Teaching Preservation: Tracing My Family Roots

Posted on: April 7th, 2009 by Guest Writer 1 Comment

This week, my period of Research History took a field trip to the nearby Mark Cemetery. When we got there, we were greeted by a special guest speaker – my dad.


Research History in action (and finally in short sleeves) in Mark Cemetery.

That’s right; he’s a retired township trustee, and he met up with us to discuss the unique history of the cemetery and the people who are buried there, including members of my family.

Coincidence or what?

Come to find out, Mark Cemetery is where many of Fayette County’s first settlers are buried, and it is located right in the middle of where members of my family made their first homes here. In fact, they established their farms on what is now Staunton-Jasper Road and a housing development called Lake Wood Hills.

Our project that day started with taking measurements of the cemetery. We also sorted through the broken headstones located in the back corner of the property, which we pieced together and took pictures of so we could record the names and birth/death dates in our new cemetery record. In doing this, we actually discovered several broken headstones that had not been recorded in any previous databases.


Piecing together history.

Back at school, I created three separate spreadsheets for the headstones: one for graves that were accounted for on previous lists as well as my own; one for the new graves we found; and one for the graves included on previous lists that we could not locate. I also uploaded all of our headstone photos and organized them by where they were found and what condition they were in.

One of my projects for the remainder of this semester will be to make a scale map of the cemetery that brings all of this research together, including data and photos for each headstone.

This research obviously means a lot to me because of my family roots in the area, so I hope that you’ll stay tuned to our blog as my work progresses.

- Marci M.

Marci M. is a senior at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. For the remainder of this semester, she’ll be working with her Research History classmates on a variety of preservation projects, including documenting and preserving local cemeteries. Stay tuned as they share their experiences here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream.

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One Response

  1. Roy Mark

    May 6, 2009

    I would like to commend Marci M. for the work that she did at the Mark Cemetery. Although I am far from Fayette County, my roots go back to Washington Court House. My Great Great Great Grandfather, Peter Mark was an early settler of Fayette County and in fact is buried in Mark Cemetery (see: http://www.roy-mark.com/cemetery.htm). I would be very interested in seeing the data bases she has generated and exchanging information with her.

    Roy Mark