I just have this vision on me taking a machete out of my car and having people calling the cops because they don't know whether I'm sacrificing one of my kids or something like that.

A 25 cent tour of my background, I have 5 kids, two of them are autistic, I have lots of potential 'open' time on my weekends. I'm somewhat of a techno bug too, so I MAY want to get into documenting graveyards.

You guys MUST know of the rarity of people who are just INTERESTED in history and grave sites are some of the most basic outcroppings of that.

THX BTW, I hope I become a regular, we'll see...


Edited by livsparents (11/26/11 08:59 PM)

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#2042465 - 11/27/11 01:11 AM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: livsparents]
P.K. Magruder Offline


Registered: 05/29/09
Loc: Western Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: livsparents
Am I crazy for even giving a dang about people I don't know nor have any relationship with? I don't have much time on my hands, but I always seem to have a passion for old graveyards and would like to do more than just wander around admiring the stones. I have no idea how to go about this though. I know of a couple of 'private' places that are in need of help. DO I just go in there with a pruning saw and a machete and hope the neighbors don't call the cops? What do I do about privately owned property? Do I go through the local historical society and go from there? \

For various reasons, this might be a hobby that I might enjoy and be able to do. I enjoy digging through the internet to find info on people/places and I MAY be able to devote some weekends to clearing areas. Just want to hear what attributes I SHOULD have to get into this? Thanks, Bill


Well if you are crazy for caring about old cemeteries, you've found the right loony bin.

You need to know the laws in your state & your community regarding what you can & can't do in cemeteries before you do anything to a cemetery. In Mass, you can't even prune a branch of a bush unless you have the family's or cemetery's permission; it is considered vandalism.

You need to determine if the cemetery REALLY is on private property or if the town has jurisdiction but no staff for maintenance. If it really is on private property, you need to talk to the owner of the property. Some are warm & fuzzy, some will greet you with a shotgun.

If you have a local, county or state preservation/historic society, talk to them. Some have lots of experience and would love the help, and some won't even return your call. Talk to the folks in town who are on the cemetery commission, historic commission, and are responsible for maintaining town-owned cemeteries.

Restoring the markers themselves is a whole field of endeavor that amateurs should avoid. The best of intentions can do more harm than good in the long run.

Things you can do that might help preserve the sites without touching much is see if they are listed on this site. If they aren't, we can walk you through creating a cemetery and adding pictures of the cemetery, adding a map, and adding the memorials.
If you have the time, you can check which cemeteries are on the site, but don't have pictures and maps. Tracking them down, figuring out how to get there, and actually getting there are adventures in themselves. And then researching the cemetery history and typing up an accurate description can be just as time-consuming but fulfilling. There is a whole forum thread devoted just to this purpose.
While you are talking to folks, see if there are any transcriptions or other records floating around that you can access to make sure all the departed are recorded in a cemetery. Some memorials you can just spend hours on for research because they are so interesting/challenging; others just won't seem to catch your attention.

There are tons of things you can do. Just be warned. THIS IS A VERY ADDICTIVE HOBBY!!!!!!!

Welcome to Find A Grave. Thanks for caring!
_________________________
PKM

Every marker has a story to tell. Some times I can be its voice.



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#2046796 - 12/02/11 11:07 AM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: P.K. Magruder]
JodiCay Offline


Registered: 11/13/11
Loc: SE Nebraska
Originally Posted By: P.K. Magruder
... Just be warned. THIS IS A VERY ADDICTIVE HOBBY!!!!!!!

Welcome to Find A Grave. Thanks for caring!


And just wait for the strange looks when you tell your friends/family that you're spending the weekend at the graveyard, again. (DAMHIK)
_________________________
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

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#2048201 - 12/03/11 08:45 PM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: JodiCay]
livsparents Offline


Registered: 11/26/11
Loc: NJ, Monmouth Co
So, I received my first grave photo request. It looks like an under serviced cemetery because there are 20 other requests as well. I know the place only from drive bys but it's a well-maintained place. I guess my question is, how do the cemetery offices feel about 'you people'? Are they accommodating and give you site locations or are they hostile toward the 'picture takers'?

