Category Archives: cemetery research

Stateline Travelers Part 10 – Visiting the Beloit Wisconsin Pioneers at Oakwood Cemetery Tour; Cemetery Clues

Visiting the Beloit Wisconsin Pioneers

at Oakwood Cemetery Tour, Cemetery Clues

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

August 21, 2018

(Photographs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn):

There are many clues on the tombstones in a cemetery.  Join us on a tour as I point them out.

Oakwood Cemetery entrance

“The original City Cemetery was located in what is now known as Horace White Park. It was relocated to the present Oakwood Location in 1840. Oakwood is located at 1221 Clary Street and sits on 28 acres.

The chapel at Oakwood was erected in 1913 near the Clary street entrance.  The chapel was used for committal services for many years and finally as the Cemetery office until the mid-1970’s, when operations were moved to the Eastlawn Facility.”

Oakwood Cemetery Chapel

We met at the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel.

In early days, if a person died in the winter, their body was slid down from the outside of the Chapel to a cellar to wait for the ground to thaw for burial.

Oakwood Cemetery Bob Pokorney

Robert Pokorney II, Cemetery Coordinator, did a very comprehensive tour at Oakwood for the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library on May 25, 2018!  (In the background – Cemetery Volunteer Janet Wagner holds her dog Bette Davis – another volunteer! )

John Kalkirtz also told us a lot about Beloit Pioneers and Oakwood Cemetery history.

Oakwood Cemetery John KalkirtzOakwood Cemetery walking

 

A fitting headstone – tribute to Rebecca the Deer,  another animal friend of the Cemetery, who visited there often:

Oakwood Cemetery Rebecca Deer

 

Find Oakwood Cemetery and Eastlawn Cemetery records about individuals, plots, and maps on-line at the City of Beloit website.  Click here for links to them.

More than one individual in a family may be represented/entombed within a mausoleum.  Look for their names and dates on the outside decor, on a plaque by the door (inside or outside), or in the Cemetery Records.

 

Veterans from a specific war may be buried together in one designated area, or as an individual with their family.  Pictured is the Civil War Monument with associated headstones.

Oakwood Cemetery Civil War

 

Oakwood Cemetery Annie McLenegan

I also enjoyed Janet Wagner’s view of Oakwood, and her thank-you gift of a card and a CD of photographs she took during our tour.  Janet is slowly scanning and transcribing a scrapbook by Annie McLenegan who documented the history of the Oakwood Cemetery.  Some important facts are only known from her recordings.  This will eventually be put on-line as well.  Click here for a link to the (partial) posting.  Here are some quotes:

Oakwood Cemetery Anne McLenegan book

Oakwood Cemetery Annie McLenegan book 3

Oakwood Cemetery Anne McLenegan book 2

Oakwood Cemetery Crane

Pictured is another early Beloit settler  headstone – Eleazar Crane, died June 14, 1839.  Notice the broken headstone to the right (and in photo below).  Oakwood staff and volunteers work on repairing and resetting those stones. The raised concrete “fence with tree stump decor, to the right, was higher in previous years.  The ground keeps rising.

 

Oakwood Cemetery in ground headstones Some headstones are embedded into the ground (to the left)  and cannot be lifted without ruining them.  The ground can disintegrate the stone.  Sometimes they can be rested on boards to get them off the ground.

Click here for  a link to the complete BILL BOLGRIEN’S OAKWOOD CEMETERY HISTORY TOUR,  and see some quotes from it below:

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 1

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 2

(Hint – following the clues of his age and date of death “dod”, Charles Johnson probably served as a Major in the War of 1812; he would have been age 26 in that war.)

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 3

Oakwood Cemetery tour Bill Bolgrien 4

Oakwood Cemetery Titanic

 

Oakwood Cemetery Titanic Wirtz

One of the famous burials is that of Titanic drowning victim Albert Wirz, who had been on his way to visit his Beloit Aunt and Uncle.

 

Oakwood Cemetery - Beloit Booth Family

And what is the Booth family doing in Beloit?  Are they related to the pioneer Booths that helped settle the Troy, WI (about 40 miles away)  family that I am studying? This just indicates the many connections found among the scarce early settlers of the stateline communities from Milwaukee, Troy, Madison, Janesville, and Beloit Wisconsin AND Chicago, Meacham Grove, Rockford, Rockton, Roscoe, Macktown, and Galena Illinois.

By the way, Before taking a photograph, please use a soft brush to whisk away grass, dirt, moss, and lichen that get/grow on a headstone.

Here are links on how to safely clean headstones and effectively  photograph   them.  It helps to use photo editing to make the letters and numbers more readable.  Read the “Headstone Inscription Discovery” Posting to see an example.  Search on “headstones” for many other Postings about these topics.  Also look on the BLOG tab above for “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” for many helpful links on these, and more topics.

