More graves than gravestones were discovered at a Southampton, New York, cemetery.
Apparently this is a shock to local historians and news to the New York Times reporter who wrote the piece.
Zach Studenroth, the town historian, said he was “astonished” by the number of people buried in the cemetery, but added that it made sense: Only the more affluent families in earlier centuries could afford gravestones.
“We look at these stones as records,” Mr. Studenroth said. “Absent the headstone, there’s no record of their having lived.”
I think Mr. Studenroth needs to make the acquaintance of some genealogists, archivists, and librarians.
But it’s an interesting topical read for today, entitled On a Long Island Burial Ground: 47 Gravestones, 1,700 Graves, on using ground-penetrating radar to map cemeteries. The good news:
David Fleming, the director of government relations for the New York State Association of Cemeteries, said he had noticed a renewed interest in preserving old burial grounds. There are an estimated 8,000 cemeteries in the state, he said, several thousand of which have historical significance.
“The perceptions of what cemeteries are and the respect that people pay to the dead has changed over the centuries,” Mr. Fleming said. “I’d like to think that there’s been a resurgence in the importance of cemeteries as historic local treasures.”
Finding more graves than gravestones. Imagine that!