My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cemeteries And More #1

Several months ago I posted my Cemetery List in a Google Spreadsheet and explained I was going to enter all the names and photos into the Find-A-Grave database.  As I began going through the huge pile of 10 year old photos (none digital), I realized there were some tidbits I could share regarding cemetery research.  The photo at the left was taken last month in the main reading room of the Boston Public Library.  I went there to get the correct title of a cemetery book, listed below.

Before going to any cemetery, especially if it involves some travel, you should do your homework first.  There are several ways.  The most important thing is, you need to is there a cemetery in the area you are interested in.  Of course if you have the name and phone number, call the cemetery to determine what records they have, if there is a flyer or leaflet of their cemetery and if there is a map. (Part 2 will cover this.)  Ok, how does somebody find out their address, phone number and what cemeteries may be in the ancestor's town?  Here are my methods; use the internet and use books.

One of the quickest and least expensive way to get a listing of burials is by using the internet.  A simple google search using key words such as Cemetery + name of town.  You do not even need to know the name of the cemetery.  An example is using the words "cemetery" + "Enosburgh Falls"  A great listing of all those buried there appears in the Main Street Cemetery.  I have used this list many times since 2004.

Those using the internet, you can locate cemeteries, and photos from the last three sources:
Cyndi's List  Cyndislist
The popular FindAGrave (begun in 1995)  41 million records now online.
I also like A Very Grave Matter (since before 2003)
For Quebec, Canada and the United States I like Interment.net  (begun in 1998)

There are some excellent books that list cemeteries. The ones I especially like are:
1.  Cemeteries of the U.S. : a guide to contact information for U.S. cemeteries and their records is a wonderful resource, as it lists more than 22,600 currently operating or inactive cemeteries in the United States and its territories, and major military cemeteries in foreign countries. Provides the cemetery's address, contact information, former names, years of operation, affiliation, records location, historical notes, and references to publications concerning that cemetery.  There are more than 1,000 pages and it is quite heavy.  When I first found out about it, it was only available in my area at the Boston Public Library.  I made many copies of various cemetery locations (copy below gives you an idea of what is on a page).  It has been a good eight years since I last used the book.  So, on December 29th when I went to the Library to get the correct title, and other information, there it was, right where it had been 10 years before, like it was waiting for me.  It was sharing a low shelf with three other over-sized books.  Glad some things never change.

If you want to locate the above book through www.worldcat.org you have two options, when the title appears, you can select either the editor Deborah M. Burek or the publisher, Gale Research.  Check out both to see where the nearest library is to you.  This appears to be a case in which the librarians didn't know how to categorize it.
Example page for Vermont

2.  A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries by David Allen Lambert, published 2002 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Since I have many Massachusetts ancestors, I use this book a lot.  David signed my copy, and I have #98 from his first printing, so it is already nine years old.  There is a nice index included in the 272 pages.  There is now a revised edition.

3.  A Guide to Cemeteries in Essex County Massachusetts by the Essex Society of Genealogists.  The book has 136 pages, a map for each town with cemetery markers and information about the cemetery.  This is a must for those with ancestors in Essex County.  This guide can be ordered from the Society Form for Cemetery Book.

In closing, try to do as much homework before you go to a cemetery, especially if you are going to travel a distance.  What a nice feeling to easily locate the cemetery and then walk directly to the grave.  Tomorrow I will continue with Part 2.

Leaving the Boston Public Library.