 

Oakwood Cemetery Chapin

Hint – if you are very lucky, the headstone can even tell you where the person was born pob (Hartford, Connecticut), and where he died pod.

Our 4th Wednesday Book Discussion at Beloit Public Library on August 22 at 7 p.m. is on a book about early Beloit settlers,  “Pioneer Beloit” by Arthur l Luebke.

 

There are many styles of headstones and symbols of affiliation that can help you with clues to your ancestor’s life.  Click here for a link to some of those meanings.

 

Our tour guide, John Kalkirtz, wrote a poem that:

“puts into the words the spiritual, emotional and physical presence at Oakwood …It is an inspiration to me, and I hope for others.”

“Sacred Space”

by John Casey Kalkirtz

I walk the land.

Others lay beneath my feet.

Quietness fills my spirit.

I am one with the world.

This sacred space allows me to reflect, walk, sit and cry without interruptions.

All is at peace.

The others who once walk the land are now here at the cemetery in silence.

I feel their presence.

They give off the energy of their spirit to me and others who have the courage to really listen.

Time stands still.

Past, present, and future are one.

I lay my hand on the memorial marker which is the parting reminder of their presence.

The sun light dances on the ground.

Birds sing in the trees.

Nature is alive with the songs of the present moment.

Those who walked this land are with me.

They are my friends and I am theirs.

Each of us gives a happy nod to each other which is felt in the caress of the wind.

Molecules of their past breaths fill my body as I breathe in the air.

Pictures of their past lives fill my mind.

Countless faces roll past my eyes.

All of these souls are with me.

Love fills my soul.

Invisible hands gently caress me.

I am in total peace.

No fear touches my heart.

I am in a place of respite.

I am home with others.

 

 

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Creating Local History Community Archives, & Protecting Archives from Climate Change

Creating Local History Community Archives,

& Protecting Archives from Climate Change

5-31-2018 (updated)

by Vicki Hahn

SGS – Stateline Genealogy Sorter.

(Also see article from Pacific Standard Magazine on Protecting Archives from Climate Change below.)

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We were very lucky at the Beloit Public Library that a recent major water leak did not affect our Genealogy/Local History Collection area.  As one Stateline Genealogy @ Beloit Public Library member said, “At least WE didn’t get any water damage.”  This water damage is not due to climate change, but a valid reminder of how vulnerable these archives are.

The recent prolific spring rains, and potential for flooding may be a good opportunity to pay attention to how you have your own personal valuable genealogy papers, artifacts, and books stored.  Years ago, the only things I cared about retrieving after a major house fire, were my purse and my photograph albums.  I have had items damaged by a furnace humidifier leaking, children recording over my Grandmother’s family history interview, dogs teething, etc.  Life happens – protect your history items.  Imagine anything happening.

The whole 1/4 of the Beloit Public Library, next to our Collection, was roped off for the month of April due to water damage from H-VACs leaking water overnight from the second floor.  The HVACs are not over the Genealogy/Local History Collection, but part of that was roped off also as the rehab crew worked.  The end of the Mystery Fiction Collection, and the Riverside Meeting Room were both inundated. The Library did lose 450 books from the Mystery Collection.  All of the furniture, carpet and ceiling in the Riverside Room had to be replaced, and some shelving ends. That being said, we were lucky.

And, I am continuing to add uniquely valuable items to our Local History Collection.

I have just gotten the go-ahead to start (retroactively to April 2015) get our Beloit Daily Newspapers microfilmed again, once we get funding from our Library FABL Friend at Beloit Library, or Foundation groups. The Beloit Daily News BDN cut paying for supplying the microfilms to Beloit Public Library and the Beloit College Archives Library at that time.  (This may take a few years.  It will include a request to purchase a second microfilm machine, as our old one has failed for good.)  I will also ask for the purchase of a third microfilm storage cabinet.  Sooner than that, we will move a third Local History lateral pamphlet file cabinet into our Genealogy/local History area.

Thanks to specialized Library Volunteers – we will soon have a complete Index to Book of Beloit (1 , 1836 – 1936) by  Linda Smith, which I will be getting into print.  (There has been an incomplete index available, but the new complete one will make searching so much more thorough.)  Linda also recently created a complete Index to Book of Beloit II, 1936 – 1986, which we have as a book in our Genealogy/Local History Collection.

The Beloit College Archives has a whole card catalog full of indexed cards to supplement the original Book of Beloit I.  I will have them compare our volunteer’s work to see if they have anything in addition (doubtful:) )  I will share the finished Index digitally with the other local history organizations – Beloit Historical Society, Rock County Historical Society, South Beloit Historical Society Wheeler House, Hedberg Public Library Janesville, and Beloit College Archives Library.

