A local author has recently completed two books on local cemeteries to help preserve the history in the area as well as help those who may be interested in finding out where their ancestors are located.
Michele Miller, of New Paris, said that she grew up in Chaneysville in Southampton Township, and started documenting the cemeteries in the area with her great aunt. They created a book for the local historical society which was sold at the society. Later, it was made available on Amazon.
“I had started digging into my grandfather’s family and I found it interesting and it just kind of took off from there,” she said.
Once she completed that book, she went on to write books on the one-room schools and veterans in the area, as well as the cemeteries in Flintstone, Maryland and unmarked graves in Southampton Township.
Last year, Miller released a book on the cemeteries in West Providence Township, and earlier this year she released a book on the cemeteries of Mann Township.
She said that the books include a variety of cemeteries including farm cemeteries, church cemeteries and other more well known cemeteries.
“I went through some of the cemeteries. I did an outline of the township, and I pinpointed all of the cemeteries on the map and then they are in alphabetical order.
“I give the GPS coordinates and address,” she said of the information included in the books, and added that there are photos and cemetery listings and some also have maps. There are also notations of those who served in the military, plots that may not have markers and documentation of cemeteries that may have been moved or are now difficult to find.
Miller said that note pages are included for those who may want to add their own personal information while they visit the cemeteries.
She added that she feels preserving the history for the future generation is important.
“When the older generation dies, I think that there’s a library of information that’s gone, it’s wiped out. And I think that these books that I’ve done, it ensures that everybody lives on and they’ll be remembered for generations. I think that the people that are buried in these cemeteries, I think that they’re very rural cemeteries and I think that these are the people that helped shape and make all these townships what they are today,” Miller said.
Miller said that while libraries and historical societies do as much as they can to preserve local heritage, disasters such as flooding and fire can be a threat to this information and preserving the information in these books can also help make it more accessible outside of the area because they are available online.
Miller said that her next Bedford County book will be on the cemeteries of Monroe Township.