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AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - Nova Scotia

Again this year a stranger is doing unusual things in Nova Scotia cemeteries. It happened last year and was in
the news. To the surprise of genealogists near and far, this person, who remains anonymous, visited different
graves and left behind plastic bags containing genealogy information.

According to news reports, the enthusiastic genealogist visited cemeteries in Kings County, chose headstones at
random, gathered information on the individuals buried there and attached it to a stick beside it. Contained in wa-
terproof bags were typed sheets with census data and other genealogical information.

Those encountering the mysterious bags were instructed to, “ Open me, but put me back, thank you.” In this
way, everyone who visited that particular stone could read a bit of history on those buried there.

It was reported that the reason the anonymous person was doing this was to bring attention to the historical and
genealogical significance of cemeteries. In the broader picture, it might inspire others to learn about those buried
in the cemeteries, the cemeteries themselves and the history of the local community.

This writer thinks it is a great idea. A researcher herself for many years, she thought it would be interesting to
see what another might learn about a particular family member. She is sure it might impress and surprise those
who have never considered researching their family tree to find information about the ancestors that they may
have otherwise not known. Imagine if everyone who visited a cemetery transcribed one headstone, then spent a lit-
tle time gathering information from census, vital records and other sources, then left it behind for others to find.
The cemeteries would hold an incredible amount of historical data. This may be a little much as the bags and paper
would become litter. Perhaps if the process was done and information deposited at the local museum, historical so-
ciety or archives, then a wealth of information could be obtained and preserved. A notice at the cemetery could di-
rect interested parties to the location where the information is kept. A few bags in the cemetery would generate in-
terest and inspire others. Anyone is considering a similar random act of genealogy should also include the sources
where the information was found. It will give anyone interested a place to start.
Source of information—Kings County Record Aug. 7, 2007 “Roots to the Past” Column by Diana Lynn Tibert

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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