Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Visiting Cemeteries

Spring has officially begun. In many places the snow has melted away. Central New York had an extremely mild winter and we missed the snowstorm that eastern New England had yesterday, so there is virtually no snow to be found. The ground is thawing out and in some places it is turning to mud. But in others it is getting nice enough to go out and explore. What are many genealogists thinking about at this point? Cemeteries! Yes, it is finally getting to be good enough weather to get to all those cemeteries and find those gravestones that we have been waiting all winter to get to.
Have others been doing the same as me during the cold winter months? While going through my genealogies, updating and researching to fill in missing information, I have noted many graves that are unknown or where some information from a gravestone would help clarify a date. Working on Find AGrave I have tried to locate these final resting places. If there is no stone pictured, I will request one. I make the requests, even if I hope to get to them myself soon. In this way, if somebody else can get there first, they can get the picture for me. Also, when I go to one, I will print the entire list off of Find A Grave and use that to find as many of the requests as I can, whether my own or somebody else’s. It is my hope that together we can document these stones before they weather away.
Seneca Tobias. Almost too faded to read. Seneca County

When visiting a cemetery, you should go prepared:
·      Take a camera and notepad to record the information. If a stone is badly deteriorated a photograph might not be enough.
·      Take the list from Find A Grave or from other sources of the stones you want to find.
·      If it’s a large cemetery, see if you can get a map and locations from the cemetery office if you don’t already have them. Don’t overwhelm the office! Only ask for a couple at a time and offer to make a donation.
·      Wear appropriate clothes. Not all cemeteries are a walk in the park! Long pants and sturdy shoes may be needed.
·      Have bug spray along and a basic first-aid kit for cuts and such. Hopefully, you won’t need them.
·      When you’re done with a family stone, move on to the surrounding stones. Don’t tell me you’re not interested in them! Look carefully at them before you leave. Why that name sounds familiar! Didn’t grandma’s sister marry somebody with that last name?
·      Take shots of the individual stones; photograph how they are arranged together. Don’t forget to take pictures of how you find the grave. Make a visual map of the cemetery. Otherwise you might not find it again! 
The One I Almost Never Found Again. Chemung County

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