Interment frequency and generations in Calvary Cemetery, Seattle.

While an undoubtedly morbid thing to study, death and how culture handles death is an exceptionally interesting source of information about any culture. Using our recent Graveyard Lab and a chart of internments, we can see some very interesting information regarding the use of this specific cemetery, its growth and how these match up with events, both local and global.

This chart details the number of internments in five year increments from 1875 to 2010. In our collection we separated into each of the 5 primary areas of the cemetery and chose randomly 30 interments. What can be seen is that the period from 1900-1920 saw the largest spike of internments in the cemetery, followed by another increase in interments between 1936 and 1950. At first, I was tempted to believe that the first spike of internments was a result of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, until I noticed another spike at 2006 to 2010. The last spike, could be considered the Baby Boomer spike, a generationally motivated increase in interment, and upon closer inspection, the vast majority of internments between 1900 and 1920 take place before the pandemic would have occurred, leading me to believe that this increase in deaths is related to a post-Civil War baby boom, similar to the spike being witnessed in the modern era with the Boomer generation.
As for the 1936 to 1950 spike, I do not know of any regional, generational or cultural event that would culminate in this spike, and our data does not indicate that this is a group of soldiers who were interred in this period. It could be a result of the rationing and other life stressors that were occurring at this period due to American involvement in the war, but without further research, this question will remain unanswered.

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