Phyllis DeGraff, another volunteer, has just finished creating an Index to, and digitally retyping a local history by Beloiter  “Woodrow Wilson Memoirs”.  This was from a typed manuscript that we received from Custom Book Binding (local publisher) . The manuscript is waiting my review, and later the publisher will give the Library some finished books once they are published.

Two other big local history collection additions are in the works (maybe done in a year?) Monette Bebow-Reinhard (a new volunteer) has started to transcribe the 1976 Beloit – Black Oral History CDs.  These are the interviews of several relatives/immigrants recruited from Pontotoc, Mississippi to work at Fairbanks Morse in Beloit Wisconsin.  These interviews have never been fully transcribed and will be a valuable printed resource on the important (local history) African American Up North Migration and Jim Crow experience.  The CDs can be checked out at the Library.  There are also on-line digital audio recordings that you can listen to on the WHS Wisconsin Historical Society website for free.

Fred Burwell, from Beloit College Archives Library, shared this:

“Here is a link to their main page on the oral histories:

http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=wiarchives;view=reslist;subview=standard;didno=uw-whs-audi00637a

If you click on any name at the side, it will lead you to a table of contents for that particular recording and you can click on a further link to the actual sound.  For some of the people there are multiple links to more than one recording.

There’s also a transcript for the Rubie Bond recording, although my guess is that it is not a complete transcript: https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/pdfs/lessons/EDU-LessonPlans-RubieBondOralHistory-Transcript.pdf

I am glad to hear that you have a volunteer interested in transcribing these incredibly valuable recordings.  I would love to have the transcripts!  They would be really useful for students and other researchers.”

Another project in the works, is a coincidence of timing.  We will have the work of a veteran on Vietnam Veteran Obituaries (donated to the Hedberg Public Library) in our Beloit People and Families Bookcase under “Veterans”.  And our Library Page, Susan Park, has gathered cemetery information as part of her long efforts to honor fellow military veterans while doing general volunteering work for FindaGrave.com .  An excellent photographer, and thorough researcher, Susan is working on creating books of all military burials in the Rock County cemeteries. In awhile, she will have her “Rock County Veterans in Oakwood Cemetery” book completed for our collection.   Later she will have her “Rock County Veterans in Eastlawn Cemetery” book completed.

Susan recently won the award from a  local Rock County veterans group – Montford Point Marine Post.:

“This past Saturday I was presented the Homer Hempstead Humanitarian Service Award by the National Montford Point Marine Association, Chapter 41.  An Award for Veterans, presented to Veterans, for serving Veterans.  The award was based on all the cemetery work I have done in Veterans Sections of our cemeteries.  I have photographed and created Memorial Pages for over 782 Veterans graves.  I strongly feel no Veteran should be lost or forgotten. 

Freedom is not Free.

Simply put, it’s Veterans taking care of Veterans.”

(On left – Major General Anderson, on the right Susan Park.)

And finally, a new book on Beloit by Robert Burdick,  “Growing Up in Beloit” was donated to the Library.  These are stories based on the articles that he wrote for years in the Beloit Daily News, Savoy Section.  http://squarepegbookshop.com/product/growing-up-in-beloit/  .  Bob has been coming to the Library for years to research aspects of his articles in our Genealogy/Local History Collection.

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How to Protect Rare Books & Manuscripts From the Ravages of Climate Change

(Vicki’s note – on-line article from Pacific Standard magazine, thanks to Ron Zarnick.)

(Read the full article here:)

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“Almost all American archives are at risk from disasters or changing temperatures. Community history will probably be the first to go…”
“Centuries of written history are at risk of being damaged by climate change. Yet archivists, the stewards of this history, have sometimes been slow to wake up to the danger.
This history, in the form of manuscripts, codices, printed books, and other material artifacts, is kept in expensive and well-ventilated university collections; it is tucked in crumpling cardboard boxes under the desks of local librarians; it sits crammed into the storage cupboards of city governments. Some documents attract scholars from around the world, while others hold scant interest beyond hobbyist historians. Many are irreplaceable.

Almost all are at risk of degradation caused by projected temperature changes, humidity, sea level rise, storm surges, and precipitation, according to new research on United States collections by a group of archivists and climate scientists.

…”The No. 1 thing you have to do to keep rare archival material from growing mildew or falling apart is to maintain a constant temperature and humidity,” Tansey says. “If the atmosphere outside is constantly hot one day, cold the next, that means you’re having to use that much more energy to keep your building at a consistent temperature for your collection, which is often contributing to climate change itself.” 

…There are measures that archivists can take to protect their collections, including identifying opportunities to relocate temporarily in the event of a disaster, or revamping storage facilities in light of local risks.”

