Sharing Saturday: Bella Morte

If you love Victorian cemetery sculptures, then you’re going to really enjoy today’s Sharing Saturday post.

Since 2006, Bella Morte has been devoted to highlighting Victorian cemetery art and sculptures from around the world. There’s a page for countless videos, a page for epitaphs, pages for the various countries listing the cemeteries visited, and more.

This is  an enthusiast’s treasure trove. Enjoy!

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No peeing (or pooping) in the graveyard.

Dogs

A while back I visited an abandoned pioneer cemetery located smack dab in the heart of relatively wealthy, San Francisco Bay Area town.

It’s a typical old cemetery fallen on hard times. Lots of broken branches scattered all over, several inches of dried leaves blanketing tipped headstones, plus a number of torn up spots where a backhoe (possibly a developer’s) had scraped into sunken markers.

There were also three dogs, one the size of a pony, galloping over, under, and throughout the place for almost twenty minutes, doing their business while the owners casually stood off to one side chatting. (As a point of interest, there’s a large, off-leash dog park not more than 3/4 of a mile away).

When they noticed me photographing the site (and probably thinking I was photographing them), they quickly called the dogs back and skedaddled, leaving the dogs’ residual bodily offerings behind.

I consider myself pretty open minded when it comes to old historic cemeteries. I don’t have a problem with joggers or picnickers (just pack out what you packed in), nor do I have a problem with geocaching. I don’t even have a problem with modeling shoots, provided the proper permissions were obtained and there are no funeral services going on at the same time as the shooting. The way I see it, the more people know and understand the stories and carvings and symbols on these unique stones, the more likely they’re going to want to preserve them.

And up until that day, I really didn’t fall pro or con on the dogs-in-the-cemetery issue. However, after this experience I decided that they should be kept out of cemeteries not only out of respect, but also because of public health and personal safety reasons.*

*Note. I’m referring here to cemeteries that have a decent amount of foot traffic and/or are located in relatively busy areas. Anyone who’s ever bushwhacked to a truly abandoned cemetery out in the woods should seriously consider bringing a dog (or two) for personal safety reasons.  

Public health. How would you like it if your Eagle Scout wanna-be or your team of cleaning volunteers had to slog through scads of scat in order to complete their clean up projects? Or if you’d finally hunted down your great-great pioneer grandparents and went to visit their graves, only to find them decorated with loops of poop?

Personal safety. I don’t care how much of a lovey-dovey, slobbering pumpkin muffin your Great Dane/pit bull/German Shepherd may be, but when he’s  racing toward me at top speed, panting, growling, and slavering away, my first thought’s most certainly not, “Oh, what a cutie pie.” It’s, “Holy moly, where did I put that pepper spray??”

Now I understand there are any number of discussions (both polite and not-so polite) out there on this topic. On a funnier note, the Washington Post ran the Rest in Pees article about how the Congressional Cemetery finally gave in and decided that if it couldn’t beat ‘em, it was better to just join ‘em.

“…All around us dogs ran free — dozens of slap-happy animals, joyfully relieving themselves on the thousands of hydrant-like objects that have been placed all over, as far as they can tell, for their convenience. It’s all approved and sanctioned, part of an only-in-Washington accommodation reached some years ago between a private graveyard strapped for grounds keeping cash and urban pet owners happy to pay a user’s fee in return for about 35 acres of fenced greenery.”

And yes, I know there are any number of responsible dog owners who do clean up after their pets but the key word here is responsible. The people I saw that day were clearly being irresponsible, ruining it  everyone else because they don’t give a crap. Then again, why should they when their dogs have already done it for them?

So there you have it. Cemetery modeling; ok.  Cemetery picnics; ok.  Dogs running loose in the cemetery so they can do their thing; not ok.

 

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Free genealogy searches

Most of you know I’m writing a mystery that concerns an old graveyard (no big surprise there) in Upstate New York. However, part of that mystery involves the main character researching old newspapers for clues. Enter this fabulous YouTube video on how to search old newspapers for free, particularly the New York State Historical Newspaper search engine.  Thought I’d share it with you, too.

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The Art of the Hand-carved Gravestone

If you ever wanted to know what it takes to hand carve a tombstone, here’s a video showing how Dave Wheelock of Sandwich, Massachusetts carves an 18th-century style gravestone.

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The daily news feed on the BTG Facebook

BTG

Those of you on Facebook, come check out the BTG page because that’s where I run all the news articles about successful cemetery renovations, scandals (sorry to say), or interesting discoveries. Some of the previous articles posted include:

Why not just list those here, you ask?

The answer’s simple. There are so many great articles that I’d end up  spamming your email boxes with excess posts. I don’t like when I’m on the receiving end of these things, and in fact, I just finished a massive ‘unsubscribe’ campaign earlier this week to a couple of particularly annoying websites.

In short, it ticks me off when I get spammed so why should I do it to you?

So right now, this site is for interesting photos, occasional commentary, and sharing the work of other cemetery/genealogy bloggers out there who I think are marvelous. And by using Facebook as the news article medium, you get the option of stopping to look or scrolling past if it doesn’t poke your fancy.

No spam.

Although I will secretly admit to eating a fried egg and spam sandwich now and then. But that’s all I’m saying.

Spam

 

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The dark side of genealogy

Today’s Saturday Sharing comes from the DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy blog.

DNA testing can be a great tool for finding lost relations and closing up those doggone nagging holes on the genealogical tree. However, just because one person is all gung ho about getting tested, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Sometimes, people aren’t going to want to share. And that’s ok. So when they say no, don’t push.

No DNA Bullying

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Deep sea diver carving

Diver

Now here’s a symbol you don’t see every day.

I discovered this old-fashioned diver’s carving after flipping through some of my archived photos and thought it would be fun to post. The headstone’s in Lakeview Cemetery up in Seattle, but unfortunately, I only zoomed in on the carving and not the name.

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