I have this fascination with cemeteries. It’s nothing creepy or evil. Ever since I was young, I’ve always found them as mysterious and interesting, almost like looking directly into the local history. When I was younger, we used to sled down a large hill at our local cemetery in the winter (don’t worry, we weren’t near any headstones.)
Once I started to get into genealogy, my research has taken me to many cemeteries in search of the final resting places of my ancestors. They’re all interesting in their own ways, some more than others. You get a feel of the history of the area by just looking at the surnames and types of headstones. Large headstones may mean that it was someone of importance or wealth. A group of small headstones with children’s names on them may indicate a rash of disease.
The cemeteries that I enjoy the most are the older ones, which are usually nestled within old, towering trees. For some reason, it gives it a almost quiet, spooky feel to it. It’s usually very peaceful. I enjoy the cemeteries with a little character instead of the newer, cookie-cutter types. I’m not a huge fan of the wide-open cemeteries that are next to a busy road. It always feels like people are watching me, the weird guy in the cemetery taking photos. Fortunately, there are many of these older cemeteries in the area I live in. I sometimes just visited them to capture their “beauty” with my camera and to pay a visit to those that are no longer around.
My all-time favorite cemetery, as of now, is Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee. It’s so massive and it sits within the trees that it feels peaceful even though you’re inside of the city. It’s also home to many of the area’s most-famous citizens. Other cool cemeteries in the area of St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Washington and St. Francis-Borgia Cemetery in Cedarburg.
I put a few of my images up on Flickr (feel free to comment on them), but I do have many more. I used to have a website up called “Southeastern Wisconsin Cemeteries,” but I haven’t had time to put it back up. It listed descriptions, info, photos and links to transcriptions for the local cemeteries.
Do you enjoy visiting cemeteries for your research and are there any cemeteries you enjoy?