An anonymous man who has been leaving biographical information on graves in Nova Scotia says his unusual hobby is driven by a curiosity about the people buried in cemeteries.
About six months ago, typed letters in zipper bags began to mysteriously appear on grave sites at least half a dozen cemeteries in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The letters contain information about the deceased person’s past and family history.
“I often drive by and all you see is stones,” said the man, who appeared in silhouette on Canada AM to remain anonymous. “You don’t know nothing about them or who they are and I just thought I would give some information about some of the people that’s in there.”
The mystery man has been leaving notes on random graves that are at least 50 years old. Some of them are dated as far back as the 1800s. The information on the letters detail the person’s occupation, marital status and information about their family members and is available on the public record.
“My understanding is he goes to a cemetery and walks through it and picks out a name and then goes and does the research and comes back and puts the information there,” museum genealogist Cathy Margeson told CTV Halifax.
A few workers at the Kings County Museum in Kentville, N.S. said that they were aware of the identity of the man as he often does research there, but have honoured his wishes to remain anonymous.
“I think this person has an avid interest in genealogy and I have a pretty good feeling that (this person) is hoping to get people to take an interest in their own family history,” museum researcher Crystal Merret told CTV Halifax.
The man confirmed his interest in history and genealogy, which is the study of one’s ancestors, yet even his family and friends are unaware of his unusual hobby.
“My goal wasn’t to put the attention on me,” said the man, who according to a museum employee is between 40 and 60 years of age. “It was for the research done for the people, not me. That’s why I really wanted to keep it hidden as much as I can.”
Museum workers say the mysterious man has sparked a renewed interest among people curious to know about their ancestors.
“The feeling I get is that they’re pleased to see that someone is taking an interest in this and kind of honouring the memory of their ancestors,” Merret said.
This feedback has also reached the mysterious man who intends to continue unearthing people’s pasts.
“I got a few reports back that they’re delighted to know that someone’s done something that they might not have known about the family, so I think it’s good.”
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