Hidden behind two private residences is a historical treasure whose mysteries are waiting to be unlocked. The girls and I worked on a project with my DAR chapter to create a map of the Asbury Methodist African American Cemetery. To date, our DAR volunteers spent over 300 hours doing genealogical research on the people who are buried in the cemetery.
|The gate to the cemetery is behind the ruins of the church foundation.|
Margaret Bruner was a third-generation free woman and land holder who worked a farm with her husband. Her great-great-great-granddaughter traveled from Denver to join us for the afternoon to help with the project. She said that she is proud about what we have uncovered about her family's past.
Many of the unmarked graves are hidden by stones and weeds, so we used metal detectors to try to locate them. Natalia said that we are "history detectives."
Finally, we took precise measurements between stones or points where metal was detected in order to make a detailed map.
Our work will serve to help map the past for African Americans who wish to conduct genealogical research, a task that is often challenging. Birth, death, marriage and census records are not always readily available. Papers giving a slave his or her freedom are a helpful tool in tracing individuals and proving relationships, but they are only one piece of the puzzle.
This project is a work in progress and I hope to learn more as we continue in the quest to map the past.