Friday, July 27, 2007

Research Note: On the Ground in Cemeteries

[Posted from Kansas City, Missouri]

I've spent several days in cemeteries on this trip and the following have proved useful:

1. Call ahead to ascertain the hours both the gates and the office (if there is one) will be open.

2. Stop by the office (if there is one) and interview the staff. Learn the history of the cemetery as well as its layout. Get a map if one is available.

3. Try not to go at the hottest time of day!

4. Of course, take a camera to record what you see.

5. Take a small pair of garden clippers to help clear away overgrown grass.

6. If you're visiting a few specific gravesites, take some flowers or other memorial items to pay respects.

7. Of course, be respectful of the place and other visitors.

8. To aid other researchers, share your pictures on your own Web site or a site like

9. Record specific directions to the cemetery and the gravesites visited.

10. Thank the staff for their help.

What other tips can you think of?


Miriam said...

Craig, I love visiting cemeteries! Here are a couple other tips I recommend:

1. Bring a soft-bristle brush or broom to gently sweep off any dirt or grass clippings from the gravestone.

2. Record and/or take photos of the graves around your grave of interest; you never know when unfamiliar name will turn up later in your research.

3. Ask the cemetery staff if they have anything in their files on your grave of interest that you may have photocopies of. Also ask the name(s) of the funeral home(s) that provided services. Often funeral home records will include death certificates, funeral cards, obituaries or other documentation that can be helpful.

Sounds like you're enjoying your trip (finally!).

George Geder said...


You are high on my summer reading list. Entertaining and informative!

Good advice about visiting cemeteries; especially on paying respects.

"Guided by the Ancestors"