Now that the winter has finally left Northern Virginia, I am able to get out and about and resume my hobby of grave hunting. While that might seem creepy to some of you, or perhaps intriguing to others, it is a hobby that I find absolutely fascinating.
Each graveyard I come across holds a history of the people who lie resting there. Some of the graveyards I find have been left abandoned for many years, while others are in current use. My goal? To restore the forgotten cemeteries and to document any and all graves I find on sites such as Billiongraves.com. (To learn more about their site, visit www.billiongraves.com.) All entries made on their site is done by volunteers like me, who enjoy seeking out and making available documented records for people who are trying to locate their ancestors.
My travels this past month have led me to some very interesting places. Check them out below.
This is Whitehall Cemetery located in Nokesville, Virginia. I had to jump a nasty muddy ditch and incline, cross barbed wire and downed trees to access this gem. The graves date from the mid to late 1800s, and extend beyond what the photo shows. From the road, you cannot see this graveyard unless you know it is there and what to look for. This would make an awesome service project.
Next is a cemetery I named Nicol Cemetery, because of the family buried there. I am waiting for information from the local historic society as to the original name on the records – if there is one. This cemetery is in Brentsville, Virginia. Look at what I had to cross to gain access!
So, what is the purpose of seeking out these graveyards? Think of the hours and time you have spent on researching your ancestor but can’t find that one piece of information to verify a name, marriage, parentage or birth/death date. These stones speak volumes and open doors to further research in family lines.
I am fascinated by the people buried at these sites. Each person has their own story, their own contribution to the community. They each have their own place in history.
If you have ancestors buried in the Northern Virginia area and would like to receive a photo of the gravesite, please email me at Melyssawebb@gmail.com. If I can help, I’d be happy to do so!