 

“Cenotaph” – Genealogy Word for The Day.

“Cenotaph” – Genealogy Word for The Day.

Vicki Ruthe Hahn

February 9, 2018

Your ancestor may have more than one FAG FindAGrave.com memorial ID #.  You would add an (Alternate) Alt. Burial event to record the second memorial ID numbers/location.  It may be that FAG needs to merge 2 records, or (a common situation) is that a person will be buried in one place and have a Cenotaph in another location.  I had not really heard of that term before.

 Here is the Wikipedia definition for all of us –

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cenotaph

” Cenotaph – A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere. Although the vast majority of cenotaphs honour individuals, many noted cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the lost soldiers of a country or of an empire.”

 

 

Here is further information from FAG FindAGrave.com about how they use cenotaphs-

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“A cenotaph is a marker within a cemetery placed in honor of a person whose remains are buried elsewhere. It may also be the original marker for someone who has since been reinterred elsewhere. To add a cenotaph, create a memorial. Then email edit@findagrave.com with a link to the memorial and request to have the memorial designated a cenotaph. Only add relationship links to the actual burial memorial when both a cenotaph and actual burial exist.”

So to find the family relationship links in FAG, we would look at the actual burial memorial ID# , not the cenotaph memorial ID# .

 

Here is another variation of a cenotaph, and a personal example – my Great-grandmother:

Minerva Christiana “Crissie” Shultz

1867–1950

Birth 3 APRIL 1867 Mayberry, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States

Death AFT JULY 1950 Elyria, Lorain, Ohio, USA

Burial

abt 1950Unknown

The headstone (in Sharp Ridge Cemetery, Montour County, Pennsylvania,USA) with her husband (Henry A. Bennett) has her birth date, but not her death date. She may not be buried there, but near where she died in Elyria, Ohio while living with her sister.

I have not been able to pinpoint Crissie’s exact date of death, nor where she is buried. My Mom just knows it was in late 1950 after July. My parents had just moved to a new place in Illinois with a very little baby, and did not go to her Grandmother’s Pennsylvania? Ohio? funeral.

This headstone would probably be a cenotaph, but we don’t know for sure.  My Mom might have remembered better before memory loss set in.  She is the last one of her family generation.  None of the genealogy-searching cousins have any idea either.  A cautionary tale – ask your relatives while they can still tell you.

Crissie headstone

Interpreting what it says on a death certificate

Interpreting what it says on a death certificate

February 3, 2018

Vicki’s note – some helpful genealogical links that can help you interpret what it says on a death certificate. The death code numbers make the cause of death clear if you can’t read  the Doctor’s handwriting.  I got the link to Will Moneymaker’s AncestralFinding.com article from Facebook postings that I get. You can sign up for a  free on-line newsletter:

death-certificate

International List of Causes of Death, Revision 3 (1920):

195 Lightning

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International Classification of Diseases    http://www.wolfbane.com/icd/index.html

(Tells what the 3 digit code of disease means, if you cannot read what disease/cause of death is written on the ancestor’s death certificate.)

Rootsweb Genealogists, who seem to be willing to answer any question. https://www.facebook.com/groups/17834741205/

 

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Death Records Research

Death Certificates: Your Doorway to Your Ancestor’s Life

https://ancestralfindings.com/death-certificates-doorway-ancestors-life/

“It might seem strange that a death certificate, which is a document of an ending, could be the beginning of your journey into your ancestor’s life. However, a death certificate can hold a wealth of information that either directly tells you things about your ancestor that you didn’t know, or points you to where you can find more substantial and important information. You’ve got to study the death certificate closely, though. Don’t skim over or ignore any line. Each line on the certificate has the potential to tell you something useful about your ancestor. Here are the top things you should be examining (but again, remember not to ignore any line)…”

Marital Status, Full Name, Names and Birthplaces of Parents, Informant, Cause of Death, Name of the Attending Physician, Method of Disposal, Place of Burial, and Name of the Undertaker.

Will Moneymaker founded Ancestral Findings back in 1995. He has been involved in genealogy research for over 20 years. The thrill of the hunt, the adventure, and the excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his surname. Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!)

There is a New Version of FindAGrave.com

There is a New Version of FindAGrave.com

Vicki’s note – this is a good time of year to feature a resource that I use regularly.  You can either access FindAGrave.com directly or click on a link to it from a search in Ancestry.com when you see it as a suggestion in your search for a particular ancestor.

Don’t rely on the Ancestry.com record.  I always go to the FindAGrave site to look at any/all information listed.  There are good clues on the person’s relatives.  It is worth looking at each of the grave listing for each of those people as well. 

