Monday, October 26, 2009

Christ Church graveyard

Yesterday, I got to go graveyard wandering with a fellow genealogist--it's always a pleasure when you have friends that share your quirky hobbies!

He was on the hunt for a specific grave, while I was more interested in seeking out unusual headstones. I took a few pictures, including this marker I found fascinating. I bought a book on gravestone symbolism the other week...I need to look this one up and see what it means.

So many of the gravestones are worn away by time and the elements. Just reminded me again how so much in life is ephemeral.

I also put a few pennies on Ben Franklin's grave...we'll see if it brings me any luck. I love the epitaph he wrote for himself!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Save Jewish Graves

I had the opportunity this past week to attend the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference on Jewish Genealogy. While my own roots (to the best of my knowledge) are not Jewish, my grandparents migrated from an area of Poland/the Ukraine, Galicia, where many Jewish people come from. I felt fortunate to sit in on these sessions and learn more about so much of the history and culture of that region (both painful and fascinating).

I'd like to encourage you to visit the website of The Association for the Preservation of Abandoned Jewish Cemeteries. The organization is located here in Philadelphia, and their mission is to help restore these cemeteries, as well as educate individuals about the conditions that exist, and encourage volunteers to assist in the cleanup efforts.

If you've been looking for a volunteer project, maybe this is your opportunity!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

St. Peter's Church in Society Hill

So I promised a while back I'd post some more of the pictures I took at the St. Peter's graveyard in Old City. Finally, here they are.

The church is over 250 years old, and some of the graves are really remarkable. I'm not sure if I was more impacted by the unusual ones (like the winged one or the one with claw feet) or the simple, broken ones.

They're both beautiful in their own way.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Germantown Upper Burial Ground

Received a note that the Germantown Upper Burying Ground will be open the second Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. (May through October).

Those dates are: June 14, July 12, August 9, September 13, October 11.

There will also be a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 20, and they'll also be open Saturday, July 4, from noon to 2, with a bell ringing ceremony at 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

After a long rainy spell, the weather today is gorgeous. If you're in the city and feel like a tour, why not check out Old St. Mary's cemetery? It's located at 252 S. 4th Street in Center City, and features prominent graves like John Barry, Michael Bouvier, and Thomas Fitzsimons.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cemetery Research

I think this site provides some excellent tips for conducting cemetery research.

I hope it's helpful!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I wonder where this is in the Woodlands Cemetery? Quite the expression on his face, isn't it?

Thanks to Maria Reilly and her flickr photo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Warmed Up

I just finished a terrific book by Lisa Rogak called "Death Warmed Over." It's a book of funeral customs, by country or ethnicity, and accompanying recipes.

One of the customs is for the Amish, quite a few of whom live about an hour outside of Philadelphia. Here's the recipe for Funeral Pie, a recipe for which can be found here.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Digging Up Bones

If you're searching for a particular person buried in a particular cemetery, you may want to check the online OPAC of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to see if they have records for that particular cemetery.

Many of the records are on microfilm, but some are in bound volumes you can just pull down off the shelf. It costs $6 to visit the library if you're not a member.

They have a wide variety of cemetery records, especially for ones located in Philadelphia and the near suburbs. You might be surprised what you find!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

funeral customs

I'm reading a great book called "Death Warmed Over" by Lisa Rogak. It's basically about funeral customs all over the globe...from places as diverse as Egypt, Holland, and Iran. It's really fascinating, and I highly recommend it!