Published October 23, 2017

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Jim Snyder of Hollidaysburg has been helping locate Blair County cemeteries for years as part of the county genealogical society’s Grave Name and Location Project.

One of the saddest situations he has encountered is that of the Jeremiah Peck Cemetery in Taylor Township.

Unfortunately, where the Peck cemetery was supposed to be, his team found only a farm field.

Snyder then used the Pennsylvania Geological Survey’s Penn Pilot online library of digital aerial maps in an attempt to pin down when the cemetery disappeared.

The cemetery was visible in 1938 but gone from the next aerial survey in 1958.

It’s a terrible fact that many “farm cemeteries” have been plowed under over the years (some were never deeded and therefore easy to make “disappear” but the Peck cemetery was officially set aside in the 1870s and had burials as late as 1935).

It took a few years for the current property owners – who bought the land long after 1958 – to acknowledge that there was once a cemetery there and Snyder says no markers have been found.

Information about the cemetery and known burials is now listed on the website Find A Grave. “Now the problem is no money for upkeep and no access as the cemetery is in the middle of the field,” Snyder says.

We can only hope that shining a light on a situation such as this will cut down on the number of cemeteries that are made to disappear!

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When he’s not trying to undo damage to old graveyards, Snyder is the corresponding secretary of the Blair County Genealogical Society, and he’s been keeping your “Roots & Branches” columnist up to date about the society’s library resources.

In response to column on changes to the genealogical indexing world, Snyder noted that the society’s online index of newspapers, Blair County marriages, veterans and naturalizations has surpassed 600,000 names. The society’s website is found at the URL, http://bcgslibrary.org/index.php

Snyder also said the society has added more shelving to library (which is the repository for many older Blair County records) and now boasts nearly 6,000 feet of shelving. And I’ll admit that it didn’t quite sink in how much space that is until Snyder told me again: “Did I mention that we just added more shelving in the library and can now boast more than 1 mile of shelving?”

The society’s library, 431 Scotch Valley Road, Hollidaysburg, is free and open to the public. It’s renowned as Pennsylvania’s largest genealogical collection between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.