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How and why did this site come to be?
Many years ago, browsing in the biography section of the MSU Library, I came across an edition of the Biographical Directory of the American Congress (more recently retitled Biographical Directory of the United States Congress), which gives a little squib on everyone who had ever served in the U.S. House or Senate, as Vice President, or in the Continental Congress. I was intrigued to see that the specific place of burial was given for just about every deceased member. A few minutes' work revealed that eleven of Michigan's U.S. Senators were buried in Detroit's Elmwood Cemetery. The directory was a fabulous treasure trove of information about historic cemeteries in all parts of the country, across every period of U.S. history; I wished there was some way to organize the data by place of burial.
I didn't have the time or resources to do much with it back then, but starting in 1996, with help from Iain O'Cain, and later from Paul Haas, I was able to convert this information into a Web resource.
But the idea for the site didn't just spring into being fully formed. It evolved from what is now my historic cemetery links page. It happened partly because I'm a database guy, and my first instinct when faced with any problem is to create a database. I also hoped to promote appreciation and preservation of historic cemeteries. The project is also a serendipitous overlap of many of my interests: in architecture, in politics, in history, in geographic variation, in place names, in personal names, and of course in cemeteries.