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A Ghostly Motivation

by David Podmajersky
February 6, 2001

Sometimes it's just "meant to be". As David recalls, it didn't hit him until later on, something led him to record that cemetery.

I started into the genealogy webmastering thing some time ago but never really had a focus. It's sort of silly that I had no direction since I live in a town that was settled in the 1600s, There's a ton of great information around.

So I started to photograph and transcribe local cemeteries. I stuck with the ones that I had seen on my travels around town. There's still tons to do at these and in particular one will take just about my entire life to complete. But over the past summer I was visiting this large one every weekend taking thousands of pictures when I believe I was haunted for the first time.

When I discussed my haunting with my wife, we came to the conclusion that someone was telling me to stop spending so much time in that particular cemetery and visit some others. So I did and that work has been very satisfying but I still had this feeling that I was meant to work on some other cemeteries.

To step back for a second, I am not really a ghost person per se. I refer to myself as a ghost agnostic in the sense that I've never seen any and I don't know anything about ghosts, spirits, etc. My wife, on the other hand, is very atuned to the spiritual side of things. We moved into our house a couple years ago and she feels there are some old spirits kicking around the place. She says she has seen some unexplained shadows and every so often a door is knocked open. This past Christmas we had my family over for dinner and my sister witnessed the unexplained shadow thing. My wife let her know that this was nothing out of the ordinary and explained about the things she had seen.

Over the past weekend, someone e-mailed me asking me to try to locate a particular cemetery in which some of their ancestors had likely been interred. So I ran out to the store and purchased a very detailed map. I wasn't able to locate the particular cemetery but I'll keep trying until I do. I was flipping through the map looking at my town when I happened to notice a very small cemetery I had never known listed. I told my wife I was going out for a while to locate the place since I had no idea there was anything there. Lo and behold I found this half acre of very heavily wooded land which had some headstones. So I went home and planned to return the next day with my camera.

The next day I was discussing this with my wife when she noted that the cemetery was very close to our house but across a major highway. We mused that perhaps our ghosts were interred there or perhaps our property is situated on their old farmstead. I went out, photographed the few stones that were visible, transcribed them, and posted a listing on my site last night. This morning I received an e-mail which read as follows:

"For years I've been searching for my 3rd great grandfather's grave. You just found it for me and I thank you for taking the photo also. You have provided me with so much valuable information and each folder now has a photo of the family member's headstone, thanks to you."

This was very gratifying and pretty cool to say the least. My wife and I speculated that this might be part of the "calling" I had been feeling. We wondered if this person might have been reaching out to their descendant who was seeking them and used me to make the connection. Later, my wife was talking to her mother on the phone, telling her the story. My mother-in-law told my wife that she should "ask for a sign" to know whether we were compelled to bring these folks together. My wife said "sure, sure sounds like an idea, but I think I'll take a pass on that". Just then our garage door opened of its own volition!

Now I'm pretty much convinced that this chain of events was supposed to happen. Sometimes we feel compelled to do things or have a "calling" that we just can't explain. I know I often try to push these feelings out of my head but whenever I yield to them, good things seem to happen. There are no giant miracles in my daily life but I am convinced that there are a lot of little ones. I just have to be open to hearing them!

- David Podmajersky

David is an avid genealogist, cemetery recordist, and is the creator of "DistantCousin.com", a website to help people locate distant relatives. You can contact him at: taxpod@yahoo.com

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