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Monday, June 15, 2009

The Host Church

A couple years ago I bought a book on the history of the Host Church (1727-1975) which is within sight of our house. The book is out of print so I paid a nice price for it. I decided to get a little more milage out of it by listing it on a Berks County website with an offer to do lookups from the cemetery record. I have been able to help a few people find missing ancestors but most of the requests I get are for names not found in my book. The record for the old cemetery on the south side of the church is online but the "new" one on the north side of the church (begun in 1858) is not.
When my ideas changed on what I might do this month, I decided this is a good time to get that new cemetery record online. I started last Monday and worked at it off and on all week. I finally finished it this morning. I walked down to the cemetery twice to verify some things in the book that were obviously incorrect (such as the 38th day of the month). There are now 1,554 burials at Host listed on the FindAGrave website. Whew! I don't think I will tackle another project like that any time soon.
There have been many more burials in that cemetery since the book was printed in 1975. Add to that number the burials in the older cemetery and there must be over 2000 people buried at Host. I knew it was a large cemetery but had no idea it contained that many graves. I was reminded of Leo Tolstoy's story, How Much Land Does a Man Need? A lot of people fit in an acre or two of land when they are laid side by side and each one uses only six feet!
Why did I go to all the trouble to put this cemetery list online? I figured it will be more profitable for people to look for their relatives themselves than for me to look for just one or two names in my book. From now on, when I get a lookup request I can simply send the person the link to the websites where the cemetery listings are found. It took me a week to do this, but it will save me time in the end and be more productive for the researchers.

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