I have this addiction to cemeteries. I’m sure I’m not alone, I’ve seen you all out there with me. Is vacation not complete if it doesn’t include a trip to a burial ground? Like two years ago, when we stopped at the Bentonville Battlefield (NC) and Confederate graveyard on our way home from the beach And a few years before that spent our anniversary walking through St. Mary’s Cemetery in Rochester, NH looking for the headstones of my great-great grandparents (we found them!).
One of the things I miss about not living in New England is not being able to search the cemeteries where my family members are personally. I’m sure many relocated family historians feel the same way.
Well, if your people are from Wake Forest, NC, I have great news. The town, in cooperation with the Cemetery Advisory Board [full disclosure, I’m a member] has added a Virtual element to their annual Cemetery Walking Tour.
The Walking Tour takes place the second Saturday in May annually, this year that’s next week: May 10th from 9:30am-12:30pm. There are docents representing various families, sharing their stories, photos and artifacts. The Sons of Confederate Veterans speak about some of the soldiers buried there. It is a fitting tribute and remembrance to those that have come before. More information on the tour is on the Town of Wake Forest website.
The virtual tour is a wonderful addition, available on the web or via the Town of Wake Forest app (available on iOS and Android). You can use it for your own personal tour any time on your phone while walking around the cemetery. But perhaps more importantly for some, you never have to leave your chair, you can access it from anywhere!
There are currently 8 person-profiles, including the earliest known grave, several of the WF College presidents and other prominent citizens. The plan is to continually add new profiles and photos, not just of the headstones, but of the person along with a brief bio.
I applaud the town for its forward-thinking embrace of technology [did you hear we are getting a gigabit fiber network?] and hope that other towns and cemeteries do the same. While it will never replace actually being there, having this type of information online available means that someone who cannot travel can see the final resting place of a loved one. I hope more and more cemeteries can add this, especially the ones in Rochester, NH where my family is buried, my wife wants to go somewhere else for our anniversary.