Sunday, July 04, 2010

Cemetery files

I spent most of Saturday - from lunch to 10pm - going through Ted's cemetery files. And I'm not done, yet. I didn't think it would take so long, but then, I find myself looking at every sheet of paper instead of skimming.

The files were donated to the cemetery committee in keeping with his wishes. Word of mouth has it that he visited every Quaker cemetery in N.C. and some in neighboring states, and wrote down many of the names on the tombstones. My job, for which I enthusiastically volunteered, is to answer the question, can we publish his work?

So far, the answer is not looking good. The information in the files is wonderful, but most of it is copies from already published sources - not original material. Think of your own genealogy files: copies from books, a few printouts of deeds from microfilm, a few scribbled notes on scraps of paper, letters from other genealogy enthusiasts. What's all that going to mean when you're gone? When I'm gone?

Oh, it's all definitely worth keeping! He did a lot of legwork, and some of the books that he copied from may be hard to find. But as far as publishable work... I wonder if he had more, that he kept somewhere else?

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