Monday, May 29, 2006

Step One Complete

Way back in the first part of April I mentioned my visit to the Niccum Cemetery outside Danville, Illinois, and my somewhat rash decision to photograph every tombstone. I had been frustrated that this little cemetery full of my relatives had been rather overlooked by the local historians. Before we left Danville, I had managed to snag a listing from the Illiana Genealogical and Historical Society for the known burials through about the mid-1970s. Since getting home, I have been matching that list against the photographs, sizing the photographs for uploading to , and slowly loading the data row by row.

The crushing workload of May has interferred greatly with my project, but today I was able to sit down and complete the entry for this little cemetery. Little? I had no idea that there were more than 500 burials in that little plot of land when I was snapping photos. If I had, I might have backed out of my impulsive plan on the spot. I'm glad I didn't know, because I feel a real sense of accomplishment now that the first round has been completed.

Now I go back and make sure I didn't miss anybody and try again to decipher the handful of stones that did not photograph well. I'm planning to expand the listing I picked up at IGHS to include helpful information that was omitted (like "son of" and "wife of"), correct the typographical errors on that list, and add in information from my personal records for the 50% or so burials that tie into my family. Then I plan to post the information somewhere on the Internet and start spreading the word that Niccum Cemetery has been documented to the best of my ability.

I'm glad I was able to finish the initial phase of the project on Memorial Day. I was not able to get out today to pay visits to the graves of my veteran ancestors, but I was able to leave virtual flowers on the memorials I have entered for them online. I continue to find it very rewarding to memorialize my relatives in this way. I feel like they know what I've been doing and are happy that someone remembers.

Niccum Cemetery


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