When I go around to different cemeteries where my ancestors are
buried, I carry a camera and ALWAYS take my first shot, on the
roll, of the Cemetery Entrance so I will later know the location of
the following tombstone pictures on the roll. Even if the pictures get
a little mixed up later, the negatives show the consecutive order.
If you do not already have a 35 MM camera, treat yourself to one that
automatically DATES the front of each picture. That is worth a fortune
for your own use, and for posterity. Sometimes the only Secondary
Source you can find is a photograph of the tombstone.
I have found it very helpful to photograph every single tombstone I
can find of my ancestors. It not only will preserve the image for
posterity as the tombstone wears away, BUT the photos are excellent
reference materials. Very often, I find someone new to the Family Tree
whom I did not know existed until reviewing my tombstone photographs.
With information obtained at the Cemetery Office, I easily could connect to
a branch of the tree and I had solid evidence with a photograph too.
These are the sort of finds that send you way downstream and off the
beaten track. Very often I have discovered babies who had died in
infancy, and been forgotten in the rush of life. It becomes even more
important to family history if babies or children have died of some
hereditary illness. Everyone in my family who travels on vacation is
asked to check cemeteries for ancestors in route. Sharing helps.
When cemetery visits are made during weekdays, it is particularly
good to check their Office records, and copy down every statistic
they have on the deceased. Their info also gives you the name of the
Funeral Home handling the arrangements which is another
source to check out. There have been times when I have been
considerably held up, with my follow-up visit to a funeral home.
Their old records so intrigued me, I almost took up residence.
Back in the 1915, the cost to bury an ancestor was a mere 35 dollars.
Itemizations included 2.50 for a dress, or 2.15 for a shirt, collar and tie,
50 cents to press a suit, 4.00 for a grave,4.00 for a Horse Team for
the Hearse, and 4.00 for a carriage and horses for the family.
Also get a map of the cemetery, and mark on it where every
ancestor grave is located. The Caretakers give me a lot less flack when
I immediately offer them my GENEALOGY BUSINESS card that I
printed up myself on the computer. They are less inclined to show you
ALL of their available info....if they think you are just being nosey.
And aren't we out to get all we can get...
BJ Green "The Family's Genealogist"
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