Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Queens of Do-Overs!

Some of my readers may have figured out by now that, like most family researchers, I love cemeteries. OK, I hear ya going, DUHHH! LOL

I love the county we live in.  Yes, I would rather be living on the road full time in Big Butt and Tana, at least for a few years, to quench this burning desire I have to see the USA.  That burning desire set aside, I love the cemeteries here in the county, love walking them, love learning about the history of them and the stories of the people that have lived, loved, died and are buried here.

Since we moved here in 1995 I have done some researching for others that cannot get here, as a "pay it forward" (and the occasional pay Carol, LOL).  I was the president of the local genie club for a few years, pay it forward.  While president of that club I became heavily involved in their cemetery project.  Goal, re-visit, re-walk, re-record all the cemeteries in our county (112 plus) and publish books. They want books, not Internet, books have lasted several hundred years, and as much as we all love the Internet, who knows what it's future may be.  They are more confident of books.  So, books we publish.  Our first volume was published in 2000, volume 7 is at the printer right now, awaiting proof approval, by, me.  Volume 8 is also just about finished.  And, it is from volume 8 that we get this story, a story of do-overs.

Mary is one of my typing Queens, she also loves walking cemeteries.   Our cemetery projects would not be where they are today without her.

Susan is my map fixer upper Queen.  I draw rough maps of the cemetery, the sections, the location of the cemetery on the roads, etc.  Susan takes my scribbles and turns them into clear, concise, works of art. See:

I am sorta the overseerer of the projects.  All finished work comes to me and I compile it into the final book, adding photos and histories of the cemeteries (the writing of a history of a cemetery takes me on wonderful, interesting journeys through the history of the county, to the courthouse in search of deeds, through many of our published histories, sometimes frustrating, but always interesting).

It should be noted that we have many other volunteers and helpers in these projects, without whom we could not continue, they offer support, shoulders to cry on, and hours of their own time.

But today, we are going to hear about the last week and the do-overs of Mary, Susan and Moi.

Mary and I re-walked the large cemetery in this township. We did it last summer in unbearable heat, even when we started early in the day it was hotter than hades. Neither one of us has much tolerance for heat. But, we worked at it for weeks, and managed to finally get it done. We took our working copy, prepared a few years ago by another one of the volunteers and re-walked the cemetery. We checked each headstone for placement IN the cemetery and for the inscription. We added new burials when found. We filled in dates, made corrections, and had lunch! Then Mary typed the entire thing, 155 pages, landscape.

Mary has a Mac, I have a PC.  The only way we can share files is via PDF, do we love PDF or what??  So, she sends me 10 pages of the final product at a time, I print, speed proof read, which means, I quickly glance at each page looking for something that is glaringly wrong.  Mary is GOOD, she is detail oriented, but, remember this is 155 pages, 13 columns of (possible) data for each entry.  We are talking OODLES of data here, lots of opportunity for typos.  I have found a few, only a few, and I am past page 100. 

Late last night, when I should have been doing something else, like resting, or reading, or playing solitaire, I was doing another 10 pages.  I found two errors that I wrote Mary about.  One error: we have a lady that was 120 years old at time of her death.  Hmmmm.  The other error was the typo of 190* for the death year.  Mary wrote me back this AM, quote:  "You do come up with the darndest stuff (:>)."  We are well on the way to figuring out and fixing the errors.  She has already fixed one page and sent me a new PDF file.  Thanks Mary.  Queen of do-overs.

Susan, my map queen, drew me these really nice maps for this same cemetery.  There are two maps for this cemetery.  One is the location map, the other is what we call the site map, shows a layout of the cemetery, sections, etc., and how we walked each section, as in "X" marks the spot, start here.  Each of the maps shows the main road, and somehow Susan got the name messed up.  She had 2 names for same road, Adrian and Monroe.  I wrote her and said, mmmmmm, our visitors will be confused.  She agreed!  LOL  Late last night while I was finding our 120 year old lady, Susan sent me a revised map, only, mmmmmm, Monroe street is still there and it should read Adrian.  I wrote her back, asked her if I was so tired my eyes did not read the words right.  This morning, Susan, re-did the map one more time, and sent it to me.  Yep, now it reads Adrian.  Queen of do-overs.

Last week I wrote over a index file for one of the other cemeteries in the township.  Yep, just wrote over it, gone, poof.  I was tired and not real happy about it, but, bit my lip, and redid the index.  Well, I thought I redid it.  Two days ago, I printed out the index, only to discover that it had formatting errors.  So, I went back to fix the file, and found that there were too many problems with the file, and, yep, you guessed, I had to do it over once again.  This was the third do over.  Finally fixed, now I joined the Queens of do-overs.

Yes, indeedy, Mary, Susan and I are Queens of Do-Overs.  But, we also laugh at ourselves along the way.  So, maybe we should be the "Smiling, Holding Our Sides While We Laugh Uncontrollably, Queens of Do-Overs"!

And, now, I return to proofing, editing, compiling, and hopefully for Susan and Mary, NO MORE DO-OVERS for this book! 

Thank you girls, for the laughs and the do-overs.

* Membership to the Queens (and Kings) of Do-Overs Club is open, new members gladly accepted.

** Crown clipart courtesy of Icons etc

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


Jo said...

I'm very impressed with all your hard work - your monumental inscriptions books will be a massive bonus to genies. I'm gradually buying all the Scottish ones that I can get my hands on :-) Jo

IrishEyes said...

Wow, I am in awe! I second what Jo said about the great value of your blood, sweat, and do-overs for fellow researchers. Thank You! your Royal Highnesses. Cheers! Jennifer

Barbara Poole said...

Carol, I am also impressed, although I knew about some of it and you've helped me, I didn't realize the scope of your work. It is about time you shared this with the blogging community and how nice that you gave your co-workers credit as well.

Carol said...

Jo, "monumental" is the best description, pun and all. To me, it is frequently over whelming.

IrishEyes, Your Royal Highnesses. Love it, I am sure Susan and Mary will as well.

Barbara, without my co-workers this would NOT be a project, I don't take credit for the idea, the scope. My co-workers keep it going, Mary, several times has kick started me when I just wanted to hang up the compiling tools and call it a day.

I will take credit for tossing all their work into the computer and coming up with something for the printer to publish. All the rest of the credit goes to loads of volunteers who have given hundreds and hundreds of hours to this project. They are leaving family researchers a small gift of their love of the county, family research and cemeteries.

I'll say one thing, when I am in a library using books compiled by people all across the USA and Canada, I thank them. Every book I open, I take a moment to thank them, acknowledging the hours and hours of their dedication and work, along with the hundreds of bug bites, the ocassional bee sting, and goodness forbid, twisted or broken ankles from all the critter holes. I am continually humbled by their efforts.

Nope, this is not about me, this is about giving back, and working with some of the greatest Queens in this county!

Greta Koehl said...

I am just awed at how much work goes into this. We have some volunteers here in Fairfax County who have also done some incredible work on cemetery books. To you, your associates, and your counterparts here in Fairfax and elsewhere: We are so grateful!

lindalee said...

Kudos to you and your crew Carol. I had no idea you also worked on publishing your graveyard work. I have found the genealogical society in Columbiana County, Ohio, who have also numerous books listing the tombstone inscriptions, to have been such a valuable resource when working on my maternal grandmother's branch. Thank you for all your hard work, Carol.