Welcome to my graving blog.
My name is Shanna Riley (aka skatoolaki) and I’ve loved cemeteries and graveyards since childhood. The hobby of graving, which suited me perfectly, I discovered after stumbling upon the Find A Grave website while looking for a place to memorialize online a friend who had recently died.
I am always trying to find the graves of my ancestors - most of whom are interred in the Avoyelles Parish or Pointe Coupee Parish areas. When I find family members, I add them to Find A Grave and to my ancestry website, Louisiana Lineage.
I created this blog to share my hobby with others who might enjoy the same. I spend a good deal of my free time “graving” - going to cemeteries, taking photos, and recording information. Sometimes I just go for the pleasure of going - no camera or notepad. My experiences have been interesting, disturbing, intriguing, but always fun.
For more, you can also read my first post: I Grave, Therefore I Am.
Why I Grave
Graving, as I define it, is the pastime or hobby of viewing and/or recording the information from headstones in cemeteries and mausoleums for pleasure or record-keeping purposes. The term comes from the website community of Find A Grave, which is a free, user-contributed grave database and record of over forty million graves - famous and non-famous - worldwide.
Personally, I have been enjoying cemeteries since my earliest memories - which often involved four generations of women in my Cajun family traveling out to Plaucheville and Bayou Jack, Louisiana to bring flowers to and tend the graves of deceased family members for All Saint’s Day. As the grown-ups cleaned, my siblings and I spent hours playing around the graves. In so doing, I learned a deep appreciation and respect for the forever silenced men, women, and children buried beneath mounds of cold dirt, a name and some dates all that were left to tell the story of their lives.
I find cemeteries peaceful, serene places; my time there always leaves me feeling more aware of my life and the people in it, and is a gentle reminder not to ever take anything for granted. The storyteller in me finds graveyards to be treasure troves of tales just waiting to be told; forgotten lives ready to be brought back into existence again whether through fact or fiction, truth or imagination.