Also look by last name(s) only for any other relatives buried in that cemetery.  I know a couple of volunteer who do photography for FindAGrave.  I always appreciate their technique of photographing any other headstones near the requested one that has the same last name. Not all do that, but as they say, “I figure they would want to know.”  Yes we do!

A final step would be to do a general (non-specific location) for anyone with that name.  Your ancestor may be buried in another cemetery in a different location/state.  At the end of life, many ancestors go to live with their child away from the area that they were connected to previously.

To use Findagrave.com to look for out of United States graves do a redefine search and put the country in. It doesn’t always find graves in other countries. Most cemeteries in Findagrave are in the United States.

You can look on the Findagrave.com link below to get an idea of the number of graves that they list in different countries.

https://www.findagrave.com/tocs/geographic.html

I am not sure if theChanges are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.”  have happened yet.  The FindAGrave link to their new version is dead. Following are excerpts from two  article on the changes.

This July 10, 2017  article says that both the old and new (Beta) versions are available, but their link to the old is also dead.  As is their link to the new connection https://new.findagrave.com/

“The easiest way to get to the new site is to go to the old one and then click where it says “Changes are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.” Or, you can click here. When you get to the new page, a window will pop up telling you a bit about why the website is changing…

The search feature is quite different looking though seems to provide the same options…

Do know that both the original and the Beta version are fully workable.  You can use either platform to make changes to existing memorials or add new memorials…

REMEMBER – your feedback on the Beta site is both encouraged and welcome!”

 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The New and Improved Find A Grave Shown at #RootsTech
(click here to read the whole article:)

At RootsTech 2017 Peter Drinkwater showed off a late-alpha prototype for a new Find A Grave website. …

Peter Drinkwater is the general manager for Find A Grave, a website owned by Ancestry. While the session was titled “Getting to Know the New Find A Grave,” Peter first helped us get to know the old Find A Grave. Find A Grave was created in 1995 by Jim Tipton. “Jim Tipton lived here in Salt Lake and he had a hobby of collecting dirt from famous people’s graves,” Peter said. “He created Find A Grave as a place to document that and let other people share the locations of [famous] graves.” In 2000 he added the ability to document the graves of ordinary people. In January 2017 there were 157 million graves. For all those years, the website looked almost the same.

“…Why would we make a change, he asked? The code is quite old and there aren’t many developers who are comfortable in it. Modernizing the code will make it more secure, easier to work on, and make it possible to use new tools to improve the site.

The second reason to change it is to make it usable via a mobile device. More than 30% of visits to the site are on a tablet or phone. …

The third reason to change the site is to internationalize it, making it available in a variety of languages.

The goal of the initial project is to convert Find A Grave to new code, not to add new features.”

(Vicki’s note – Read how each database works to get a better idea on how to more effectively use it.  Here are excerpts from FindAGrave FAQs:)

Why is my information appearing on Ancestry sites?
Find A Grave is owned and supported by Ancestry.

Why do I have to register and become a member? I’m worried about my privacy.
You don’t have to register! You can search our database and visit millions of memorials and photos without registering. If you choose to ADD anything to our database, we require that you register so we can keep track of who is adding what. When you register, we require that you use a valid email in case we need to contact you regarding your submissions.

What is a photo volunteer?
A photo volunteer is someone who is willing to take photos of headstones within a given zip code.
To become a photo volunteer, log in and go to your Contributor Profile page.

What is a photo request?
A photo request is tied to the photo volunteer program. If you would like to request a headstone photo of a memorial, just go to the memorial on Find A Grave. Click on the ‘Request A Photo’ button. This will bring up a new screen allowing you to add any notes that may help the photo volunteer locate the grave location within the cemetery.

…Depending on the cemetery location and the number of volunteers in the area, it may take a few weeks or even longer for the photo request to be fulfilled. NOTE: If the memorial record does not have specific information regarding the grave’s plot/location in the cemetery, please contact the cemetery office (if one is listed) to obtain the plot location and add it to your email. Many cemetery offices will only provide that information to relatives of the deceased and will not assist photo volunteers with finding the grave’s location.

How can I get a copy of my relative’s death certificate?
In the United States, death certificates are usually public record and can be obtained for a nominal fee from state/county departments of public record (often called the Office of Vital Records). Try performing a Google search on the state where your loved one passed away and the term “death certificate.”
You can try the CDC website for more specifics by state.

Why can’t I find the person I’m looking for?
It is possible your search is too narrow. Broaden your search by removing things like a middle name or burial location. If you still can not find them, it is possible the person is not yet memorialized on Find A Grave. Find A Grave is a work in progress and documenting all burials worldwide is a massive undertaking for the membership.

