Several times in the last few months I've walked around Springfield Cemetery with Claudia Carman, a ninth grader from Glenelg High School, and her mother Karen.
We were looking for specific gravestones to photograph for Find A Grave, which is a website that has pictures of gravestones with information about the deceased from cemeteries around the world. Volunteers post photographs of gravestones to help genealogists who are searching for information on relatives in distant areas.
Claudia has been taking pictures for Find A Grave for more than a year, since she found the site while doing research on her ancestors. Pictures of their headstones had been posted on the website, so, to return the favor, Claudia and her mom started taking pictures of headstones in the local cemeteries. I tagged along with them on trips to Springfield Cemetery and the cemetery at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg.
Claudia has been interested in genealogy since she was in fifth grade, when her aunt created a large family tree of the Carman family for her father. Claudia was fascinated by the names of all the people who were related to her through her father, so she started doing her own research and has managed to discover additional information about her ancestors.
Claudia's most exciting find came after almost a year of researching her mother's family tree, when she stumbled upon information about the house that many generations of the Johnson family had lived in. Now a historical site, the house, located in Philadelphia, was in the midst of the Battle of Germantown in 1777, and was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Claudia was excited to learn that, "My own ancestors, the great-grandparents of my great-great grandfather, were conductors on the Underground Railroad. Before this discovery, I had not even suspected that I was related to conductors on the Underground Railroad."
During their next vacation she and many of her Johnson relatives took a tour of the Johnson house, and found out even more about it.
Claudia loves history, so being able to tie her ancestors to events that she has learned about in school makes the genealogy research more exciting. Her father's family arrived in New York from Northern Europe many generations ago, while her mother's family is an old Quaker family which has been traced back to the 1700's in the New Jersey area. She has discovered streets and towns which were named after the family.
Many of her relatives have been in this country for hundreds of years, but at least one ancestor entered through Ellis Island in 1920. Claudia hopes to continue photographing gravestones to help other people with their genealogy research so they can experience the excitement of discovering their ancestors.
Congratulations to Barry Enzman, Glenelg High School's band director, who was recognized by School Band and Orchestra Magazine in its 16th annual "50 Directors Who Make a Difference" article. Band and orchestra directors were nominated by readers, and one director per state was selected by the editorial staff of the magazine.
Because he was the director recognized for the state of Maryland, Enzman was honored at a ceremony in the Maryland State House last month. Enzman was asked about his proudest teaching moment, and responded, "My proudest moments are having former students write back to me after graduation and say that they have a true love of music, attend live concerts whenever they can, their kids are taking instruments in their schools, and that I made a difference in their lives."
He believes that, "The benefits of hard work, dedication, and commitment that are stressed in my program will bring them success in life no matter what career they pursue," and that enthusiasm is the key to a successful life.
Enzman has been teaching at Glenelg High School for 40 years, enthusiastically bringing music to life, and making a difference in the lives of countless students.