Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doing Some Volunteer Work During The Holidays

During the holiday season, my mom and I always go searching for a volunteer project that we can take on to better someone's life or community. In the past we've done "adopt a family", where we buy presents for everyone in a low income family, sometimes we even make them a meal and buy them a tree. Other years we've made cookies for our local Boys and Girls Club (That was a 3 day affair of cookie making!).

Every year for the past two years however, I've been trying to find something that relates to genealogy. In the past I've done free look ups or helped people with their brick walls. But this year - I am not only putting a genealogy twist to it, but a cemetery twist too.

This year, I am going to go out and transcribe a small local cemetery with a friend of mine. Once I've done this, I will organize it into a small book that gives pictures, a general map of the cemetery, and a brief local history of the area. Then I will give the book to many of the local libraries in the area and the county, while also creating a website where that lists all the information in the book.

Mind you - this is no small task and will certainly take a lot of effort and time. But these days, the smallest things can brighten up our world. I'm sure someone out there will need the information.

So I call on all of you to find a cool way to volunteer for the genealogy world but with a cemetery twist. I've made a quick list of some ideas to get you started, but certainly anything you come up with will be pretty cool.

  1. Maybe you own a lawn mower and you don't mind cutting grass for a underkept cemetery. You could then go down there and make it look so much nicer while also making it easier to read all the stones and markers.

  2. Maybe you are a great photographer - you could volunteer to take pictures of your local cemeteries and send them to your local genealogical society or put them on a website.

  3. Do what I am doing - make a transcription and publish it.

  4. I find this to be extremely sweet: Clean up any dead flowers around the stones and then place a fresh flower on there.

Whatever you decide to do this holiday season - I'd love to hear about it. Drop me a line to let me know!


Taneya said...

that is really cool! can't wait to see it after you've got it done.

Terry Thornton said...

Super suggestions Elyse. Thank you so much for being to kind and for inspiring us all to volunteer work.

I look forward to reading about your project. You may wish to offer your transcription to the local cemetery perpetual fund/upkeep committee if one exists. If you set up the website as a blog (and I encourage you to do so), please by all means list it as a member blog of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

Good suggestions --- good ideas --- you are a blessing!

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi USA

Anonymous said...

Hi Elyse,

This is inspiring! It has me thinking about expanding my original project!

"Guided by the Ancestors"

Anonymous said...

First of all, Kudos to your Mother! Not only has she raised an outstanding individual, she has raised you with the right values! Volunteering is one of the most important things people can do to give back just a little to our society.

I found my project on Halloween, but I'm really, really, looking forward to following the progression on yours!

You are an inspiration and we need to hear about more young adults like you!

Verna Derosier said...

It's very admirable that you and your mother would volunteer and help others out. It's a very big deal when one's helping a non profit organization, especially during the holidays. The genealogy and cemetery twist is certainly a fascinating thing to do, and the fourth idea is really very sweet, and kind. Kudos to ya for doing this!