An interment record book at Riverside Cemetery
As I sit here ready to pen the first post on this new blog, I’m looking at a pile of folders toppled over across the table and surrounded by scraps of paper with hastily scrawled names and dates. A map of Section I in Mt Hope Cemetery flutters to the floor as my cat Murphy makes himself comfortable amidst the paper chaos. Bailey is snoring softly at my feet, and I can hear Bandit in the other room as he adjusts his dog bed in preparation for a mid-afternoon nap.
It’s a serene, calm, albeit terribly disorganized scene, one I find myself in often. I’m ready to write, I’ve got more than enough research at the ready, but as soon as I put fingers to keyboard my mind starts to wander. I spy the map. Section I? Who’s buried in Section I? I must have had the map out for a reason. I reach for the paper.
And before I know it, I’m off on another rabbit trail, searching census records and interment records and city directories. Several hours later, I’ve got another story idea and another folder filled with notes and I’m no farther along with the writing part of writing.
Because there’s this book, and this (long past) deadline, and this patient publisher, and all of these story drafts scattered around in different blog posts or with photos shared on Facebook or scribbled on scraps of paper and tucked inside books to mark the place where I need to go back and take more notes. And it occurred to me that if I pulled it all together in one place this book might write itself.
Or something even better.
So here I sit, fingers on the keyboard, ready to blog again. With a blog name, a list of stories already mostly written, and a clearer focus than I’ve had in a while.
I’ll write about local history, but this isn’t strictly a local history blog. There are several of those around already, and they already do a great job so there’s no need to reinvent that wheel. (Rochester Subway, where I’ve written, and Exploring Upstate are two of the best.) Instead, I’ll be writing about life and death, intriguing epitaphs and curious grave markers, curious tidbits I stumble upon in old newspapers and interment records, and the final resting places of famous people and everyday people.
Because under every headstone there’s a story waiting to be told.
Read the first post to learn how my cemetery obsession started:
The story of Lottie Harcourt, also known as My Lottie