If you are adding a memorial for someone who has recently passed or who does not have a physical grave or memorial marker in a cemetery (perhaps their ashes were scattered), please do a general search on Find A Grave (do not enter a location) to see if a memorial has already been created for that person. If you find a memorial has been added but has incomplete or incorrect information, instead of creating a duplicate memorial use the tools provided to submit corrections, additions or a transfer request via the “Suggest A Correction” link under the ‘Edit’ tab on the upper right of the memorial.

What if the cemetery isn’t listed for the names I want to add? How do I add a cemetery to the list?
We have a fairly comprehensive database of cemeteries in the United States. Please perform a search from our cemetery search page to make sure the cemetery is not already in our database. Include adjacent counties and other names which the cemetery may be known by as names do change over time.

What is a cenotaph? How do I have a memorial designated as a cenotaph?

A cenotaph is a marker within a cemetery placed in honor of a person whose remains are buried elsewhere. It may also be the original marker for someone who has since been re-interred elsewhere. To add a cenotaph, create a memorial.

What about the privacy of living family members?
An individual’s right to privacy disappears when they are deceased. The opinions of the relatives of the deceased fall on all sides of the question. Some people are angry to find a loved one when they come to Find A Grave, even if the memorial was added by another relative, as is usually the case, and some people are elated and send us notes of thanks for building an online memorial to their family member. If an immediate family member contacts us and wants information removed, we generally do so as a matter of respect for their wishes but we treat each request on a case by case basis. The names of living survivors will be removed from the biography section of a memorial upon request.

How does Find A Grave define ‘famous’?
Do not confuse importance with fame. Every ancestor is important and every veteran deserves to be remembered and honored. However, that does not mean that they are ‘famous’. An individual is more likely to be designated as ‘famous’ if they were well known outside of their local community.

…the “famous” section and each memorial placed into it are the sole domain of Find a Grave Administration. All famous memorials are maintained and controlled in every aspect by our staff, and cannot be transferred to anyone, even relatives.

Can I add a memorial for my pet?
Yes, when we say we want to list the burial locations of everyone, we’re not kidding. Pets are an important part of many of our lives and their deaths can be a great loss.
You may want to use your family’s last name as the pet’s last name, to make it easier to find the memorial at a later date.
If the pet is buried in a pet cemetery, the memorial is listed as such. …or if the pet was buried in the backyard or other non-cemetery location…

…married names for a woman’s memorial when she was married more than once?
The ‘last name’ is the name that is on the headstone. Include other married names as part of the biography section. The ‘maiden name’ is only for her maiden name.

First: Infant
Middle: Twin Son or Daughter
Last: Doe

How do I update or correct an error in memorial data?
You can submit updates or corrections of factual information for any memorial by clicking on the ‘Edit’ tab on the memorial in question. Be sure you are logged in.
From here you can select one of the following options:

Birth/death date, birth/death place
Relationship (parent and spouse links)
Name
Plot and/or GPS
Marker Transcription
Suggest any other correction or addition

The first five options allow you to make the factual update to the memorial. Once this is submitted, the manager of the memorial will receive this information as an editing request and will either approve it or decline it.

How do I clean a headstone?
Unless you are related to the interred on the headstone in question, DO NOT do anything to the headstone.

Never clean gravestones with anything but water and a soft brush. Slate gravestones from the Revolutionary era and Pre-revolutionary era are best left alone due to their delicate nature and tendency to erode.

Never apply bleach, ammonia, shaving cream, chalk, flour, baking soda, cornstarch, firm pressure or use anything abrasive. Do not post photos of recently chalked or shaving-creamed headstones.

Consult a professional before any attempt to clean a headstone is made.

Reporting chalking: Photos of chalked, floured, shaving creamed, wire brushed, or otherwise altered headstones are strictly not allowed and are subject to removal when reported and/or when spotted by an administrator….

The Find A Grave web site is free, however Find A Grave uses advertising to support the cost of operations….

Who is behind Find A Grave?
Who is behind Find A Grave? Well, first and foremost, you are. Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, photographs and virtual flowers every hour. The site simply wouldn’t exist without the million+ contributors.

Apps for Cemetery Visits

Apps for Cemetery Visits

Vicki’s note – article from FamilyTreeMagazine.com

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6/29/2017
Take your genealogy research into the field with these great cemetery apps.

Smartphones and cemeteries go together like ice cream and Grandma’s apple pie. Without your phone, you’d have to pack a map, GPS device, laptop and camera to get around the cemetery, type inscriptions and take pictures. Your phone lets you do it all with one pocket-sized device.

Apps especially designed for cemetery visitors make it easier to accomplish all this (although if the cemetery is remote, see what the app lets you do when you’re offline). Some of these apps focus on exploring particular cemeteries; others cover multiple burial places. Use the URLs provided here to learn more about each app, and download the app from your device’s app store.

