Lewes Database Maps Out Gravestones Across Cape Region - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes Database Maps Out Gravestones Across Cape Region

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Database includes more than 8,500 gravestones across the cape region (Source: WBOC) Database includes more than 8,500 gravestones across the cape region (Source: WBOC)
In analyzing history, every answer creates new questions. Take this gravestone for Elizabeth Cullen, which says she was born on February 30th, which doesn't exist (Source: WBOC) In analyzing history, every answer creates new questions. Take this gravestone for Elizabeth Cullen, which says she was born on February 30th, which doesn't exist (Source: WBOC)
Margaret Huling was born in 1631, the earliest gravestone in the area. (Source: WBOC) Margaret Huling was born in 1631, the earliest gravestone in the area. (Source: WBOC)

LEWES, Del. - There's certainly no shortage of history in eastern Sussex County, and one clear indicator of this is the amount of historic cemeteries in the region. And helping to find these cemeteries is the goal of a database created by the Lewes Historical Society. Soon that database, which already has more than 8,500 gravestones listed, will go one step further with the creation of a brand new web site that will connect each name to a photo, and map it out using GPS coordinates. 

Executive Director for the society Mike DiPaolo joined WBOC at the St. Peter's Church in downtown Lewes to explain the program, which was first created in 2003. 

"This cemetery has stones that are 309 years old," he said. "The town has been around since 1631 more or less. And there's kind of a gravity. You know - you can just feel it. And when you're here, your surrounded by it, and your surrounded literally by the people who made the history here."

At that one cemetery, gravestones are inscribed with dates like 1753 and 1631, illustrating the historic nature. DiPaolo said making these pieces of history more accessible would be the main benefit for the public. 

"Being able to see these cemeteries," she said. "And these individual stones in a map format that we're used to today online will help, I hope, people understand how this area developed."
     
The current database has been online for years, but DiPaolo said the experience will be even more rewarding once the updated site is unveiled. This site will allow visitors to search by more detailed characteristics. He also said that it would use the GPS coordinates to map it out, much like real estate websites map out houses for sale. 

DiPaolo said the society eventually plans to expand the database to other nearby areas, such as the Indian River and Broadkill districts. 

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