The city of Pullman is working on a map and application to help tell at least part of the history of the thousands of people buried in the city’s cemeteries.
The application, called Journeys to Pullman, allows the user to see a map showing where every interred person was born, when they were born and when they died.
Sam Jenkins, Pullman’s geographic information system mapping administrator, is developing the app that will be made public after it has undergone review and revision by the city.
Jenkins said the idea came about after he was tasked with helping the city staff manage grave and burial data.
“However, as I was pouring over the cemetery data I noticed the various places of birth in the database and began to ponder about the life stories of those buried in the cemetery,” Jenkins wrote in an email to the Daily News.
Jenkins, who immigrated to the U.S. from Australia, became curious about how these people ultimately ended up in Pullman.
“Being a geographer, my first inclination is to put it on a map, so I did,” he said.
The map can be found at this website: bit.ly/3wfD8jV.
According to the website, there have been approximately 5,000 burials in the cemeteries of Pullman. Of those, some 4,000 have a place of birth associated with the interred remains.
The map, or “story map” as Jenkins calls it, was made with a technique called geocoding. In geocoding, an algorithm takes the burial records and matches them with a location on a map.
Of those thousands of people buried in the city, 690 were born in Pullman.
Most people born outside the country were from Canada or Europe, but the map shows people came from across the globe. A variety of countries such as China, Russia, Japan and Kenya are represented as well.
The website also displays data organized by the counties the people were born in and their date of birth.
There are still some questions geocoding cannot solve. According to the website, records show that John Franklin Carver, who died in 1931, was born at sea during an unknown year. Alma Viola Peacock, who died in 1948, was born in Elena, Kan., a place that no longer exists. The map shows she was born in Elenak, Marshall Islands, in 1887, but that is unlikely.
To learn more about a person buried in Pullman, the user can click on the highlighted points in the map and see the name and information of the individual. Click on “Browse features” when there are multiple people from that city.
Jenkins hopes the storymap will be useful to those as curious as him about Pullman’s history.
“I’m not sure there is a purpose to the story map itself, other than sparking thoughts about those burials,” Jenkins said.
Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.