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#2048421 - 12/04/11 01:18 AM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: livsparents]
P.K. Magruder Offline


Registered: 05/29/09
Loc: Western Massachusetts
You can't really tell by the number of requests. There is a local cemetery that currently has 31 requests pending (some of them are several years old). Without a section/plot/"buried next to the 200 year oak information", they aren't getting found soon. In this case, it is a city cemetery; the office is across town at a different cemetery; hasn't had a clerk for a couple of years due to budget cuts; and the superintendent is helping out as grounds crew.

Just go to the office and ask for the location of a couple of the graves & if they have a small map. DO NOT mention that you are taking pictures or that you volunteer for Find-A-Grave. See what happens and take if from there.

Good luck on your mission!
_________________________
PKM

Every marker has a story to tell. Some times I can be its voice.



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#2048684 - 12/04/11 12:28 PM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: P.K. Magruder]
RosalieAnn Offline


Registered: 12/06/02
Loc: St Mary's Co., MD
Yes, don't go in with 20 at once.

I just try to trim my sails to the wind. I talk to the people in the office and express an interest in their cemetery - trying to be cheerful and polite rather than demanding. If I ask for a plot location for a grave and they are grumpy about it, I don't ask for more of them. If they seem busy, I ask when would be a good time or a good way (email? personal visit? phone? snail mail?)to get the information.

I made a request last week and someone reported a problem that they charged $45 to look up the information. So I called and got the information and they didn't charge me for it and there was no indication that they would charge.

If I am at a local cemetery I want to be careful not to blot my copybook - I want to stay on the good side of the people. I don't ordinarily mention Find A Grave, but it depends on the circumstances.

If I meet a groundskeeper (which I try not to do) and get into conversation, it's pretty obvious that I'm taking photos. If he/she doesn't get all huffy about the camera, then I might eventually explain what I'm doing, but not of course if they give me some stuff about privacy etc. In that case I just say that I never go anywhere without my camera (which is true).

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#2075834 - 01/08/12 12:48 AM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: RosalieAnn]
Micah Offline


Registered: 12/18/11
Loc: East Coast
Originally Posted By: RosalieAnn
Yes, don't go in with 20 at once.

I just try to trim my sails to the wind. I talk to the people in the office and express an interest in their cemetery - trying to be cheerful and polite rather than demanding. If I ask for a plot location for a grave and they are grumpy about it, I don't ask for more of them. If they seem busy, I ask when would be a good time or a good way (email? personal visit? phone? snail mail?)to get the information.

I made a request last week and someone reported a problem that they charged $45 to look up the information. So I called and got the information and they didn't charge me for it and there was no indication that they would charge.

If I am at a local cemetery I want to be careful not to blot my copybook - I want to stay on the good side of the people. I don't ordinarily mention Find A Grave, but it depends on the circumstances.

If I meet a groundskeeper (which I try not to do) and get into conversation, it's pretty obvious that I'm taking photos. If he/she doesn't get all huffy about the camera, then I might eventually explain what I'm doing, but not of course if they give me some stuff about privacy etc. In that case I just say that I never go anywhere without my camera (which is true).



why do they make it so diffcult to take a picture of the grave and when the family is all gone where is the privacy issue? by that time no one cares

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#2075915 - 01/08/12 06:52 AM Re: Should I Take This on as a Hobby? [Re: Micah]
crokersack Offline


Registered: 01/22/10
Most folks are very helpful but the most you are going to get is what and where they are located. The rest is up to you and your feet. Info is sparse, mainly the info is who purchased the plot and not who is added to it. But accolades to you in doing this, but do not expect thank yous. Only about half of the folks ever say squat for your time and gas. If they do not acknowledge, I remember their names and never look again in the future.

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