Off the Beaten Track

For the last several years, I’ve been meaning to take a little side trip to find whatever might be left of the Bush Creek Friends burial ground in Monrovia, a tiny little railroad crossing in Frederick County, Maryland. At some point in its history, it was a thriving little town and the local Quakers sought permission to establish a meeting there. Ultimately, the meeting house, which was located very close to the railroad tracks, burned to the ground and due to the dwindling membership, the meeting was laid down. The burial ground itself is still there, though not exactly the easiest place to find.

I knew, from old atlases, roughly where it should be, but without the aid of one of the neighbors in the area, I don’t know if I would have realized where it was.

Buck Creek Burial Ground

From the track

As you come down Green Valley Road and pass under the old railroad bridge, there is an old house, right after the bridge. If you turn into the old road just past that house and follow it to the sharp bend in the road where it starts to turn back toward the main road, you will see an old crossing point over the train tracks. Once you cross the tracks  and head to the right, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the grounds up in the woods.

When I first stepped into the woods, it looked like there might just be a few stones in the area, but once I walked up into the clearing, it was obvious that it was a much bigger area than I had thought. The yard is very overgrown with various plantings and quite a few of the stones are toppled but it does not look like there has been that much vandalism, or, if so, they have been far tidier than most vandals. Most of the stones are fairly easy to read, and there are some very nice slate stones that are very clear.

In The Clearing

In the clearing

Because so many of the stones are hidden in the undergrowth, I was only able to photograph about about 20 of them, but in the next few days, I’ll be adding those that I can identify to the main site under Frederick county. Since the Bush Creek meeting was part of the Pipe Creek Monthly meeting at one point, some of the records are gathered under Pipe Creek’s records. And at least some of those records were extracted by Harry Peden a number of years ago, so I have somewhere to start on the search.

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What’s Out There?

Part of the reason that I’ve gone to the trouble of creating websites for my genealogy projects is out of disgust at some of the sites that are out there currently. There simply has to be a better way to do things than what is being done by many of these sites, and it shouldn’t really be that difficult to do. So, why are there so many really bad examples out there?

I’m not really talking about those sites that are created by individuals as their own personal sites, but rather those that are part of one of the large projects, such as the USGenWeb Project (hereinafter referred to as USGW). Actually, many of those personal sites are far better than what is found on the USGW. Isn’t that interesting?

I used to recommend that USGW to folks who were looking for their roots, though I rarely do so anymore, because, frankly, many of the pages are so poorly maintained that I’m too embarrassed by them to suggest that anyone should go to them for information. This is not to say that all of the USGW sites are that bad, as many of them are quite well done, but the ones that are bad seem to really be bad.

One of the most glaring examples I could point to right now belongs to the State Coordinator of the state for that particular site’s county – on one single page for personal websites related to the area, there were 12 broken links out of the first 20 I checked and one of the links was a political page for the coordinator herself. Tacky! Another page for the local townships had at least 10 links that were broken before I gave up checking. And there’s a menu bar on some of  the pages that forces you to scroll horizontally to read it, which is annoying in the extreme. And yet, this site is part of a Project that supposedly has quality standards that are supposed to be upheld. Hmmm.

Ah, a slight update: about an hour after I first posted this, the site in question appears to be in the process of being updated. On the page with the personal sites, the political page link has gone and the other links have been re-organized. There aren’t as many links now, but there are still plenty that are broken.

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