Posts Tagged Cemetery

Musings and questions surrounding my cemetery visualization project

Mar 20th, 2014 Posted in Public History | no comment »

I am still trying to get my database updated with all the information I can find on the cemeteries in Mad River township, Champaign, Ohio. What I am trying to do is figure out how cemeteries change over time, and with this I want to know how they reflect the change in the town’s own identity. For example, the Shaffer and Zerkle cemeteries included burials until 1883. What happened in 1883? What I suspect happened – and I am not sure yet as I am still gathering that information – is twofold: the family no longer owned the property (yes, according to the deed records the cemeteries were deeded to the Lutheran Church in St. Paris) and the city cemetery, Terre Haute, was built (not sure, I need to go there in person to look at their records). By comparing the number of family burial sites listed in the historic records to the number of family burial sites still in existence today, I can hopefully make some kind of statement about the changes in views on the importance of cemeteries. Findagrave.com fits in here, it’s become such a huge resource for many people interested in finding their family information, yet you really aren’t necessarily always getting the right information. Ownership of the “memorial” becomes a contested area of family vs. other and there is no way to fix this within FAG’s TOS. What does that say about society’s current views on cemeteries? Is photographing our cemeteries a game or a serious attempt at virtual conservation? These are the kinds of questions I am trying to work through in this project.

Cemetery Visualization Project

Mar 16th, 2014 Posted in Public History, Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

Working on this visualization project I think I’ve stumbled on something interesting.

-In my database I have two cemeteries: Zerkle and Shaffer. They are named thusly per Google Maps. The story behind Shaffer is that a family member placed the sign there because it needed a name. I assume that’s why Google maps gives it that place name. I don’t know why the Zerkle cemetery is given that place name, other than because there are Zerkles (all spellings) buried there. But there are Zerkles (all spellings) also buried in Shaffer. That’s not a surprise, they are all intermarried into each other and the land all around both was once owned by Shaffers and Zerkles.

– My spreadsheet that I created shows the earliest burial in Shaffer was 1855, and latest was 1883. Zerkle was 1842 and last 1883.
– The current acreage that I was given by a Mad River Township Trustee was over an acre for Shaffer and just over a half acre for Zerkle.
– The 1874 map I have showing cemetery markings indicates a cemetery near where the current Google maps lists the Shaffer cemetery. Farther down, near where the current Google maps shows the Zerkle cemetery, is the Zerkle Lutheran church. But NO cemetery marker on the 1874 map. In 1874, the Zerkle Lutheran church was still there so it should be showing on the map.
– The deed I have a copy of from 1846 showing Abraham Zerkle deeded 1 acre to the Lutheran Church Trustees for a church and burial ground.
– The Shaffer Huston cemetery mentioned in a couple of sources does not exist anymore. The numbers of burials in the various records of Shaffer and Zerkle cemetery vary — much less in the pre-1950 literature available.

Conclusions:
1) I think the Shaffer and Zerkle cemeteries are misnamed. Zerkle should be an acre or more.
2) Shaffer-Huston was moved into the “Shaffer” cemetery – hence why there are more burials than originally accounted for.
3) The earliest burial in the “Zerkle” cemetery was Elizabeth Shaffer. Another reason this was probably the family cemetery located on the Shaffer property not the Zerkle property. The Zerkle cemetery, attached to the Zerkle Lutheran Church didn’t exist until 1846-7.

Now, how do I show all this visually?! Other than the fun color-coded map I made myself using colored pens. :)