Saturday, October 22, 2011

By Definition, a Taphophile

I have become a taphophile.

taphophile: a person interested in cemeteries, funerals, and gravestones

Visiting Rowley Cemetery and discovering that this new genealogy activity was growing into an obsession made me consider how I felt about cemeteries.

Honestly, I had no good or bad consideration of them. I had never been to a funeral until I was in my 30's. In college, there was the requisite scary story of the 'Black Angel' in the local city cemetery. But generally, I was oblivious to cemeteries. Once the genealogy bug bit me, I began to appreciate cemeteries for their research value and for the connection they offered to my past.

I was born and raised in Illinois. For job reasons, my own family relocated to Michigan in 2000. Fortunately for me (!) this is also where my maternal family all resided before my grandparent's eventual move to Illinois. I researched and made trips to many cemeteries as often as I could. I photographed every grave of as distant a family member I could find. In the pre-digital days, this left me with a stack of cemetery photos that was at least six inches tall and stuck in two gallon-sized Ziploc bags. I hear the gasps. Yes, they have been scanned. And uploaded to Find-A-Grave.

With a busy family, I use the excuse of cemetery research for peace and quiet.

Aux Sable Cemetery entrance, Grundy County, Illinois 2011