And if you’re visiting a large historic cemetery, it’s a good idea to plug its name into your smartphone’s app store. Some of these cemeteries have their own apps to help you navigate the grounds and locate gravesites.

ANC Explorer

iOS, Android • free

This app, introduced in 2012, helps you explore the rich history of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Use it to search for gravesites and other points of interest, get step-by-step directions, view photos of markers and monuments, and follow self-guided tours. You can save photos and favorite places in the new My Content area. The app also delivers notifications of special events and makes it easy to share your photos on social media.

On-site visitors can download the app using the cemetery’s free WiFi in the Welcome Center and Administration Building, or use it at kiosks throughout the cemetery.

BillionGraves

iOS, Android, Windows • free

The BillionGraves website, launched in 2011, introduced its app to allow members to upload gravestone images along with GPS location data to its online cemetery database. There, others can transcribe the inscriptions (unlike on Find A Grave, no one “owns,” a memorial, so any BillionGraves member can contribute to it). You also can search for relatives’ burial sites among the 20.5 million-plus on the site, and be led right there, courtesy of the GPS coordinates.

Find A Grave

iOS, Android • free

Ancestry.com developed this companion app to genealogy’s best-known cemetery website after acquiring the site in 2013. Use it to search for burial information and gravestone images among the 160 million online memorials volunteers have logged at Find A Grave. When you’re visiting a cemetery, the app lets you upload inscription data and photos of graves you visit, and fulfill others’ requests for pictures of their ancestors’ gravesites.

Historic Oakland Cemetery

iOS, Android • free ($1.99 upgrade)

This app takes cemetery visitors on a tour of more than 60 points of interest throughout Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery, including the “Original Six Acres,” historic African American and Jewish burial grounds, the Confederate section, and others. Photos and narration accompany each landmark. The app includes 10 free landmarks; upgrade to unlock all of them.

iCemetery

iOS • free

Canadians will find this app handy for searching for loved ones in cemeteries from six locations in Canada, including Woodlawn Cemetery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, British Columbia. View details such as the deceased’s name, date of death and burial date and location on a high-resolution map, along with your current GPS location. For many records, the app also provides GPS coordinates and displays the grave on a map to help you find it.

Locate Cemetery

Android • free

Got a hankering to see a cemetery? This simple app lets you find and navigate to cemeteries near your location or another place you specify.

Normandy American Cemetery

iOS, Android • free

Ten thousand Americans who perished during the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II now rest eternally at Normandy American Cemetery in France. Whether you’re visiting in person or from home, this free smartphone app from the American Battle Monuments Commission lets you tour the cemetery, search burials, view military unit histories and learn the stories of those buried. Apps featuring Pointe du Hoc in Normandy and Cambridge American Cemetery in England are also available for download.

War Graves

iOS, Android • free

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s free War Graves app lets you search for graves of 1.7 million British casualties of the World Wars in more than 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations in 153 countries. A directions function helps you find your way, or tap Cemeteries Nearby to find war graves within five miles of your current location. To find a specific gravesite, start with the Find a Cemetery function.

A version of this article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Rural Cemetery Studies

Rural Cemetery Studies

7-3-2017

Vicki’s note – a quote I read from another on-line source that I found. I am including the entire addendum from the on-line book.  However, I could not find out who did the 2012 revision of this priceless 1970s publication.  My hat’s off to any and all (Find-a-grave, Boy Scout, etc.) volunteer photographers,  restorers, and researchers who find and preserve genealogical information for the rest of us.

I also love his quote about those ancestors, “…who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families.”

Read this just to know how lucky we are to have the Internet and computers to aid us in our research.

Hint – google on-line.  You may just find the very exact resource you need for the tiny area that you are researching.:

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RURAL CEMETERIES OF McDONOUGH COUNTY, ILLINOIS

VOLUME VII
NEW SALEM -ELDORADO
BY DUANE LESTER
GOOD HOPE, ILLINOIS
PRINTED BY
SCHUYLER –BROWN HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
AND
THE SCHUYLER JAIL MUSEUM

http://genmarker.com/McDonough/RuralCemVols/Vol07Rev.pdf :

” a monument is erected not because a person died, but because a person lived”

