Brian Sexton didn’t know what he was working on when he decided to digitize the Friedens Cemetery for the Eagle Scout project.
He had a general idea of the process he was experiencing and estimated that it would take two years. Given that a pandemic occurred during the project, it took about six months longer than his estimate.
Sexton, a member of Longswamp Loop 5757, sponsored by Mertztown’s Longswamp UCC, said:
The Friedens Cemetery in Olay has 3,000 cemeteries dating back to 1805.
For Sexton, it meant transferring records of about 5,000 people buried there, which were stored on faded notebook cards and documented on cardboard-mounted maps. He entered the information into a spreadsheet and then into a database.
Sexton wanted to digitize the records and map the graveyard so that visitors could scan the QR code on their mobile phones to find the grave. He started the project at Brandywine Heights High School as a 14-year-old freshman. He is now a senior.
Even those who oversaw such projects were worried that it would take him so long that he would lose interest, his mother, Sherry Sexton, said.
He played multiple sports and suppressed part-time work. He ended earlier this year with the encouragement of his parents and a group of advisors, including two Kutztown University professors to help him understand the technology.
As he went deeper into the project, Sexton had to go to the graveyard board and sort out any conflicting information he found.
He also had to raise money to pay for subscriptions to computers, printers, and mapping services. He sold a wooden snowman and apple dumplings made with the help of his family.
Donations will be paid over a three-year period of server software and the online service of ArcGIS, an online geographic information system service.
Sexton spent a great deal of time counting the scanned graveyard records on his computer as a digital backup. The data was then used as a rough database and provided the basis for documenting thousands of graveyard plots.
Next, I helped my fellow Scouts and their families take pictures of the next step: all the tombstones and plots. Approximately 20 volunteers each wore clipboards, data recording sheets, pens, cameras, and light meals to collect data from 14 acres of graveyards.
Each volunteer was asked to photograph and write down all the details on the tombstone (section number, name, date of birth, Masonic lodge, army, etc.).
Second, the most time-consuming part was in Sexton. He took all this handwritten data, verified it against the graveyard records, and added it to the database.
As he progressed, the family reaffirmed about 4,000 entries following his work.
The oldest tomb is the A62, the tomb of Laura Schlotmann, born in 1804 and died in 1805.
Sarah Schlotmann, who died in 1827 at the age of 5, is also buried. Hannah Schlotmann, who died in 1860 at the age of 91, and Alexander Schlotmann, who died in 1845 at the age of 86.
Sexton is said to have exceeded his expectations for the project. It was an important project to say that his mother grew out of a connection with Frieden’s United Church of Christ.
“The results help the community,” he said. “Now anyone can easily find relatives.”
To view a map of Frieden’s Cemetery: https://arcg.is/1mDP0b1.
Teens create a digital map of a historic cemetery
Source link Teens create a digital map of a historic cemetery