Cogill was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. While talking to her doctors about how genetics may play a part, she recalled that some of her older relatives also suffered from epileptic seizures. Her doctor advised finding information about these other relatives so as to better diagnose her own problems.
With help from cemeteries in New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, Cogill tracked down the final resting places of her epileptic great-aunt, her paternal grandparents, maternal great-grandparents and two sets of great-great-great grandparents. Then she contacted the Hollywood Memorial Park and Cemetery in Union, New Jersey.
A few weeks later, Cogill received a letter back. It said the cemetery would be happy to assist her for an upfront fee of $70 for the first person and $45 for each additional person. That seems excessive for for the 12 relatives she knows are buried or interred at Hollywood.
"The charges to search these records are preposterous," Cogill said.
Because of publicity generated and Deborah Cogill's persistance, the Hollywood Memorial Park and Cemetery has now agreed to a lower price. However, one has to wonder how many other cemeteries have similar fees?
You can read the details in the NJ.com web site, along with some comments from Jim Tipton, founder of FindAGrave.com, at http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2009/12/nj_womans_search_for_relatives.html.
My thanks to David Green for telling me about this story.