Even cemeteries have a social network

By John Yunker on

John Yunker

Playwright, author of the environmental novel The Tourist Trail and co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

My sister first introduced me to Find A Grave while researching our family history. It’s a social network of sorts for both the living and the dead. That is, if you want to see a picture of a relative’s grave in a cemetery that you can’t easily visit, check out Find A Grave. You might find an eager volunteer willing to take that picture.

My sister requested photos of a relative’s grave and, sure enough, someone was kind enough to go out and take a few pictures. So figured I would do the same here in Ashland. I joined the network, entered my location, and within a week had received more than a dozen photo requests.

So the following weekend I dragged my wife and a friend to Ashland’s Mountain View Cemetery.

We found about half of the requested graves (it wasn’t easy!), took photos of them, and uploaded them to Find A Grave.

I continue to be fascinated with how technology connects us — and, in this case, connects us with our pasts in a way that otherwise would never have happened.

And, had these cemetery journeys not happened, we probably wouldn’t be publishing Mad as the Mist and Snow — a guide to Oregon cemeteries. I’ll have much more to say about this book as we near publication — and in the meantime, for updates and announcements, feel free to join our mailing list.

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