Congratulations to Terry Love our featured volunteer of the month for July, 2021! We’d like to recognize Terry for his work in New Zealand and not only for documenting the locations of marked graves but also many unmarked graves in cemeteries.
Terry’s had a lifelong interest in cemeteries and graving. Recently he came across a photo that he took when he was about 10 years old, a black and white photo of a soldier’s grave. He also happened upon a notebook from 1977 which included his notes and drawings from that time. It immediately brought back the memories of drawing the headstones and the writing down the inscriptions from graves in the remote Whanganui River area.
Funny story, as a teenager, when long hair and jeans were the fad, he was enjoying an afternoon looking at graves at a nearby churchyard and the police came to question him. It turned out that an overly concerned citizen had called saying that there was a suspicious person in the graveyard!
Terry has worked on his family tree for much of his adult life and that’s how he got his start on Find a Grave® many years ago. The first few memorials that he added to the site were all family members. As he was researching and photographing he came across information on the burial of his third great-grandfather, John Love. Terry discovered that he was buried in Bolton Street Cemetery in an unknown grave. While researching the cemetery he also found that 3,500 graves were disinterred in the 1960s and re-interred together in a vault on the cemetery grounds. This was done to make way for the Wellington Motorway in the 1960s. Many of those graves were early settlers of Wellington, as was his third great-grandfather. He wanted to make sure that those people were remembered and recorded. This spurred him on and this cemetery became his first big project on Find a Grave. Terry and a few other members have researched lives of the people who are buried there, created memorials, and photographed headstones. He worked with the sexton of the cemetery to find any existing older photographs of the headstones for those that were disinterred, such as the one pictured here for the grave of Rev. Bache Wright Hartley.
Due to Terry and a few other members, especially S. Melton and Scooter T, Bolton Street Cemetery is now largely documented and those that were disinterred have been added to Find a Grave.
For Terry, there is always more to do at another cemetery whether it is photographing headstones in beautiful scenery, putting together headstone puzzles, or taking picturesque photos. He can always find more projects and activities to enjoy.
One of the greatest satisfactions is linking many World War I soldiers who died overseas back to their parents in New Zealand. I also add small biographies, or “cuttings” from old newspapers, where possible. Lately, with the aid of an early map and burial lists from the “Friends of Bolton Street Cemetery,” I have been photographing many unmarked graves. I feel it helps remember people long forgotten. I also enjoy taking photos of the same plot in different seasons or different light conditions. Another project is documenting Porirua Cemetery near my house, with over 3,500 burials, and the resting place for over 2,000 former patients of the Porirua Psychiatric Hospital. Special thanks to member Kieran Williams for helping. My other great joy is taking photographs for other people. I like to take a close up, and then two distance shots at different angles. The Find a Grave Mobile app has really been helpful for this! For me, Find a Grave and cemeteries help with a sense of history, and place in time. Cemeteries can bring a sense of peace, and an acceptance of our own mortality.
Our accolades to you for your extraordinary work in cemeteries! We are so glad that you are a Find a Grave member and appreciate all your efforts in recording and memorializing those that have passed.
We welcome your suggestions for Volunteer of the Month. If you’d like to submit a volunteer for consideration in future months, please send an email with details of their work to firstname.lastname@example.org.