Matthew Palczynski is a senior, graduating in December, who is majoring in History with a World concentration. He is currently involved with four research projects exploring the following topics: family graveyards in Dover, New Hampshire; slave graveyards in Lunenburg County, Virginia; the legacy of slavery in Penn’s founding history; and the travels of B.V. Ephraim, an 18th-century Prussian-Jewish spy. Back home in New Hampshire, he has two dogs (Ginger and Pepper) and two cats (Comet and Clara), all of whom he misses dearly.
Matthew on his summer experience:
"This summer, I worked on two projects for which I had received funding. The first project, funded by the Penn Museum, seeks to survey the old family graveyards of Dover, New Hampshire, a city which has been continually occupied since 1623. There are records of approximately fifty such graveyards, and maps from the Dover Library archives that suggest there may be several more. However, the problem is that a lot has since the last such survey—Dover is a rapidly growing city and at least three graveyards, and hundreds of bodies and stones, seem to have been lost. I endeavor to find those and to map them in addition to those still preserved.
The second project, funded by the History Department, seeks to study the slave graveyards of Lunenburg County, Virginia. Lunenburg County, a thinly populated area about eighty miles outside of Richmond, once hosted one of the highest percentages of slaves to whites in Virginia. The County also has some 300 pages of published records regarding family burial grounds, with some persons buried before the Civil War, and others who served in the Confederate Army. My hypothesis is that if families had a family cemetery on their property, with burials prior to the Civil War, there might also be a slave cemetery on the property. This will take a great deal more work to uncover than the week I spent at the State Library of Virginia in Richmond but, with some luck, and the leads that I have, I should have a good start."