“ADDENDUM
Mr. Lester’s Magnum Opus is nothing short of monumental. It is not easy to gain access to many of these historic family burial sites. By the time of Mr. Lester’s survey (1970’s) numerous plots were long left abandoned, overgrown with trees and weeds and monuments under attack by weather, livestock, vandals, and property owners who did not care about the burial sites of McDonough County’s brave pioneers.
Thankfully, we now (2012) have laws to protect our county’s historical legacy and these final resting gardens.
I am in awe of Mr. Lester for his transcriptions of hard – to – read tombstones and his laborious typing of his 18 Volumes of the Rural Cemeteries of McDonough County. He did not have access to a computer. In addition to transcribing information from tombstones, he had to painstakingly access county records (e.g. 1840 county tax list), federal census records, and local newspapers requiring a great deal of time and effort.
As a genealogist in 2012, I have access to the internet with fast access to US Census
records, Family Search (records kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints) and numerous other legal documents, books, and family journals.
Mr. Lester used an old-fashioned key – strike, ribbon tape typewriter where mistakes
were hard to correct and appear as overstrikes. There are very few attesting to his skill as a typist.
What an US Census record will not contain are the names and dates of infants who died between census surveys. Mr. Lester’s tombstone records give names and dates of children, whose lives were brief, but would otherwise be lost to history without his efforts. Frequently, he provides names of brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers that allows for completion of family group sheets.
Another work of love for those who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families is being performed by Dr. A. Gil Belles. He has been able to install signs for each of these rural cemeteries and provide GPS (Global Positioning System) information making it easier for anyone wishing to visit a rural cemetery to help them actually find it.
Gil also works closely with Boy Scouts and other civic groups to help cleanup, clear brush and dead trees, locate buried tombstones, and restore stones. My revision of Mr. Lester’s document will provide information on all cemetery restoration projects.
Any changes made to Mr. Lester’s original work was done in blue color font. His maps were scanned and copied into the text and remain like his original work and are not subject to editing.
His text was transcribed using MS Word, enabling me to control font size and color. Retyping text also leaves room for typo errors. Mr. Lester’s rare typo errors are corrected but not displayed in blue. This MS Word document allows on -the – fly editing of any “Notes, Corrections, Additions, and Changes” found at the end of every cemetery. This was Mr. Lester’s intent to produce a working document and improve accuracy about the information on those buried.
I have retyped state abbreviations as they are now used (e.g. IL, instead of Ill.). On 1840 county tax lists I omitted cents (e.g. $140, instead of $140.00). The current MS Word font uses less space, thus, placing more text per line. This shrinks his documents and reduces pages. This , then, changes page numbering in each Table of Contents.
Cemetery locations are also found on the internet. See: McDonough County Illinois Cemeteries http://graveyards.com/graveyards/IL/McDonough

Oakwood Cemetery, Beloit WI Tour has been canceled until later.

Oakwood Cemetery, Beloit WI Tour

has been canceled until later:

Vicki’s note – see email below from Robert Pokorney II.  

I will let you know when rescheduled.

Maybe you can come to the Library to do family history research instead.

At least we won’t have to worry about being rained out. 🙂

Vicki,

I hate to say this but, we are going to have to postpone  the tour at Oakwood this Fri. 26-May-2017. Circumstances have been such that we are so far behind on Memorial day preparations, spring job orders, etc. and with the weather throwing storms at us with limbs and trees down all over at both Oakwood and Eastlawn, which will take weeks to get caught up on.

We will have to come up with a future date.

Please accept my apologizes, I was trying to make it happen in conjunction with all that’s going on but I am unable too.

Thank you.

Robert Pokorney II

Cemetery Coordinator

City of Beloit DPW

Backwards Gravestones

Vicki’s note – article from Family Tree Magazine Plus:

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Now What: Do Backwards Gravestones Indicate Suicide?

6/9/2011
Q. My grandma once told me a gravestone facing the opposite way of all the others in the cemetery indicates that person committed suicide. Is this true? 

A. Cemeteries follow different traditions, but if a person who committed suicide were to be ostracized after death, it’s more likely that the body would be buried apart from others. According to the Association for Gravestone Studies, the north side of a cemetery was often considered less desirable, so suicides might be buried there along with paupers, slaves, members of minority religious sects and the unidentified deceased. Suicides also were sometimes buried upside-down, with the head vertically below the feet, as a post-mortem punishment; this required considerably deeper digging and, of course, is impossible to check without excavation.

Rather than a suicide, you might find that someone buried the opposite way is actually a minister. Many church graveyards were laid out east-west, with the head at the western end of the grave, to be facing the risen Christ on Judgment Day. But the minister was sometimes buried with his head at the eastern end of his grave so he’d be facing his flock at the time of Resurrection.

Reading (Grave Marker Head) Stones

Vicki’s Note – email from Ron Zarnick – He thought we would find these suggestions helpful for our March 10, 2017 Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 10 a.m. – noon program:

” Genealogical Databases, Burial Records, Maps, & Local Hisotry of Eastlawn & Oakwood Cemeteries in Beloit”, by Robert L. Pokorney II, Cemetery Operations Coordinator”

Click on the link below for hints on safely reading headstones.

The group is (CCUS) Cemetery Conservators For The United States:

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Reading (Grave Marker Head) Stones