Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cemetery Research...Or... How I Fended Off a Plot Salesman

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I took a ride up to the cemetery where my Grandma and Grandpa Harris are buried. Morbid as this may sound, I needed a photo of their grave stone to prove dates of birth and death for both of them. I am putting my application in for the Daughters of the American Revolution lineage society and I have four great grandfathers on my Harris side that served in the Revolutionary War. This fact will make me a SUPER DAR MEMBER!

Anyhow, I needed a photo of their tombstone, so we went up to the cemetery. I tried to find it on my own first while Mom stayed in the car. I knew the general section it was in, but it is a packed cemetery, so I was having trouble. It was really bizarre traipsing about the cemetery in search of a grave stone. Most genealogists say they feel very at home in a cemetery, but I think that’s something I’ll have to slowly lean into. I was creeped out.

When I couldn’t find it, we went up to the office to ask for help. The receptionist looked up the names and gave me a Post-It note of the exact spot. I told her I would need more help than that, which was her cue to bring in “Mike.”

“Mike,” as it turned out, was a cemetery plot salesman. He pulled out a huge map and told me to follow him down the hill. We were originally in the right spot, just couldn’t find the right row. He showed me right to the grave site, which was surrounded by a literal ton of my other family members. He took notice and then consulted his map. He said,

“This is a lot of your family, then? WELL…. As it happens, we have a LOT of plots available RIGHT here! We can go right back up to the office and discuss your options if you’d like.”

I said, “No, thank you. I’m just here to take a photo of this grave stone for my DAR application.”

Mike said, “Oh. I hear that’s a very involved process. Well, it’s VERY rare to have so many open plots down here, so let me know if you want to talk about it.”

I’m thinking, I really don’t want to talk about my own burial plot today buddy, but thanks anyway.

I didn’t say that. “Well, thank you. I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”

Mike said, “I hope you will….they won’t last long.”

AAAAHHHHH. Ok. Let’s get out of here.

Like I said before, cemetery field research is obviously something I will have to approach with a calm resolve. No one ever said that genealogy was boring.


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