Great Barrington — Memorial Day is just around the corner and what better way to prepare for it than by thumbing through the new digital catalogue of war veterans’ graves in Great Barrington?
That’s just what a group of veterans and town officials did Monday morning (May 15) at the Mason Library, as a new system for researching and locating information about veterans was unveiled by the Great Barrington Historical Commission.
“I think this is a great benefit to anybody who’s interested in the vets that have come long before us that most of us, except if we have relatives generations back, we really didn’t know about,” said Andy Moro, the town’s veterans’ graves officer and commander of American Legion Murphy-Leary Post 298 in Housatonic.
The Veterans Grave Book was a project compiled by the U.S. Works Progress Administration during the 1930s. It includes details about veterans’ graves in all of Great Barrington’s town cemeteries.
The Great Barrington book includes fascinating details about many of the veterans, from the Revolutionary War through 1938, along with illustrations of each gravestone, and a locator map for each grave. Additionally, a few Civil War veterans who served the Confederate States of America and who are buried in Great Barrington are also listed in the volume.
“Following many months of research, study and discussion, the commission hired Chicago Albumen Works of Housatonic to scan each page of the book and convert each page to searchable PDF files,” explained noted local historian Gary Leveille, who is also a member of the Great Barrington Historical Commission. “Now the entire book, which weighs over four pounds, is viewable and searchable via keywords and names.”
Also on hand for the viewing were Mike Murphy, past commander of the Adams-Budz District 9 VFW Post in Housatonic, Selectman Ed Abrahams, Town Planner Chris Rembold, Police Chief Bill Walsh and regional veterans’ agent Laurie Hils.
Library Director Amanda M. DeGiorgis said patrons can access the files on a computer in the Local History Room. Click here to see when the library is open.
At this point there are no plans to put the catalogue online because the library’s website isn’t sufficiently advanced to host and display the data.
“Ask a librarian, and we’ll be happy to help you,” DeGiorgis added.