The 3-Minute Interview: Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association President Mary Lipsey

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Lipsey is president of the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association. The group recently completed a project in honor of the Civil War sesquicentennial that lists the names and stories of Civil War veterans buried or memorialized in Fairfax cemeteries.

Where did you get the idea to take such a massive project on? A Girl Scout approached us about doing a project on local history, and together we came up with the idea of creating what we called the Civil War Honor Roll, which lists the biographies of veterans buried in the county who survived the war and are buried here. We collected the information and put it on a website along with a picture of their tombstone. After about a year, we listed 484 Confederate, Union and black troops on the site.

How did you collect all the information? We used two main sources, both of which were books that had the soldiers' service information and, if they knew where they were buried, it had that information, too. We searched beyond that on grave-finding websites, too, which had transcriptions of every tombstone in the county. We relied heavily on those sources to get all of the information.

Do any particular findings stand out? The list is mainly privates, many of whom came back to the county and went on with their lives after the war. A lot of soldiers passed through Fairfax County or decided not to go back to where they're from and stayed here.

What's next for the group? We're taking a breather now; we just finished this in November. But I think World War I is next; it's the next anniversary coming up. We've talked to county archivists who have enlistment records, so we can use those and some of the sources we used when completing the Civil War project, as well.

- Taylor Holland

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Taylor Holland

Staff writer
The Washington Examiner