Posts Tagged ‘geneaology’

Gordon (2)

This stone is a genealogist’s dream.

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I love the name True on this tombstone.  It’s not a name you see very often.


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Boland Gilmartin

I can’t claim certain knowledge of the story of this particular stone, but based on what I see here and what I know of the family history and genealogy movement in this country, I’m going to make some speculation. This looks like the kind of stone that a descendant puts up to honor their family members whose headstones have been lost to time or were too poor to ever have tombstones in the first place. It’s a way of honoring the past. I think it is also an assertion that ordinary people matter – these people may not have discovered the cure for cancer or invented the next big trend, but their lives were still important enough to be honored by those who came after them. I like it, and it’s a pretty important trend to the cemetery preservation movement as a hold. It’s not universally true, but a lot of people I have met who are deeply involved in cemetery preservation got their start because they discovered a cemetery where their ancestors were buried in disrepair and neglect. Sometimes, that narrowly personal interest expands into a general passion to restore and maintain cemeteries in general, and from that springs clean-up projects, fundraising, and cemetery foundations.

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I want to take a moment today to give some attention to a website that I have found very useful: Find A Grave. It’s an initative to help people find cemetery records for both the famous (that’s its own subset of the site) and the not-so-famous. Basically, those who do cemetery research for whatever reason (genealogists, local historians, cemetery enthusiasts) upload information about cemetery interments and markers, often including photos.

Being created by volunteers, it’s not a perfect website – there are errors of spelling and transcription, and confusing monuments lead to confusing entries. For example, every single child whose name is listed on the back of the Collinwood School Fire memorial in Lake View is treated as if they were buried there. But it can be incredibly useful, particularly for those doing research on family members buried far away. If a photograph of the tombstone is posted, you can review it yourself, and the site allows for photo requests. You can put out there that you are looking for a photo of a particular memorial, and some kind volunteer might scour the local cemetery to find it for you.

I’ve been working to add my East Cleveland Township Cemetery photos to the database, as there has been very little research done that I can see posted.

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