Genealogists have created some amazing printed cemetery transcripts. However, what if your cemetery of interest has not been transcribed, indexed and published? Often an Internet search will provide a transcription of the tombstones or the burial registers online. These can also be amazing but what if the cemetery transcript cannot be found through a simple Internet search?
Question Database Contents
I begin my search in three major websites dedicated to tombstone research. I use Interment.net, Find A Grave, and BillionGraves. These are remarkable websites, and can act as a launching point for deeper research efforts. However, be aware you still may not find what you are seeking. Even when you do there are some hard and fast questions you need to ask.
- Have all the tombstones been transcribed in the cemetery? Often these databases are partial listings.
- Was all the information from the tombstone included in the extract? It’s difficult to judge without seeing the stone.
- Is there a picture to accompany the transcript? Where available on these websites, they can be especially helpful.
In cemeteries that have section, lot and plot numbers, you can contact the cemetery itself and see if any other information exists or if they can provide a picture of the tombstone. I have discovered that it is important to always offer a donation if there is no charge. The staff is going out of their way to answer genealogy requests, which takes them away from their pressing duties of operating a cemetery and dealing with bereaving families.
In urban cemeteries it is common for many people to be buried in one plot, but possibly only one or two tombstones were ever erected. With the grave coordinates the cemetery staff should be able to tell you if anybody else is buried in the plot. These could be relatives or friends from Ireland. Then again, they could have no connection other than someone bought space in the plot for a needed burial.
Cemetery research can be as wild as it is fascinating. It can reveal much about our ancestors and the community in which they lived and died.
If you would like help with your genealogy please call 385-214-0925.