"History From The Ground Up" is the tag line for my blog because to me that's what grave hunting is all about. I love collecting Los Angeles cemetery ephemera, including books, photos, postcards, brochures and maps. I use them when I'm out and about to compare the then and now aspect of the property I'm exploring.
California became a state in 1850 and state legislative acts concering cemeteries were not enacted until 1854. According to historian Sue Silver in her article History of California Cemetery Laws at USGenNet:
The first cemetery related law was intended to provide protection of the state's earliest burying grounds, and to ensure that those who would desecrate them in any way, would be severely punished. The 1854 act also provided the first definition of what was considered by the State to be a "public grave-yard." In Section 4 of the 1854 act, any place where six dead bodies had been buried was "declared" to be a "public grave-yard."
By comparison to eastern colonial states and other countries, 160 years isn't quite as ancient as far as history goes. But enough time has gone by, and enough changes have occurred to keep it interesting.
On a recent visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, I brought along a copy of the book 100 Years in the Life of Forest Lawn by Laura Kath, published in 2006 to commemorate the cemetery's centennial. I also brought along my video camera to do a sample Then & Now report to test the waters on adding multi-media to my blog.
Here's my result:
Videotaping and narrating at the same time is obviously not my forte so far, kinda like walking and chewing gum, ha. But I think this gives you an idea of what it's like to stand at the site of a memorial and compare it to a photograph that was taken many years ago and under very different cirumstances.
If you'd like to see other videos of grave hunting with a historical twist, I recommend watching my fellow cemetery enthusiast Josh Perry's YouTube channel at GraveHunterGuy.